With the explosive growth in online video showing no signs of slowing, it’s no surprise that one of the most common questions we get asked is “can I insert a video into my email campaign?”. So we thought it a good time to review the current state of play.
While it is possible to embed a video into your HTML code, the bottom line at the moment is the vast majority of your audience will not be able to see it. Video support across all of the major web and desktop email clients is still very much non-existent (unless you belong to the cult of Mac – Apple Mail, iPhone and iPad are the only ones to currently support embedded video using HTML 5 – check out Campaign Monitors most recent results here.
There are some pretty compelling statistics regarding conversion rates for online video, for instance, Internet Retailer reports that visitors who view product videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not.
From an email marketer’s perspective, a 2011 study found that the overwhelming majority (88 percent) of marketers who use video in email reported that it had a positive impact on their marketing efforts. More specifically, marketers are seeing a large boost in click-through rates for emails containing videos with (76 percent) reporting that integrating video with email marketing increases click-throughs.
There’s no doubt video has major benefits in increasing engagement and creating higher conversions, but how can we make use of this as an email marketer? Here are a few of our best suggestions:
Include a video screenshot
The best method for including video in an email campaign is to simply embed a linked thumbnail image of the video with a familiar looking YouTube play button. We have found that including a video “play” screenshot can significantly improve your campaign click-through rates and is often the most popular call-to-action in an email campaign.
Simulate video using Animated GIF’s Choose a couple of important screenshots from the video and create an animated gif file that scrolls through them to give a teaser which can simulate some of the key information you want to get across in the video. This will help draw the readers eye into the video and further increase click-throughs. Animated gifs have great support across all email clients (Outlook 2007 and 2010 don’t fully support the animation but will at least display the first frame).
Check out this example from Tommy Hilfiger:
Make video the hero & build a landing page
Using a compelling screenshot link from your email, you can drive significant traffic to watch your video so it’s important to ensure that the landing page is optimised to give the viewer all of the information they are likely to need. Simply sending them to watch a YouTube video may not be enough, you will want to ensure that after watching the video, there is some kind of call to action to further engage with your product or service.
Remember the 60-second rule
Understand that the attention span of your audience is short. Don’t waste any precious time with your video introduction and ensure you get straight to the point. While video is a powerful and captive medium, your audience will be just as fast to turn off and click away if your video is not engaging. Common statistics show a dramatic drop off in video viewership after the one minute mark so always remembers to keep it short and sweet.
In 2013, video in email plays an important part in increasing click-through rates. It can also help you generate a point of difference if your competitors have not yet jumped onto the video bandwagon. While there are pitfalls in embedding video inside your email campaigns, using a few simple techniques you can still harness the effectiveness of this medium to take your email marketing to new levels – and don’t forget to utilise your email, website and video analytics to further measure and improve your results.