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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 6%?

Those stats are compelling reasons for every marketer to learn the best ways to include video in their email campaigns.

Read on for some of the best tips and tactics for using video in email to drive awesome results.

Chapter 1

How to use video in email

It’s a common misconception that, when you use video in email, that the video will simply play, right from inside the email.

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 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?


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:

Video in email from Monica Vinader


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.

Can you put GIFs in emails?

Another 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 the image to see the animated GIF in action.

Monica Vinader GIF

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

Trelis Cooper GIF

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.

Animated play button

This next example is a hybrid of linking a static image and using an animated GIF. 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.

Check it out:

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 including videos in all your email campaigns, consider that email clients don’t all support the ability to play the video right in the inbox.

That can be a big fail for your subscribers.

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 the ability 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.

Can I add a video to my email signature?

Yes, you can.

While the process may differ slightly, depending on your email provider, adding a video to your signature remains largely the same across platforms.

First, you’ll need to create a thumbnail for your video. To do so, simply take a screenshot of your video and scale it down to thumbnail size (1280×720). If you want to make your thumbnail look extra professional, remember to add a “play button” graphic to the static image.

That lets people know that a video is waiting for them on the other side of the link.

Once you have your thumbnail, navigate to the options or settings section of your email account and then navigate to the “signature” section. Once there, you’ll see a button for inserting images. Insert your thumbnail.

You should also see an empty section for adding a link. Add your video’s link to the thumbnail.

Now, when you look at your signature, you should see a miniature image included with it. To test it out, try sending an email to yourself.

How do I embed a Vimeo video in an email?

Just as with other video platforms, you’re not yet able to embed a Vimeo video into your email.

However, the same rules apply as when trying to embed a YouTube video in email. To work the technical limitations of email providers, you can create a thumbnail with a play button that links to your Vimeo video.

While it’s not perfect, it’s currently the best possible solution for using Vimeo videos in your email campaign.

If you’re really serious about putting playable Vimeo videos in your email, there are paid services that will provide you with a special application. With these applications, your email readers can click directly on the video and watch it in their email.

Inspiration for videos to include in email

Now that you’re familiar with the method of embedding video in email, you may be wondering what kind of videos you should be embedding.

While there are endless possibilities for videos, introductions are a great first step. This could be an introduction to a new product or a new employee, for example, which can help to get information out while establishing a camaraderie between you and your customers.

In keeping with this theme, any sort of behind-the-scenes videos, such as detailing the making of a product or offering a peek into your office culture, can also go a long way in emails.

One of the things that separate great email campaigns from spam is the human element. By remaining human with your mailing list, you’re guaranteed to see better engagement rates and avoid the spam filter.

One of the things that separate great email campaigns from spam is the human element.

Source: Really Good Emails

Chapter 9

How to use video in your Campaign Monitor emails

Adding video to your email messages is a simple when using the All-New Campaign Monitor drag-and-drop builder. 

1. Click on the video content block and drag it to the section of your email where you want the video to appear

Video in Email Marketing - Add Video Content

2. Add the URL of your video

Video in Email Marketing - Add URL of Your Video

The completed version would look like this:

Video in Email Marketing - Complete Version

Chapter 9

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.

If you found this post educational, you may enjoy our blog about using Wistia to share videos in your email campaign.

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