Video email marketing has long been a divisive point. On the one hand, it can significantly increase your email marketing success. On the other, many email clients can’t play videos or even earmark emails containing videos as spam. So where does video email marketing stand? Let’s examine.
Mentioning ‘video’ in an email is an immediate recipe for success. A 2013 study found that merely including the word in the subject line led to 20 percent higher click-through rates compared to the average.But the benefits don’t end there. ‘Watch this video,’ ‘Video Review of our Product,’ ‘Caught on Video’ and other headlines of the like ensure a high open rate on your emails.
At the same time, a Forrester report found that click-through rates for emails including video increased by 200-300 percent, numbers that were later validated by eMarketer surveys. These high click-through rates are directly connected to the reward readers expect when opening an email containing the word ‘video.’ Simply put, their interest has been piqued, and they want to follow through by watching (i.e. clicking on) the actual video.
Considering that including video in email increases both open and click-through rates, the most important metrics of email marketing, using video in your email marketing strategy should be a no-brainer.
Unfortunately though, it’s not that simple. Only two thirds of email clients can even play embedded videos, with popular services like Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo being completely unable to do so. Thus, embedding a video in your email becomes a gamble: 67 percent of your audience will see it, but the other 33 percent will leave unhappy being deprived of the content that their email client doesn’t allow them to see.
And even for the clients allowing embedded video to play, doing so carries significant risk. Emails containing videos are often labeled as junk or spam, which in the best case means your email can’t be read and in the worst case means your domain will be blacklisted. If it’s the first, your audience will never see your email as it’s wasting away in the spam folder. If it’s the second, you will never be able to send an email to those potential customers again.
The potential penalty of embedding video – being unable to reach your audience on a permanent basis – is simply not worth the risk.
So what should email marketers do? Caught between greatly increased success rate and potential disaster, there is a solution that allows you to get the best of both worlds: Include a screenshot of the video, add a “play” button or graphic at its center, and link the image to the actual video on an external site such as YouTube. To the audience, it looks like an embedded video waiting to be played. They won’t notice a difference until they actually click on the play button, at which point the redirect to the video site will be readily accepted.
Utilizing this tactic is completely legal and ethical. It is also safe, because all major email client support static pictures and links. In other words, this simple workaround allows you to take advantage of the success of video email marketing.