Video Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in Email

Video Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in Email

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 (Part 1). Plus, you've assuaged yourself of many of the old beliefs (Part 2) 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 for a Good Video 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:

Video in Email Tactics & Best Practices Chart

HTML5 VideoAnimated .GIF / .PNG VideoStatic 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.Video Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in EmailVideo Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in EmailVideo Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in Email
Support the message with a video-oriented subject lineVideo Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in EmailVideo Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in EmailVideo Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in Email
Use supporting text in the email that sets the subscriber’s expectations as to what happens when the video is clicked or viewedVideo Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in EmailVideo Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in EmailVideo Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in Email
Place video above the fold in the email to receive the most playsVideo Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in Email
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 call-out 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

Email Clients & Video Support – 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 (~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 .PNG video (~35%-55%):

  • 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 not display video, only a static image (~10%-15%, 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 <video> tag.  Never attempt to embed a Flash file (.SWF) in the email, or use a Javascript <script> tag to get video to play.  Doing so will result in rendering problems and, potentially, undelivered emails.
  3. You may also wish to consider using an automated approach to your video clip creation and deployment.

Manual vs. Automated Methods for Delivering Video in EMail

Central to the idea of delivering a truly flawless campaign is the idea that mail clients are different, and based on their differences, special things need to happen in order to prevent recipients from receiving broken-looking emails.  The only way to ensure all of the exception cases are handled properly is to use software that detects the mail client being used, and based on that detection, to dynamically serve the correct video clip or image.

Below is a comparison of manual methods and automated software methods for delivering video in email, along with two code samples.  While I am quite biased toward the automated method due to its ability to deliver a higher quality subscriber experience and more valuable metrics to marketing professionals, both methods can be used to deliver video in email.  Still, the manual method really only allows video in email to reach 50% of its potential compared to using automated video in email software like our own Video Email Express.

Here’s my chart explaining my bias:

 Manual Encoding and Deployment Automated Video in Email Software
Requires HTML coding knowledgeYesNo
Requires video encoding knowledgeYesNo
A/B testing & automated winner-pickingNoYes
Constantly evolving database of business rules mapping a library of mail clients/browsers to the different video/file typesNoYes
AnalyticsNo
  • Which mail clients served which version of the video
  • Most-served video type
  • Most popular mail clients
  • Aggregate views
  • Dropoff rates for the animated .GIF/.PNG versions in-email
HTML5 video encodingversions of the HTML5 video must be manually encoded; one in H.264 and the other in Ogg Theora.  The code is:<video>
<source src="MP4_VERSION"><source src="OGG_VERSION">

</video>
Automatically encodes both an Ogg Theora and and H.264 video from a source video asset.
HTML5 posterCurrently, different browsers treat the poster differently.  The most prominent case is Hotmail, where the video must be right-clicked to initiate playback in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, but where IE 9+ will allow the video to play with standard player controls without right-clicking.  Someone manually coding wouldn't be able to detect the browser, so 3 of the 4 main desktop browsers would deliver an experience that doesn't indicate to the end user how the video should be played.Detects the browser in use and dynamically serves a poster indicating any special action to have the video play.
  • Serves a ‘right click to play’ poster for Hotmail for Chrome, FF, Safari
  • Serves an animated video .GIF poster for Kindle.
HTML5 versioning by deviceMobile devices with non-retina or dense pixel displays do not need to receive larger videos; manually coding would serve the same version of the video to everyone, leading to longer buffer times for many users.  Older versions of iOS also will not play larger format mp4 files.Detects the device being used in real-time and serves large or small format versions of the video clip to create the optimal load performance/video quality experience.
Animated .GIF and static image encodingEither an animated .GIF/.PNG fallback or a static fallback must be chosen; it’s not possible to support both with a manual implementation.  Additionally, a “one or the other approach” has downsides.
With a static image fallback:
  • Clickthrough rate will likely decline 5% – 15% compared to serving an animated video.

