We are happy to be the first to report that Microsoft now appears to be supporting HTML5 video emails in their Hotmail web client (provided what we're seeing isn't part of some beta test). The Hotmail web mail client displays HTML5 video in Chrome, Firefox, and IE9. IE8, which does not support HTML5, still can only show an animated GIF video.

This is big news as Hotmail the largest in terms of market penetration for web based email clients and is the first to offer support for HTML5 video email, beating out gmail, yahoo mail, and others. Such a move by Hotmail should be a boon to companies like Liveclicker which offer a video in email product as presently HTML5 video in emails is only supported on iOS devices and a handful of HTML5 enabled clients, while falling back to optimized animated .GIF video works elsewhere.

Video email has long been the red-headed stepchild of the online video industry. Hotmail's move should prove a significant move forward for the industry. More testing and research to be forthcoming on this topic...

Hotmail HTML5 Video In Action:

The following is an screenshot showing an example HTML5 video email in Hotmail running in the latest version of Firefox:

Microsofts Hotmail First Major Web Mail Client to Support HTML5 Video in Email html5 hotmail firefox e1311058619153

  • Anand Kumar Madheshiya


  • Justin Foster

    My guess is that the right click to play is more a glitch in MSFT’s rollout of this service and will not be a longstanding issue. I did want to point out that by deploying a custom poster for Hotmail users that the “intuitiveness gap” could be greatly reduced if not eliminated.

    I completely agree re: auto-play being a bad idea in email with sound enabled. With sound disabled I believe many in the media, automotive, and CPG space will still want to run campaigns with auto-play on. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see this feature disabled as well by MSFT.

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi Mark, thanks for the great post here! I tested out HTML5 video playback across a number of browsers and came back with some pretty mixed results - you can see my findings in the Campaign Monitor blog.

    Curiously, while the player controls are stripped out, the video 'autoplay' attribute works fine in most scenarios - not that I'd recommend adopting this.

    Keen to find out more about HTML5 video in email, so by all means get in touch if you come across any further news - we'd be so glad to give it a test ourselves (and again, credit you for it)!

  • Justin Foster

    True, true.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/mark/ Mark R Robertson

    yeah, now if we could just get it to appear more obvious with player controls... :-)

  • Justin Foster

    Video in email just quintupled its reach overnight.