Using Videos in Your
Email Marketing Campaigns


Email is still the fastest, most economical form of marketing. We have compiled this article to give you ideas on how to improve your email marketing campaigns.

Tips for Your Email Marketing Campaigns

[1]Video improves open and click-through rates—making it the perfect addition to your marketing emails. Discover how to embed video in email, when to use it, and get best practices for success.

Collectively, we send millions of emails every year. If you printed them out and stacked them up, they’d reach Mars (probably).

And brands only contribute to the inbox avalanche with an absolute deluge of (often low-quality) ads and pitches.

People now get more marketing and sales outreach from brands than ever before and, without a unique angle, your chances of reaching your audience are about as remote as the red planet.

That’s why more and more marketers have started to rely on video.

Video is rocket fuel for your email marketing.

Adding one to your email sends is a sure-fire way to launch your metrics into the stratosphere: Improve email opens, click-throughs, and conversions. Plus, capture and keep your recipients’ attention.

You are wondering how to use video in email marketing? Don’t worry. Boosting your sends with video is easier than you might think. There are a few simple things you can do to ensure your messages land successfully.

Whether you go with a feature video up top, add video part-way through your message, or even use it as a background header, it’s sure to have an impact.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of video email marketing, find out how to add a video to your message, discover tips for doing it well, and see examples of brands who nailed it.

What is Video Email Marketing?

Video email marketing is exactly what it sounds like: Adding video to your email sends to help them stand out in inboxes.

An email has long been a mainstay marketing channel, often one of a brands’ biggest. Yet, it’s endured through endless predictions calling for the end of the email. Why? Because it’s a potent owned channel.

Video amplifies email’s natural power.

Using video in email is one of the best ways to boost your marketing conversions. Videos are intriguing, and they make the most common marketing channel on earth more engaging and effective. In addition, it’s a rich media format that makes your emails hard to resist.

The term “video email marketing” makes it sound a bit like something completely separate from direct ol’ email marketing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Video is a complement to email, a value-add add-on that viewers love. You can use it on pretty much any email you want.

Are you wondering where to start? The easy answer is, video can go anywhere and everywhere. Promotional sends? Newsletters? Absolutely. It’s all about testing to see where it works best for you.

Before we carry on, it’s important to note that, for the most part, using video in email means adding an engaging thumbnail with an irresistible play button to your message. Very few email clients support actual video playback within emails, so you entice readers to click play with an eye-catching visual. Then, when they click, they go to the video (or, more commonly, the page it’s hosted on) to watch. In addition, it’s easy to insert and track videos in email, especially with a video marketing platform.

However you plan to use it, email should be an essential part of your organization’s overall video marketing strategy. But to get excellent outcomes, you’ll need to know the basics.

[2]How to embed video in Email

1. Use a static image with a play button.

Using a play button on top of a static image is the easiest way to link to video content, either on your site, YouTube or Vimeo.

This has universal support across email clients. As long as images are not blocked, everyone will have the same experience.

To do this, link the image to the hosted version of your video where people can watch it.

2. Use a GIF of the video.

Another easy way to give the illusion of video in email is to use the ever-popular, animated GIF.

GIFs are well-supported across email clients. But it’s worth noting that Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, and Windows 10 do not support this image type—they only show the first frame of the GIF.

You can either create the GIF to show key information in the first frame, or, using the following snippet of code, show an alternative image to Outlook versions that don’t support GIFs

/* Gif to be shown on all clients */

<!–[if !mso]><!–>

<img src=”supercool.gif”>


/* Static image specifically for Outlook */

<!–[if gte mso 9]>

<img src=”OutlookStaticimage.png”>


3. Use an animated play button.

The following example is a hybrid—it links a static image and an animated GIF.

Harley-Davidson used an animated GIF on their play button to call attention and compel subscribers to click through and play their video. And by ensuring the circle around the play button is complete on the first frame, the image looks good on email clients that only support static images.

4. Create a faux video with CSS animation.

Faux video, a term coined by Kristian Robinson, means to use CSS animation to make the effect of a video or GIF.

A faux video shows one static image frame after another quickly to look like a moving image. This is accomplished by combining image sprites (a comic strip of static images) with background-image and CSS keyframes to move the image. This takes an advanced level of CSS and HTML knowledge, but it can enhance the use of video in an email once you understand. (Read our guide to CSS animations in email here.)

Check out Kristian’s blog post on creating the technique and this article from Litmus with an alternative way to use faux video to inspire recipients into “playing” the video.

5. Embed video into an email.

If you’re sporting some technical know-how and feel comfortable with HTML, then you may consider embedding video in your emails. But, before you start including videos in all your email campaigns, consider that not all email clients support the ability to play the video directly in the inbox.

If you’re going to embed video, HTML5 is far more robust and offers more options where the video is concerned. Unfortunately, support for HTML 5 video is still limited, but the clients that support it represent over 62% of the market, according to our friends at Email on Acid.

Furthermore, email applications like the native iOS client, Apple Mail, and will allow recipients to play your video within the email client itself. Other clients like Gmail and Android devices will display a fallback image.

Email clients that support playing video in the inbox:

  • Apple Mail
  • Outlook on Mac
  • iOS Mail
  • Samsung Mail

If any of your subscribers use the above email clients, you have reason to try embedding a video using HTML5 in your email.

One other consideration with video embedded in an email is determining how many people who click the footage end up watching it. To track clicks, custom click tracking would also have to be implemented.

If you want a guide to getting started on adding video into your email code, check out this email on the Acid article.

1. [3]Use the video for bonus content to delight your subscribers.

Consider using emails to give subscribers bonus content. Email subscribers are likely to enjoy a variety of your content, so going the extra mile with a surprise bonus could delight your audience.

For instance, if you share weekly newsletters about Instagram content, you can add a link for early access to a live webinar you’re hosting about Instagram Stories at the end of the month. That way, you can build interest in the event, keep subscribers in the loop about things going on within your company, and give them an incentive to keep checking your emails.

Alternatively, you can use emails to educate subscribers about the values that matter most to your business.

Patagonia often includes a video in a product-related email to tell the story of where their product materials originate. Since Patagonia values both the environment and supporting local businesses, it makes sense that they’d focus their content on highlighting both of these initiatives.

The email helps educate Patagonia subscribers’ on the importance of purchasing products made of natural materials — and while it may help incentivize subscribers’ to purchase, that’s not the only impact the video has. As a standalone piece of content, it’s also simply an educational tool to highlight Patagonia’s more profound mission: to support local businesses and make a positive impact on the planet.

2. Make emails a more personalized experience.

Do you have a backlog of video content on your website? Consider using that to your advantage and sending personalized emails.

For instance, let’s say someone watches a portion of a video on your website that they don’t finish, and you’re noticing this is a pattern when you analyze your website data. Marketo’s formula is to automatically send that video in an email to remind that user to finish.

By doing this, Vidyard reported that Marketo raised their CTR by over 144% due to that email’s personalization. If I were sent a video, I meant to finish in an email. I’d surely open it to complete that video. I’d also feel pretty crucial to the company as a customer.

This means more clicks for you, a better relationship with the customer, and more views on videos from a business perspective.

3. Display company culture with a video.

If you’re struggling with thinking of out-of-the-box ideas for email content that shows off company personality, consider heading to YouTube.

Yes, you read that right: YouTube.


Give these ideas a try and adjust them until you get the kind of results that you are looking for!

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