With an animated .GIF fallback:

  • It’s not possible to deploy a custom static image for the mail clients that do not support animated .GIF.  Instead, the first frame of the animated .GIF will display in those mail clients.
  • Reduces the quality of playback in all webmail clients (sans Hotmail) opened in Firefox.  That’s because Firefox supports animated .PNGs, which are higher quality than .GIFs.
Detects the mail client and web browser in real-time and serves either an animated .GIF, animated .PNG, or user-specified static image, including a custom static image for mail clients that do not support either HTML5 video or animated .GIFs/.PNGs.
CostIn-house software, content delivery charges, developer/designer time.Based on the number of videos served.

Manual Video Email Embed Method Code Example

(code provided courtesy of the Video For Everybody Generator) In this example, the HTML5 poster refers to a static image file (a .jpg in this case).  Some mail clients, such as the Kindle native client, will allow an animated .GIF to be served as a poster.  Also, Hotmail currently requires a different poster depending on the browser's support for functioning player controls without use of a right-click.  Referring to the poster as a static image wouldn't know that, so Hotmail browsers would receive a "broken" experience in 3 of the 4 HTML5 compliant browsers, IE9+ excepted)

<video controls="controls" poster="http://sandbox.thewikies.com/vfe-generator/
images/big-buck-bunny_poster.jpg" width="640" height="360">

The file below is an .MP4 container encoded with H.264.  It would need to be manually encoded using the manual method.  This would render on the iOS devices, Android Honeycomb tablets, and major web browsers sans Firefox where mail clients support HTML5 (currently only Hotmail, when viewed in an HTML5 compliant browser)

<source src="http://clips.vorwaerts-gmbh.de/big_buck_bunny.mp4" type="video/
mp4" />

This example also has a manually encoded WebM file, which isn't needed for video in email, so this is purely for illustrative purposes.

<source src="http://clips.vorwaerts-gmbh.de/big_buck_bunny.webm" type="video/
webm" />

And finally, the Ogg Theora .ogv file, which is still required for webmail clients (e.g. Hotmail).  Though there are now strong indicators that Mozilla will indeed begin supporting H.264 in future versions of Firefox, older versions of Firefox would still require the .ogv video files

<source src="http://clips.vorwaerts-gmbh.de/big_buck_bunny.ogv" type="video/
ogg" />

This example uses a static file for the fallback image.  With a static fallback, it's not possible to serve an animated .GIF video to the 90% of webmail clients that don't yet support HTML5 video.  That could hurt clickthrough rate, and it also would lower the number of people receiving video in email.

<img alt="Big Buck Bunny" src="http://sandbox.thewikies.com/vfe-generator/imag
es/big-buck-bunny_poster.jpg" width="640" height="360" title="No video
playback capabilities, please download the video below" />
</video>

Automated Embed Method Code Example:

(code generated from Video Email Express)

In the automated method of displaying video in email, the video email automation software encodes multiple HTML5 videos using both H.264 and OGV codecs (to optimize for different browsers, devices, and mail clients), creates both animated .GIF and animated .PNG videos (to account for different browsers), and enables the user to define a custom static image for the devices/browsers that support neither.  That's why all of the URLs in the reference example are "resource URLs" which only resolve to static files when opened in the browser.  The actual file that's resolved to for each of the URLs depends entirely on the browser/mail client being used by the viewer.  It's the act of the HTTP request itself that allows the video email automation software to parse the user agent/mail client in use by the recipient, and display the correct asset.

In this code, a resource URL is used for the HTML5 poster.  This is needed to ensure a non-broken experience at Hotmail, and to serve up custom posters (e.g. animated .GIF video for supporting clients.

<video style="display: block;" clipID = "7268" width="188" height="106" poster
="http://em.liveclicker.net/service/clip?kind=poster&ID=7268&type=1" controls=
"controls" src="http://em.liveclicker.net/service/clip?kind=video&ID=7268&type
=1">

This is a placeholder for the URL the animated .GIF video version and/or the static image version link to.  Note how only the <img> tag is encapsulated with an <a href> tag.  It's not possible to place a <video> tag inside an <a href>

<a href="#" alt="To make this clickable replace the # with your landing page
URL"><img src="http://em.liveclicker.net/service/clip?kind=animation&ID=7268&t
ype=1" width="188" height="106" border="0" alt="Example video" style="display:
block;"/></a>
</video>

