Just the other week, we highlighted a simple email featuring a ‘Play video’ image, which became a bit of a success story for our cool customers at Graphite. To recap the results:

“46% of recipients opened the email and from this group, 41% clicked through on the send day. We’ll probably see an additional 10% on both figures through the week. More importantly however, is the high number of replies we received…”

Not bad. So, if you’re wondering how you too can efficiently upload and share videos via HTML email, you’ll be glad to know that our friends at Wistia, a premium video hosting service for businesses, have made it a snap to add similar ‘Play video’ images to your email campaigns. What tops this off nicely are Wistia’s detailed reports, which allow you to determine who is viewing your videos and from where they’re being played.

Linking to your videos made easy

Once you’ve got a Deluxe or Super Wistia account up and running, importing videos is a breeze. Included in these plans are oodles of ways to share and embed your video files, including email marketing integration.

Lets say you’ve imported a video into a new Wistia project (which can contain one or more videos). The first thing you can do is set a ‘thumbnail’, which will be the static image displayed before the play button is clicked. You can either select a frame from your video, or upload your own. In this case, we’ve done the former:

Thumbnail image

Once you’ve set this first frame, click the ‘Embed’ link beneath the video, then the ‘For email marketing’ tab. Select ‘Campaign Monitor’ as your email provider, then customize the thumbnail as you see fit, by setting the dimensions of the image and/or the URL you wish to link to. Finally, copy the resulting video merge tags for use in your HTML email.

Copying the merge tags

Note that Wistia provides a dynamically-generated thumbnail image – if you select a new thumbnail, you will need to generate new video merge tags.

Now, it’s simply a matter of adding these merge tags to your HTML email code. If all goes to plan, you should see the thumbnail/play button image when you preview your email:

Adding video merge tags to code

Once you send your email campaign out, each click-through and video play is tracked by Wistia using our [email] template tag. You can then export Wistia’s personalized reports and match email recipients with video plays:

Personalized report

Naturally, you’ll be able to view all clicks on the video link in your Campaign Monitor campaign reports, too.

A video hosting solution for businesses

Apart from great analytics, Wistia also provides loads of options when it comes to distributing and collaborating on hosted videos. There’s lots to appeal to business users – from granting viewers permission to edit and share projects, to providing embed code and the ability to add comments to the video’s timeline. Email marketing integration comes included in their Deluxe and Super plans, alongside goodies like exportable reports and Salesforce integration.

All Wistia plans come with a minimum 100Gb bandwidth a month, plus awesome app support. Did I mention that their team are super-nice and have challenged us to a ping-pong tournament? What’s not to love.

To find out more about Wistia and view their pricing plans, visit their site.

  • Hilmar Halldorsson

    Hi there sounds great but the video dos not play in the email client dos it? It’s just að link to video online?

  • Patrik Jensen

    Yeah, it is a link, if you’re considering having your videos to play in the e-mails you should read this post: https://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/email-marketing/2011/07/html5-video-in-email-an-updated-guide-for-2011/


  • Daniel

    True! But a nice service from Wistia

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Yes sadly, video support in email isn’t that great. For this reason, Wistia allows you to simply link back to a hosted video file, using a screenshot or thumbnail of your choosing. This is most certainly the approach we recommend.

  • Hilmar

    Ok, but isn’t it much cheeper to use Vimeo and make the thumbnail your self, the Pro account isn’t that expensive. Wistia is little bit expensive.



  • muondo

    a great tool, i think.

  • Alec Kinnear


    Vimeo does not allow commercial video. Vimeo is for artistic and original video. They can and will disable business accounts (even if premium).

    This has happened to our clients in the past. Wistia is a true business service.

  • Kacey

    What’s wrong with hosting commercial vids on YouTube? It’s FREE and is also owned and indexed by the world’s largest search engine.

  • Brace Rosso

    I recently attended a presentation about optimizing video for SEO, and learned a few surprising things – I might have agreed with you a few months ago.
    Nothing’s wrong per se about hosting commercial videos on YouTube – it’s a good idea, but if you’re already producing videos and hosting them on your website, it might be a good idea to consider a service like Wistia, Brightcove, etc. for SEO purposes and better control.

    When Google indexes your site, and finds your videos, and starts inserting them into the SERPs, you might be elated… until you realize that the traffic is being directed to YouTube (where they can make some money), not your site – and that’s assuming that your email recipients aren’t being blocked from viewing YouTube content from inside their corporate firewall.

    Paid video hosting services also make it easier to control your player and your brand, remove distractions (like related videos that aren’t related to your call to action), and allow you to retain control over how your videos are used (Google’s Terms of Service don’t exactly maintain control under your terms). They also offer more detailed analytics (Wistia can show you where people stopped watching or where people re-wound and watched a section again – down to the user session).

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