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Video in Email Part 3: Video in Email Best Practices

Video in Email Part 3: Video in Email Best Practices

"Today, I am going to switch gears to a more tactical focus by sharing where video in email is supported, specific techniques and tools you can use to maximize your in-email video coverage, and best practices you can use to create compelling subscriber experiences."

If you’ve made it to this third installment of our video in email series, you already know that video in email has finally arrived. Plus, you’ve assuaged yourself of many of the old beliefs about video in email.  As a result, you now understand the case for using video in the body of email messages is stronger than it’s ever been before.

Today, I am going to switch gears to a more tactical focus by sharing where video in email is supported, specific techniques and tools you can use to maximize your in-email video coverage, and best practices you can use to create compelling subscriber experiences.

Start by understanding your mail recipients

Understanding your recipients begins with knowing what messaging is most likely to resonate with your audience.  It’s worth mentioning that simply because it’s now possible to include video in email doesn’t mean that employing this tactic will fix a broken messaging or video communications strategy.  After all, who cares if someone watches your video if it’s not adding value to your recipient’s day?

In fact, I would argue that due to video in email being relatively more accessible than video on landing pages, especially for an increasingly mobile-oriented universe, that the bar required for marketers to leap over in terms of providing valuable video content to subscribers is higher than it’s ever been.  That’s because when a sender asks a recipient to watch a video in the email message itself, he is lowering the hurdle for the viewer to watch, which means there is less opportunity for the viewer to get distracted with something else.  So, if someone is more likely to watch your video, you’d better have a good video for them to watch!

What makes a good video in email?

The answer, like many in Video-in-Email-Land, is that it depends on the mail client being used and the version of the video being served.  Here’s a handy best practices chart for you to use in preparing your next video in email campaign:

 

HTML5 Video

Animated .GIF / .PNG Video

Static Image

Send video that is relevant to the subscriber; add value with your video messaging by giving the viewer more with the message than the value of the time you’re taking away from the viewer.

 

 

 

Support the message with a video-oriented subject line

 

 

 

Use supporting text in the email that sets the subscriber’s expectations as to what happens when the video is clicked or viewed

 

 

 

Place video above the fold in the email to receive the most plays

 

 

 

Stick to a video that’s 400 pixels wide or less

 

 

 

Use a teaser video that’s no longer than 15 to 30 seconds

 

 

 

Use text in the video to convey spoken words

 

 

 

Include a callout in the video to prompt clickthrough to a landing page

 

 

 

Choose a static image that illustrates a video player with a play button present to indicate a video will play on the landing page when clicking through

 

 

 

 

What works where?

Once you’ve developed the perfect video(s), the next step is to determine how your audience members will likely see video in their mail clients.  Below you’ll find a breakdown of which mail clients support what, followed by two examples of recent video in email campaigns that closely mirror industry trends for mail client support for video; one for B2C, and the other for B2B.

Mail clients supporting full video w/audio in email (generally 35% - 65% of a list):

  • All iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), when the email is opened in the native mail client
  • Android tablets running Honeycomb (3.x.x), when the email is opened in the native mail client
  • Hotmail, when viewed in an HTML5 compliant desktop web browser (IE9+, Firefox 3.5+, Chrome, Safari 3.1+, Safari 3+)
  • Hotmail, when viewed in the web browser on all iOS and all Android releases
  • Apple Mail 4
  • Outlook for Mac 2011
  • Thunderbird

Mail clients that will display a silent animated .GIF or animated .PNG video (generally 35% - 55% of a list):

  • All webmail clients except Hotmail, when viewed in a desktop browser
  • Hotmail, when viewed in Internet Explorer 8 or earlier
  • Outlook 2003, 2000, and Outlook Express
  • Lotus Notes (all versions)

Mail clients that will never display video in email of any kind, only a static image (generally this is 10% - 15% of a list, though it can be higher for B2B senders):

  • Outlook 2007 and 2010
  • Android phones running Gingerbread or earlier (2.3.6 or earlier)

Example B2C campaign

·       65.3% of the audience received the full video with audio

·       28.1% of the audience received the silent animated .GIF/animated .PNG video

·       6.4% of the audience received the static image

 

 

Example B2B campaign:

·       25.8% of the audience received the full video with audio

·       48.8% of the audience received the silent animated .GIF/animated .PNG video

·       25.2% of the audience received the static image

 

As you can see based on the examples, there can be a wide discrepancy between B2B and B2C audiences, with B2C senders more likely to deliver full video with audio into the email body.  Yet even the B2B group, with the relatively higher percentage of Outlook 2007/2010 users, reached nearly 75% of the audience with video in email (counting both HTML5 video with audio, and animated. GIF/.PNG video).  Without counting the animated .GIF views, over 25% of the B2B audience received video, while no one on the list received a broken experience.  So regardless of whether you are a B2B sender, you should be able to reach a large portion of your audience with video in the mail client.

What techniques can you use to reach as many people as possible with the full video?  The two main items are:

1.     Send your emails containing video outside of work hours, or on the weekend.  People are less likely to check their email from Outlook 2007 or 2010 (which only display static images in the email), and are more likely to check their email on their smartphones or tablets (many of which support full video in the email)

2.     Use the HTML5

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Wednesday, 26 September 2018
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