Friday, October 19, 2018


By Guest Contributor

How to Use Video
in Your Email Marketing

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Video has been growing in popularity for a while now and it is currently such an integral part of the fashion world that no one even remembers the times when it wasn't here. “Everyone is excited about video, and for good reason,” says Paper Magazine’s chief creative officer Drew Elliott. “It is the main mode to deliver a true story and to deliver things in motion. It makes you activated.”

Most fashion shows are now live streamed, photographers and bloggers give you exclusive access to what is happening behind the scenes and take you backstage to watch hair and makeup preparations. Fashion magazines feature designers in live interviews and use Instatories for the majority of their runway coverage. And then of course there are amazing fashion films showcased at the festivals around the world and very creative product campaigns where video is the main medium and can't really be replaced with anything else.

"In June, Instagram launched IGTV, a long-form vertical video platform built both into Instagram and functioning as a standalone app. Gucci was among the first brands to engage with the new tool, posting archive footage of Alessandro Michele’s runway shows, while the eyewear company Warby Parker uploaded interviews with customers, such as the illustrator and designer Sophia Chang and the comedian and writer Samantha Irby.

The launch of IGTV, and the speed at which it was adopted by fashion brands, indicates the growing importance of video in fashion marketing." - Business of Fashion

Attending ModaLisboa FW18 - Most journalists and bloggers now produce video content from the runway

Video & Marketing

Video is hot and everyone is curious about how to use it in their email marketing. Why? Because video is engaging and entertaining. Did you know that including video in an email can lead to open rate increases of 19% and click-through rate increases upwards of 50 percent!

It’s a common misconception that when you use video in email, that the video will simply play, right from inside the email. That would be a magical thing, much like a rainbow unicorn, but as we know, email clients like Gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird, and others often don’t support the technical requirements needed to play video right inside the email.

In spite of that, 76% of marketers plan to increase their use of YouTube and video marketing. Because as we know, video has an undeniable impact on email KPIs including:

  • Boost open rates by 19%.
  • Boost click-through rates by 65%.
  • Reduce unsubscribes by 26%.

So how are the world’s best marketers taking advantage of video and making it work? Here’s how:

Static images with play button

Using a play button on top of a static image is the easiest way to link to video content hosted on sites like YouTube or Vimeo.

To do this, simply link the image to the hosted version of your video where people can watch it like in this example from Monica Vinader:

Photo courtesy of Campaign Monitor (Click to watch)

Pro tip: If you want your video to play as soon as your subscriber clicks on the play button, simply add a ?play to the end of the video URL you can also make the video autoplay when someone clicks on it eliminating the need for them to have to click again on the hosted version.

Animated GIFs

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

Monica Vinader uses, not just one GIF, but two, in this recent email campaign promoting the brand’s signature bangle. Click here to see the animated GIF in action.

Here’s another example from Trelise Cooper. Click on the image to see the animation in all its glory.

Photo courtesy of Campaign Monitor (Click to watch)

Remember: With GIFs being an old image file format created back in 1987, it’s a widely supported format. However, animated GIFs don’t work everywhere. In Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013 and Windows Phone 7 only the first frame of your animated GIF will be shown. So be sure that any key information is in this first frame, so your email will look as great as it does with the animation as with just the first frame.

Animated play button

This next example is a hybrid of linking a static image and using an animated GIF and we absolutely love it. Harley-Davidson used an animated GIF on their play button to call attention to it and compel subscribers to click it and play their video. See it here.

Embedding video in your 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 dropping videos in all your email campaigns, consider that email clients don’t all support the ability to play the video right in the inbox. And that can be a big fail for your subscribers.

But, if you are going to embed video, HTML 5 (the newest version of HTML) is far more robust and offers more options where video is concerned. Support for HTML 5 video is still limited but the clients that do 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 the Android devices will display a fallback image.

If a large number of your subscribers use Apple Mail/, you may want to try embedding an HTML5 email in your email.

One other consideration with video embedded in email is being able to determine how many people that click the video actually end up watching it. To track clicks, custom click tracking would also have to be implemented.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Wrap up 

Using video in your email marketing can be an engaging and entertaining way to connect with your subscribers. Considering 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video, you can’t argue with their effectiveness. 

Whether you choose to link a static image to a hosted video, use an animated GIF, or bust out some HTML5, put the power of video in email to engage your subscribers.

"Despite the expense, brands create videos due to growing numbers for video consumption — in 2018, it is estimated that 1.87 billion individuals worldwide will use a mobile phone to watch digital video, which is an 11.9 percent increase on 2017." - Business of Fashion

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