With billions of videos being watched online monthly and almost everyone having some sort of email account, it seems only right that the two be once again reunited into a mass marketing tool. So much so that multiple services are now offering up new ways to do just that.
Google Labs Goes Viral
Gmail recently unleashed a new feature on its users. That being the ability to preview YouTube videos right from your inbox. Nifty! Now all those YouTube links that your friends keep sending you can be turned into quick looks without having to even open the YouTube site. What's that mean for the future of Gmail? Tons of marketing spam with YouTube video previews I imagine. I already get more spam in my Gmail account than I ever thought possible. Of course they also have some of the best spam filtering available and so I never really see it. Will this new feature clog up the Gmail spam filters? Probably. There are already some advertisers testing out Gmail-based marketing campaigns. There goes the neighborhood!
GoodMail Means GoodVideo?
Using GoodMail? Good for you because now they've got a new deal that allows for Certified Videos to be inserted and played in emails. The platform lets senders, who have somehow been pre-qualified, sort of like for a credit card I imagine, embed videos and audio right into an email. No new windows opening, extra clicks. The service offers a tokenclass that allows those with the key the ability to send .SWF and .FLV files right to a user's inbox. It can even stream the videos as well as do progressive downloading.
If you're not using GoodMail you might want to look into it so you can hop on the video email bandwagon.
What is Old is New Again
Come on, a text link? Yes. The old universally acceptable, innocuous text link is back in the forefront of video marketing. If you haven't got a massive list of Gmail-using candidates and don't qualify for GoodMail then you can resort to the most basic of viral video marketing, via a text link. Sure it's not flashy and won't draw tons of attention to itself, unless you use some clever wording to get the user interested. You could always upgrade your text link to include an image and have the image also be a link out to your video content. That's just some basic HTML and works across the globe in email.
You could even go all out and use an animated image. But those are sort of annoying when done poorly so be sure that if you're going to do it, it looks good, isn't annoying and gets the point across quite clearly. Of course some users might not accept any kinds of images in email so be sure to have the proper code in place to turn that back into a text link, just in case.
A Bright Future for Email Marketing?
These are but the most basic ways to get your video out via email marketing campaigns. Not all of them will work for you but you can bet that where Google goes others will follow. I'm sure Microsoft is looking at a way to incorporate Silverlight into MSN and Hotmail and even Yahoo has got to have something in the works. Who knows, maybe now that AIR is available from Adobe someone will make a fully multimedia friendly email service and application with few restrictions on what can be embedded and just implement a series of security measures to go along with it.
Now, not many people are going to want to watch long videos in their inbox without the ability to expand them to full screen etc. So I wouldn't say this is going to become a major hurdle for other forms of video ad distribution without a lot of changes on both the email provider side and the email client side. It might never truly be the main focus of your online video campaign, but it could certainly help boost its effectiveness.
If online video advertising becomes the media darling everyone hopes it to be then there's no reason that it wouldn't fully extend into email. Perhaps some day even those free email services will only continue to be so thanks to support from video ads.
"Before you read that all-important business email (which you should really have a more professional email account for than this free service) why not watch this 40-second ad…twice (see Ideal video Ad Duration).”
Or how about "This email is proudly sponsored by…ReelSEO…”