The Case for Video in Email: Summary

  • Video in email is possible.
  • More email recipients than ever before are able to view video in email.
  • Mobile and tablet computing are disrupting video in email, enabling senders to reach between 50% and 90% of their recipient list with some form of video in email, provided best practices are followed.
  • Video in email is a tactic; the video messaging still needs to be relevant to the audience.
  • Best practices exist for maximizing the potential and reach of video in email across video formats (HTML5 video, animated .GIF/.PNG video, static image with click-to-play).
  • Manual and automated methods may be used to deliver video in email, with automated methods delivering higher quality results across mail clients while eliminating deliverability and rendering issues.

Using Video in Email Gets Results

  • Sky generated over 1 million incremental video views, extending the reach of a TV video trailer, by enabling video to play within the body of an email message.
  • Costco Wholesale experienced a 40% higher Average Order Value for a single campaign segment that compared video in email versus using a static image in email linked to a video on a landing page.
  • Eastwood generated over 30% higher orders in a campaign showcasing video in email compared to a segment including only a static image in email linked to a video on a landing page.
  • Companies including Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, and Disney are using video in email as a way to connect with their audiences in new and innovative ways, while ensuring the use of this novel technique does not result in any broken experiences for subscribers, regardless of the mail client in use by recipients.

Conclusion: Video in Email is Here.  It’s Here to Stay.

Actually, to say it’s “here to stay” is an understatement.  As mobile device adoption accelerates, an email marketing industry that’s been stuck in a 2000-era mindset that advocates coding emails for the lowest common denominator mail client (i.e. the “best practice” for video in email is to code a static image in the email linked to a video on a landing page) will be forced to take a hard look at solutions that push the video-in-email envelope.

Until next time, Happy Selling!

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Posted in Video Marketing
About the Author -
Justin Foster is currently serving as Founder & President at the Video Commerce Consortium and Co-Founder & VP Market Development at Liveclicker, Inc. With over 400 members including the majority of the Top 500 Internet Retailers, the VCC is an early-stage trade organization well-positioned for future growth. Liveclicker is a Silicon Valley tech startup dedicated to helping the web's leading online retailers multiply the power, reach, and potential of video commerce applications. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • podenbrett

    Hi, Justin liked your article.. We should talk soon. Have some technology that will play in any device and it is customization so you can brand your business with ease. It also has a video conference room along with a phenomenal marketing system that is going to be rolling out soon.

    • JustinFoster

       @podenbrett I would live to talk and look forward to learning more about this!

  • ptamaro

    Video Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in Email http://t.co/NdeJuKOP | rt @videocommerce via @reelseo

  • jdavidsburg

    We use constant contact for our email newsletter– Anyone have any tips on how to embed video in it? It seems like it only gives us an option to embed a link in a picture & the user has to click through

    • prajwalnshinde

       @jdavidsburg It is very easy to add videos to your Constant Contact emails. Check out this link for the step by step instructions http://constantcontact.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5163/~/add-video-to-your-email 

      • JustinFoster

         @prajwalnshinde  @jdavidsburg Actually what prajwalnshinde is suggesting isn't adding videos in the email.  This is linking to a video on a landing page from the email, which is totally different (and kind of the point of this series where I'm lobbbying for video IN the email as opposed to video OUTSIDE the email).  Anyway, to add videos in your email with Constant Contact, for now, you'd want to use a solution like Video Email Express or BombBomb.  I'm from Liveclicker, the company that makes video email express.  There are some folks from Bombbomb here, too.  Or, you could try to manually add the videos yourself using the code examples from above as a guide.

        • BombBomb

           @JustinFoster Thanks for including us in the conversation.  We're a fully-featured email marketing platform designed to support video since day one.  We're with you on video IN the email.

    • JustinFoster

       @jdavidsburg 

    • Dennis OBrien

       @jdavidsburg  From these three articles I get the impression that linking to a newsletter with embedded video via an image (see my comment above) would be the easiest way to go. And get prepared for when HTML5 becomes widely accepted.  I think these articles point to the fact it is still too early to be directly embedding video in emails.

