Marketers have long sought to add video playback capabilities directly within the inbox to create a more engaging and interactive email experience, increase video content views, and differentiate their messages from the competition. In the past, adding video to email using anything other than a plain image simulating a video player has been a difficult proposition at best. Whether you're simply curious to learn about video in email best practices or want to understand whether now is the right time to adopt, this webinar covers everything you need to know.
Our HubExchange partner Liveclicker and ExactTarget Marketing Cloud client Beachbody spoke recently on the useful ways to utilize video in email. Justin Foster, Co-founder and GM of VideoEmail, answered some of our most asked questions from the webinar.
Question: Why embed video in email?
Answer: We are not religious on this because it has its place and time. But the top reasons to embed video are to drive more video views and to make the inbox more engaging and interactive.
Question: What are your thoughts around using 3rd party videos that support your brand and/or point of the email?
Answer: The context matters. For example, retailers may feature manufacturer videos as part of larger co-op programs by extending TV reach for manufacturers. Ultimately, we believe that self-produced videos generally portray your brand the best. Assuming you have the budget, time, and talent to produce videos that represent your brand well, you should go for it.
Question: How is video in email changing the landscape of today's email marketing campaigns?
Answer: Embedding video in email is SUPER EASY. If you have a video, you can be embedding it in email in less than thirty minutes from now.
Question: Do videos automatically play in the preview in MS Outlook?
Answer: No, they don't. Also, auto-play is a function controlled by the marketer; embedded video in email never has to auto-play. In fact, auto-play isn't supported by any mobile devices that support embedded video in email.
Question: Since animated .GIFs don't have sound what is the best practice for length?
Answer: At Liveclicker, we recommend no more than 10 - 20 seconds for most animated .GIFs. Video .GIFs are teasers, nothing more (usually).
Question: What are your thoughts around using HTML5 for video backgrounds in email?
Answer: Another HubExchange partner, Litmus, ran a really cool embedded video in email background a few weeks ago. It's still early for this technique and not as widely supported as "regular" embedded video in email, which also isn't universally supported. Still, it is a cool use of video and use of this technique will certainly grow.
Question: Do you think all of Gmail's changes are leading them towards or away from allowing embedded video?
Answer: Google is in an awkward position because they own YouTube and hence they want to drive traffic to YouTube. This is evidenced by limited video support in Gmail (web) where users can see a video play on the Gmail page at the bottom of the email when the email itself references a YouTube page. Still, in Liveclicker's view, Google is likely to adopt HTML5 video in email at some point since the industry is marching toward this capability. Already, Google is less competitive than players like Apple and even (heaven forbid) Outlook.com. Additionally, HTML5 video is a proven, open standard. Remember, Google: don't be evil.
Question: Do you know if Samsung or other android devices will support embedded video?
Answer: Samsung, no. Other Android, yes. We see many HTC and Motorola phones properly support embedded video in email in the native Android mail client. Samsung and even - gasp - Google - don't properly support embedded video in the native mail client. Neither the Gmail app or other popular mail apps support embedded video on Android.
Question: Did you say that autoplay embedded video does not ever work on mobile devices? Is that right?
Answer: That's right. Auto-play is not supported on any mobile platforms, whether in email or on the web. The only place auto-play is supported in mobile platforms are in proprietary apps.
Question: My company has a very high emphasis on getting people to our website from emails - do you see less clicks/visits to the website when the video is embedded in the email?
Answer: It depends, but overall, not really. A good video that is well put together and persuasive will drive more visits, provided the video is supplemented with well-placed calls to action adjacent the embedded player. An ineffective video will have the opposite results, depressing visits. Overall, embedded video in email acts as an amplifier to get more people to see video content. On average, we see 35% - 45% more video plays on embedded video when AB split test against linked video. The big reason? Mobile. Since mobile doesn't support auto-play, senders who are not embedding video in email force the user to tap, wait for redirect, spawn browser, then tap again. With embedded video, only a single tap is required.
Question: Is there a resource available on how to code all three elements into one email? Will you share the code on how to embed?
Answer: Check out this blog post from our friends over at Email on Acid. Make sure you read all the way through the comments! Alternatively, head on over to Liveclicker's VideoEmail site and check out the generated embed codes using your own videos by signing up for a free account.
Check out the webinar for more information on how video in email is changing the landscape in emails today.