Word of the Week: Video

Posted by Tom Sather on

The push for video in email is simple.   Email marketers have seen huge boosts in response rates, as well as an increase in conversions and revenue when video has been present.  A recent Mediapost article reminds us of the huge gains in click through rates and engagement when video in email is present.  They state an example of shoeline.com increasing sales conversions by 44% when using video in their emails.  Past case studies from other companies have also had similar results.

Email in video has been a long sought feature for email marketers but it has had its limitations.  Flash and javascript has always been blocked due to potential abuse from spammers which has left very little alternative for marketers except for static images with a play button that directed to a landing site with video or animated gifs.  Webmail providers like Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo have also been showing previews of YouTube videos in the inbox as well, allowing marketers to include YouTube links in the content to have it display without the user having to leave the inbox.

Even more exciting, and the reason for choosing video as our word of the week, is the announcement that Hotmail is supporting video in email through HTML5.  Justin Foster of the video in e-commerce company Liveclicker announced that Hotmail is supporting HTML5 video in email in Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer 9, which he states marketers could now see upwards of 15% of their list now supporting full video.  The good thing about HTML5 is that emails can be coded to play video upon opening, but please keep the sound off, or display a static image if the email reader doesn’t support HTML5 yet.  Even better, more people are checking email on their mobile devices, specifically their Apple iPhones and iPads fully support HTML5.  This means marketers can segment their file based on what their subscribers are reading it on and serve video to those that they know can read it.

Maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of using HTML5, but want to wait on the sidelines until it gains more traction.  That makes sense considering that the standard for HTML5 won’t be fully complete by the W3C until 2020.  Think again.  It’s predicted that in just 5 years, 2.1 million mobile devices will be HTML5 compatible, compared to 109 million today (which is no small number either!).  I would argue with HTML5’s explosive growth, now is the time for marketers to test and experiment to see what works best for their audience.

Now you’re probably asking yourself how you can try to use video in email effectively.  Rory Carlyle from BombBomb gives us 101 ideas on how to use video in email.  I love every one and can’t wait for the next 101 ideas he has.

Have you been experimenting with video in email today?  I’d love to hear your experiences!


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About Tom Sather

Email data and deliverability expert Tom Sather has worked with top-tier brands to diagnose and solve inbox placement and sender reputation issues as a strategic consultant with Return Path. As the company’s senior director of research, Tom is a frequent speaker and writer on email marketing trends and technology. His most recent analysis of new inbox applications’ effects on consumer behavior was widely cited across leading business media outlets including the Financial Times, Ad Age, and Media Post.

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