      • JustinFoster

         @Dennis OBrien  @jdavidsburg If that's what you think after reading these 3 articles, then I obviously haven't done a very good job of making my case ;-)
         
        In all seriousness though, while the articles may make video in email sound complex, it's easy – if you've got the right tools.  The complexity around video in email is what compelled us to start a company – to turn all that complexity into simplicity.  Today, if you want to add video in email, using a tool like Video Email Express, all you have to do is upload a video through an easy web tool, click a couple of buttons, and copy and paste the code into your email.  Seriously… but don't take my word for it – you can try yourself for free.
         
        Anyway, I've tried to take the opposing point of view (that it's just easier to link out, but I can't convince myself (and honestly, it's not because I'm financially motivated, I'm just trying to be logical).
         
        Let's pretend I'm a B2B email marketer (which I am), and that there are a bunch of people on my list that can't see video in email (common for B2B).  Let's pretend that 50% can't see it, all they can see is an image or an animated .GIF video.  At this point, I have a decision to make: I can either decide to give the 50% of my audience  that CAN see video in email the ability to see it, and accept that the other 50% are going to get the exact same experience they would have gotten had I just decided to link out of the email to everyone, OR I could just say, "screw it" and send everyone a static image linked to a video on the landing page.
         
        Given how easy it is to do video in email (again, provided you've got the right tools), I think, to me, the choice is obvious.  It really comes down to whether we, as email marketers, want to push the envelope and deliver unique/compelling experiences, or if we just want to shrug our shoulders and say, "it's not quite there yet."  No one ever built a great program simply by being like everyone else.  Heck, it's 2012 and we can't even get the major browsers to all render HTML the same.
         
        Anyway, the truth is, it's never going to be all the way there.  But we, as an email community, need to push the boundaries and try. :-)  Again, IMO.

      • BombBomb

         @Dennis OBrien It's not too early.  It's happening now.To Justin's point below, there are services that make it easy.  With BombBomb, for example, your recipients can watch the video inside the inbox everywhere it's supported (as described well by Justin in the article).  For those who can't, we provide a Flash fallback (video plays on a dynamically-generated, mirrored landing page so that it stays within the context of your email (with your call to action)).Ethan BeuteBombBomb Video Emailwww.bombbomb.com 

  • PlumMovingMedia

    @meg_ellen Thanks for the RT!

  • Dennis OBrien

    I'm an independent associate of the company Talk Fusion and I find the safest way to deliver video email is to first get permission and then displaying a video template image and linking to my personalized template (not a landing page).  The player is a HTML5 video player with fallback to Flash upon detection of the device. Once the standard is more widely accepted it will eventually play within the email client and browser.  The first video newsletter is about to be released and will follow on to become the first to play inside the email client again once HTML5 becomes the accepted standard.  With a suite of video marketing tools at my disposal I feel well placed in the race to make HTML5 a standard.  Thanks for opening this to discussion because the subject is vital for the future of not only video but the swing to website design using HTML5. I used a program called Hippo Animator to create a fully functioning mini site within a blog post with navigation menu and three pages.  All up it "weighed in" at 250 Kb.  Bring on HTML5. More at http://onlinevideomarketing.ws

  • Jhobbs2010

    I like the Video Express service, however, it's a bit pricey. Seems more for corporate usage, as opposed to small business.

    • JustinFoster

      @Jhobbs2010 It is currently targeted at midsize and larger B2B and B2C companies. We may offer a small business service later this year so please check back. And thanks for the comment!!

    • BombBomb

       @Jhobbs2010 We're targeted at SMBs with pricing kin to Constant Contact or similar (starts at $20/mo).  Give us a look.

      • Jhobbs2010

         @BombBomb Thanks for the info … I'm currently checking out the site.

        • Jhobbs2010

           @BombBomb Question.  I filled out the form for the demo email.  I was expecting a video in the email.  I've received two emails which click through to a page with video.  Will I be able to send the video INSIDE the email?

