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Are you considering to attach or to embed a video in an email message?

Video emails, attach VS embed

In the 90′s, videos embedded in emails were quite common. But, with the increase of email viruses and malware code nested in emails, more and more email clients discontinued video support in emails, as it presented a security issue. Today there are very few email clients that actually let you view a video inside an email. Today, the most common workaround is the old tried and true method of attaching the video; provided it is within the file size limitation acceptible to both the sender's and recipient's email systems, and the file type is universally viewable. Pretty hard to get right for your entire audience if you're doing an eBlast.

The alternative of course is to embed videos within an HTML email, assuming that the Email Client is adept at rendering HTML. In fact, YouTube provides a very handy way of dropping in sharing code for this very purpose. The truth is that most Email Clients do not support many HTML tags, attributes and parameters, and ALL Email Clients do not render HTML the same way. So, even though you circumvent the security and file size issue inherent with attachments, you have at best a inconsistent rendering of your intended message.

Many marketing companies continue to advocate video marketing emails, claiming that the success rate of video embedded emails is much higher (even 100% higher) than the success rate of regular, plain emails. After all, video seems like compelling content - content that someone took the time to create and distribute. This may prove to initially be true if you calculate your success rate by comparing between how many people viewed the video email versus the number of people that acted upon it. Otherwise, your actual success rate (total number of emails sent VS sales/actions/etc) simply can’t match the one of a marketing email that doesn’t relay on a nested video, because the vast majority of email clients don’t support embedded videos. So who cares that some of those that saw the embedded video acted upon it, if the vast majority could not even see it, for technical reasons?!

A far better alternative to video attaching or embedding

One video email alternative that we've had good success with is to include an image in your email, showing a screenshot of the video window, with a link to the actual video on the web. Recipients may think they are clicking on a video (this may after all be their intent to view the video)! Instead, we eloquently land them on a YouTube video page, or better yet, a landing page prepared specifically for the video. On this landing page, you're able to create and manage additional conversation around the video, invite the viewer to other parts of your site, and gain analytics specific to your email and web visit success. You should make the ALT image attribute as a call-to-action text to open the video file, for those people that turned off images in emails (although Gmail recently turned images on automatically by default!). Tough to keep up with all of the browser and client changes and your eMarketing campaign successes for sure.

In the video below, I've created an image that looks like an embedded video. For the HREF, I've pointed to a specific page on our website that has the video embedded. I've also taken the liberty to throw in some tracking variables that we can tie back to eMarketing efforts and actual Client visits. The advantage we see from this effort, is that the viewer gets their video (we fire it up automatically), and additional messaging we control that we can't by linking to the Youtube video source. In fact, we've seen click through rates of close to 30% using this win-win approach to blasting video emails.

It takes slightly more effort to present material this way to recipients, but we're confident that every recipient, regardless of Email Client, will see the email as it was intended, and be able to view the video if they choose.

Watch the Power Toolkit Video

Here's the simple bit code that does this:

<a href="/products/item/53-powertoolkit-email1.html?m=1145"> <img width="595" height="315" alt="Watch the Power Toolkit Video" src="/images/EmailMarketing/YouTubeVideoFrame_PowerToolkit1.png" /></a>