3 tips for using video in email

Unlike images, sending video files in emails is still a pretty rubbish experience. Here are three tips for working around email's video limitations

rowan@vimsy.co profile

Written by Rowan

Updated 2018-05-01

3 tips for using video in email

Unlike images, sending video files in emails is still a pretty rubbish experience. Video files are big, and people on slow connections won't appreciate you obliterating their data cap (if on mobile) or simply exceeding their inbox quota.

But what if you’ve just finished working on a really awesome video that you need to share in an email campaign? Here are three tips for integrating your videos in email newsletters.

Watch this blog in video form, or read the transcript below

1. Thumbnail images with embedded link

Videos don’t work well in emails, but images do. Upload your video thumbnail and use it as a link to your video. 

If you can, our suggestion would be to superimpose a play button on your thumbnail image to show your users that they’re about to be sent to a video. If you don’t have the technical skill or resources do this, make sure you also put a button or a very clear link to your video somewhere in your email to send your recipients in the right direction.

If you’re really adventurous, you could consider using an animated GIF instead of a typical still image, but bear in mind that this will increase the file size of your email considerably. Many inboxes still have a file size quota, and users on mobile devices have data caps. Your recipients won’t be happy if you exceed their allowances, and you also don’t want your emails bouncing. Reducing the file size of your GIF will result in a loss in quality, possibly to a point where it’s better to stick with a higher quality JPG or PNG that’s not quite as eye catching but at least still legible.

2. Use a branded player page

Don’t forward that potential customer to YouTube; send them to your website and keep their journey under your control. YouTube’s interface is full of related videos and comments which could be from your competitors, or who knows what else.

YouTube and other video hosting services make it very easy to embed your videos on your own website, so make sure you’re sending customers to a landing page on your own website and do everything you can to enrich that page with more content, similar videos, share buttons, and so on. Keep them on your site!

P.S. If you have multiple videos and you need a place to store them that’s branded and fully within your control, take a look at Vimsy. You can do so much more with your videos, including selling them on a one-off or subscription basis. It’s free to get started.

3. Measure the results

Once you’ve sent your campaign make sure you measure the results. Services like Mailchimp make it easy to see how much engagement your campaign has received, including the number of clicks you’ve received on your links.

On the video side, most services (including Vimsy) give you information about how many times your video has been seen and an idea of engagement. Even if only broadly, you should be able measure how many of those emails clicks converted into video views. If the number doesn’t correlate then it’s worth looking into why - perhaps your landing page wasn’t optimised for mobile devices, or maybe you need to enable autoplay to make your videos start as soon as your recipient lands on the page. 

Maybe your video was just bad and you need to work on improving that in the future - we have videos on that too!

It could be any number of reasons, and the important thing to remember is that this is an iterative process and different things will work for different audiences. You’ll just need to keep trying until you’re getting the results you need.


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