        • JustinFoster

           @Jhobbs2010 Concur with @Bombbomb.  You can't judge a video in email solution based upon what you see in YOUR email.  That's because what you get depends entirely on the mail client you're using.  It's advisable to send the emails to multiple accounts, devices, etc.  One common mistake people make is they're using Outlook 2007/2010 or Apple Mail 3, and they get a static and think, "well that sucks, this doesn't work."  The truth is that these mail clients are only 10% – 15% of most B2C sender lists.  I've seen campaigns with as little as 4% of the audience getting static images and as much as 67.5% seeing full video.  Our clients do tend to be larger B2C senders, and we counsel them to send on weekends or outside working hours to amp up the number of full video views, so I think we see closer to 40% – 45% as an "average" campaign for full views.  Of course, this advice would apply to any sender, large or small.  Good luck!

      • Jhobbs2010

         @BombBomb Okay … so I asked the wrong question.  Is there an option for animated gif/png fallback, as described in earlier articles?

        • BombBomb

           @Jhobbs2010 Video plays inside the inbox in 30-35% of all inboxes as Justin describes (based on HTML5 support, which is growing quickly).  If you received it on an iPhone or iPad, for example, that video would have played inside the inbox.  In all cases, we use full motion video only (full audio and video) – no animated gifs.

        • Jhobbs2010

           @BombBomb Thanks for staying on top of things.  I signed up for a trial account and have already tested in gmail, iphone and android.  I'm sold and I'm interested in reseller account!  Thanks again.

        • JustinFoster

           @Jhobbs2010  @BombBomb VEX will fall back to both animated .GIFs and .PNGs but as you mentioned the pricing is quite a bit higher.  If you want to go more of a "do it yourself" route, there is software online that will convert videos into an animated .GIF (http://gifninja.com/ is one).  You can host your own animated .GIFs and also download free programs to encode MP4 videos (you may even have some software on your computer to do it).  It's a bit more messy, and it lacks the mail client detection that is central to our approach at Video Email Express, but… it can pass as a solution that will work in many clients (some people still will get some broken experiences)

  • JeffMalkin

    Sorry for the sales pitch but at Encoding.com, we've been working on the video-in-email issue by implementing our Vid.ly (universal video URL) feature set into email.  We see this as a huge opportunity and will be going live with our video-in-email capabilities in our next production release…. should be by end of month.  Once it is live, we'd welcome your feedback for improving the feature set. 

  • llcool

     @BombBomb The problem with Bomb Bomb is if you send out for instance 1000 emails, and ONE person clicks the abise link at the bottom, they can cancel your account.  Bomb bomb is great but unusable.
     

    • http://www.BombBomb.com/ BombBomb

       @llcool  @BombBomb Spam is serious business.  The 0.1% abuse threshold is a basic standard across all reputable email service providers (Constant Contact, Mailchimp, etc).  It's important for your success and for ours.  We work with customers who exceed that threshold to understand what the problem is and to remedy it.

  • podenbrett

    Hi, Justin liked your article.. We should talk soon. Have some technology that will play in any device and it is customization so you can brand your business with ease. It also has a video conference room along with a phenomenal marketing system that is going to be rolling out soon.

    • JustinFoster

       @podenbrett I would live to talk and look forward to learning more about this!

  • ptamaro

    Video Email Facts & Marketing Best Practices: The Case for Video in Email http://t.co/NdeJuKOP | rt @videocommerce via @reelseo

  • jdavidsburg

    We use constant contact for our email newsletter– Anyone have any tips on how to embed video in it? It seems like it only gives us an option to embed a link in a picture & the user has to click through

    • prajwalnshinde

       @jdavidsburg It is very easy to add videos to your Constant Contact emails. Check out this link for the step by step instructions http://constantcontact.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5163/~/add-video-to-your-email 

      • JustinFoster

         @prajwalnshinde  @jdavidsburg Actually what prajwalnshinde is suggesting isn't adding videos in the email.  This is linking to a video on a landing page from the email, which is totally different (and kind of the point of this series where I'm lobbbying for video IN the email as opposed to video OUTSIDE the email).  Anyway, to add videos in your email with Constant Contact, for now, you'd want to use a solution like Video Email Express or BombBomb.  I'm from Liveclicker, the company that makes video email express.  There are some folks from Bombbomb here, too.  Or, you could try to manually add the videos yourself using the code examples from above as a guide.

