There was a time email meant a wall of text. While email is still largely used for writing long text messages and long copy in marketing email is still big, its use as a potent marketing channel has evolved and how. Today, email can be used to not just communicate and promote, but make big announcements, be used as a newsletter, and above all, serve as a canvas for a brand to tell their story, showcase their products, nurture their customers, and in the process make some serious revenue. Today’s email looks nothing short of a great ad with multiple elements like text, images, colours, buttons, and video coming together to do the job. Yes, we said video! Because it’s not only possible, but recommended to embed and leverage video in email to shake things up.
Including video as part of the email is different from sending a video in email. When you send a video through an email, you would usually attach the video on Google drive (if over 50mb) and send it as a link. Same for a Youtube video. But what we’re talking about here is how do you embed a video within the body of an email. But before we get to the how, let’s talk about the why.
There are many reasons to include video in email such as:
- It adds fun and movement to a static email.
- It shows an action especially for a product that includes an action for example a blender.
- It can capture reactions of the customers to a certain product.
- It can allow for trailers to product launches, movies, shows and more.
- It can serve as teasers to store events like launches, a red carpet event and more.
- It can add humour to an email.
- It can be used to include spoken message from the leadership of the company to make announcements.
When HBO comes out with a new movie, they include a whole trailer to the series within the email.
So here’s 3 ways you can include video in email
1. Turn a relevant part or the entire video into an animated GIF
Emails consider GIFs like images so uploading a GIF into an email is as easy as uploading an image. This is not a bug, it’s a feature and email marketers like us tend to turn to it more often than not. In all our emails where we use a video to show an action such as a customer reaction or a recipe, we take 5-15 seconds of the video and turn it into a GIF and embed that into the email. For example, here, to show a customer reaction in a Silvercut jewelry email, we used 7 seconds of the video as GIF and embedded it within the email like so:
Another use case for using a video as a GIF in the email is to show an ‘ action product’ in its full or partial glory. In the email example given below, as well as in many other emails for Blendjet, we employ a lot of video GIFs to show teasers to smoothie recipes or sometimes even the whole recipes within the email. Clicking on the GIF takes you to the Youtube or the Instagram video link of the video.
Factors to keep in mind when using GIFs scoped out of a video into a GIF are:
- Include the most catchy or relevant Part of video: Ensure that the part you’ve turned into a GIF serves the purpose of the email. If the GIF is supposed to be a teaser to a bigger video, then take the first 10-15 seconds. But if the GIF is supposed to substitute the whole video, then make sure the GIF is of enough length that shows the whole relevant part.
- The quality of GIF: There are many video-to-gif converters like Makeagif or Ezgif which can turn a Youtube or an uploaded video into a GIF. You want to make sure that the quality of the GIF is not bad meaning it’s not too pixellated which happens when you compress a high-resolution video into a smaller GIF. So make sure you select “no loss of quality” when converting your GIF.
- Allowed size of GIF: Make sure that your ESP allows for the size of the GIF that you’re going to have in the video. The maximum size of image that Klaviyo allows is upto 5Mb so your GIF has to be within that. Usually 5-7 seconds of a video makes a 5mb GIF but it could differ based on the quality of the video.
2. Use a static thumbnail from the video with a still or animated “play” button
Another way to add video to email is by taking an interesting thumbnail from the video or a generic image with a “play” button transposed on it and inserting as an image on the email. Since the user tendency is to click on a play button, the “video” will then take the user to a Youtube or another video hosting page where the video will actually play. In the following example, food delivery app Swiggy used the thumbnail from a brand film into the email with the play button and linked to the full 1 minute ad.
3. Embed video within the HTML of the email
Today, thanks to advancement in coding, AMP, and data compression, it is possible to embed a whole video within the HTML of an email which means the entire video is played from the email itself, instead of being hosted elsewhere and simply being linked in email. But this either requires a complex custom code or an app. But honestly, it’s not worth it. When we tried it on a couple of emails, the analytics showed that the videos were only viewed for a few seconds anyway. Plus a video can be tricky to code, could impact file size and playing a video kind of ruins your clickthrough rates because they (the email openers) then don’t need to click into your email to get to the landing page of your pitch. So you lose out a little on the funnel. So we recommend using the GIF and the static image linking to the video method to achieve this goal.
So now that you know when and how to use video in email, we recommend mixing your email design every now and then. Again, just like with text and image ratio, a balance in static, only GIF and mix of text and GIF emails is the key.
Get in touch with us to have us design your beautiful, animated, video-embedded emails or otherwise.