        • http://www.BombBomb.com/ BombBomb

           @JustinFoster Thanks for including us in the conversation.  We're a fully-featured email marketing platform designed to support video since day one.  We're with you on video IN the email.

    • JustinFoster

       @jdavidsburg 

    • Dennis OBrien

       @jdavidsburg  From these three articles I get the impression that linking to a newsletter with embedded video via an image (see my comment above) would be the easiest way to go. And get prepared for when HTML5 becomes widely accepted.  I think these articles point to the fact it is still too early to be directly embedding video in emails.

      • JustinFoster

         @Dennis OBrien  @jdavidsburg If that's what you think after reading these 3 articles, then I obviously haven't done a very good job of making my case ;-)
         
        In all seriousness though, while the articles may make video in email sound complex, it's easy – if you've got the right tools.  The complexity around video in email is what compelled us to start a company – to turn all that complexity into simplicity.  Today, if you want to add video in email, using a tool like Video Email Express, all you have to do is upload a video through an easy web tool, click a couple of buttons, and copy and paste the code into your email.  Seriously… but don't take my word for it – you can try yourself for free.
         
        Anyway, I've tried to take the opposing point of view (that it's just easier to link out, but I can't convince myself (and honestly, it's not because I'm financially motivated, I'm just trying to be logical).
         
        Let's pretend I'm a B2B email marketer (which I am), and that there are a bunch of people on my list that can't see video in email (common for B2B).  Let's pretend that 50% can't see it, all they can see is an image or an animated .GIF video.  At this point, I have a decision to make: I can either decide to give the 50% of my audience  that CAN see video in email the ability to see it, and accept that the other 50% are going to get the exact same experience they would have gotten had I just decided to link out of the email to everyone, OR I could just say, "screw it" and send everyone a static image linked to a video on the landing page.
         
        Given how easy it is to do video in email (again, provided you've got the right tools), I think, to me, the choice is obvious.  It really comes down to whether we, as email marketers, want to push the envelope and deliver unique/compelling experiences, or if we just want to shrug our shoulders and say, "it's not quite there yet."  No one ever built a great program simply by being like everyone else.  Heck, it's 2012 and we can't even get the major browsers to all render HTML the same.
         
        Anyway, the truth is, it's never going to be all the way there.  But we, as an email community, need to push the boundaries and try. :-)  Again, IMO.

      • http://www.BombBomb.com/ BombBomb

         @Dennis OBrien It's not too early.  It's happening now.To Justin's point below, there are services that make it easy.  With BombBomb, for example, your recipients can watch the video inside the inbox everywhere it's supported (as described well by Justin in the article).  For those who can't, we provide a Flash fallback (video plays on a dynamically-generated, mirrored landing page so that it stays within the context of your email (with your call to action)).Ethan BeuteBombBomb Video Emailwww.bombbomb.com 

  • PlumMovingMedia

    @meg_ellen Thanks for the RT!

  • Dennis OBrien

    I'm an independent associate of the company Talk Fusion and I find the safest way to deliver video email is to first get permission and then displaying a video template image and linking to my personalized template (not a landing page).  The player is a HTML5 video player with fallback to Flash upon detection of the device. Once the standard is more widely accepted it will eventually play within the email client and browser.  The first video newsletter is about to be released and will follow on to become the first to play inside the email client again once HTML5 becomes the accepted standard.  With a suite of video marketing tools at my disposal I feel well placed in the race to make HTML5 a standard.  Thanks for opening this to discussion because the subject is vital for the future of not only video but the swing to website design using HTML5. I used a program called Hippo Animator to create a fully functioning mini site within a blog post with navigation menu and three pages.  All up it "weighed in" at 250 Kb.  Bring on HTML5. More at http://onlinevideomarketing.ws

  • Jhobbs2010

    I like the Video Express service, however, it's a bit pricey. Seems more for corporate usage, as opposed to small business.

    • JustinFoster

      @Jhobbs2010 It is currently targeted at midsize and larger B2B and B2C companies. We may offer a small business service later this year so please check back. And thanks for the comment!!

    • http://www.BombBomb.com/ BombBomb

       @Jhobbs2010 We're targeted at SMBs with pricing kin to Constant Contact or similar (starts at $20/mo).  Give us a look.

      • Jhobbs2010

         @BombBomb Thanks for the info … I'm currently checking out the site.

        • Jhobbs2010

           @BombBomb Question.  I filled out the form for the demo email.  I was expecting a video in the email.  I've received two emails which click through to a page with video.  Will I be able to send the video INSIDE the email?

        • JustinFoster

           @Jhobbs2010 Concur with @Bombbomb.  You can't judge a video in email solution based upon what you see in YOUR email.  That's because what you get depends entirely on the mail client you're using.  It's advisable to send the emails to multiple accounts, devices, etc.  One common mistake people make is they're using Outlook 2007/2010 or Apple Mail 3, and they get a static and think, "well that sucks, this doesn't work."  The truth is that these mail clients are only 10% – 15% of most B2C sender lists.  I've seen campaigns with as little as 4% of the audience getting static images and as much as 67.5% seeing full video.  Our clients do tend to be larger B2C senders, and we counsel them to send on weekends or outside working hours to amp up the number of full video views, so I think we see closer to 40% – 45% as an "average" campaign for full views.  Of course, this advice would apply to any sender, large or small.  Good luck!

      • Jhobbs2010

         @BombBomb Okay … so I asked the wrong question.  Is there an option for animated gif/png fallback, as described in earlier articles?

        • http://www.BombBomb.com/ BombBomb

           @Jhobbs2010 Video plays inside the inbox in 30-35% of all inboxes as Justin describes (based on HTML5 support, which is growing quickly).  If you received it on an iPhone or iPad, for example, that video would have played inside the inbox.  In all cases, we use full motion video only (full audio and video) – no animated gifs.

        • Jhobbs2010

           @BombBomb Thanks for staying on top of things.  I signed up for a trial account and have already tested in gmail, iphone and android.  I'm sold and I'm interested in reseller account!  Thanks again.

        • JustinFoster

           @Jhobbs2010  @BombBomb VEX will fall back to both animated .GIFs and .PNGs but as you mentioned the pricing is quite a bit higher.  If you want to go more of a "do it yourself" route, there is software online that will convert videos into an animated .GIF (http://gifninja.com/ is one).  You can host your own animated .GIFs and also download free programs to encode MP4 videos (you may even have some software on your computer to do it).  It's a bit more messy, and it lacks the mail client detection that is central to our approach at Video Email Express, but… it can pass as a solution that will work in many clients (some people still will get some broken experiences)

      • llcool

         @BombBomb The problem with Bomb Bomb is if you send out for instance 1000 emails, and ONE person clicks the abise link at the bottom, they can cancel your account.  Bomb bomb is great but unusable.
         

        • BombBomb

           @llcool  @BombBomb Spam is serious business.  The 0.1% abuse threshold is a basic standard across all reputable email service providers (Constant Contact, Mailchimp, etc).  It's important for your success and for ours.  We work with customers who exceed that threshold to understand what the problem is and to remedy it.

  • JeffMalkin

    Sorry for the sales pitch but at Encoding.com, we've been working on the video-in-email issue by implementing our Vid.ly (universal video URL) feature set into email.  We see this as a huge opportunity and will be going live with our video-in-email capabilities in our next production release…. should be by end of month.  Once it is live, we'd welcome your feedback for improving the feature set. 

  • Mike Mahoney

    As a writer conducting research for an article I found your 3-part series to be well written and very informative. Your examples and supporting facts are most helpful. Thanks and keep up the good work!

    • justinfoster

      Thanks for the feedback, I really apprecaite it and am glad you found it useful. Sorry for the delay in response, I have not checked this post in a while. It is exciting to see some of the recent advances surrounding video in email.

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