According to a test by SuperOffice just last month, just including the word “video” in a subject line increased email open rates by 6%. Just the word! Well, typing out the word’s convenient enough — and there’s easy (albeit small) traction right there.

But actually including videos in your email adds an engaging, interactive flare that will up your click-through rates even more, and help your video abstracts, MOAs, and animated presentations get seen.

We want that for you, which is why we’ve collected some of the best practices to boost your email with a professional, appealing video.

First of all, it’s important to remember: video won’t play by default in most email clients. There are, however, some solid workarounds to that issue.

Static Play Button

  • The static play button is a solid and clear indication that a video can be played, without the expectation of it playing automatically. The play button sits over a static image, that when clicked, will take a user to a landing page where the full video can autoplay.

Animated GIFs

  • A static play button points to a video, but it doesn’t do you any good if you actually want to liven up an email with moving images. That’s where a GIF is your best friend. It provides the illusion of video on an animated loop without actually embedding one in the email.

Make sure you’re not overusing GIFs — in excess, they can be distracting and disorienting. But when relevant and well-placed, they can be fun and engaging.

Animated Play Button

  • Animated GIFs give you some movement but don’t link to a video, and a static play button will be, well — static, but does link to a full video. If you’re looking for a happy medium, you’re looking for an animated play button. This will add a little motion to a video link, such as a looped buffering ring around the play button — that makes it more enticing. When clicked, it will again lead to a landing page for the full video.

Can I Still Embed Video in an Email?

  • If none of these are quite what you’re looking for, and you think a full embedded video, not a GIF or a landing page link, is going to be your best bet — there are some pros and cons to consider.
  • Pros: Yes, a video embedded directly adds impressive flashiness to the body of an email. It might likely guarantee your video gets viewed more if people don’t want to click on a link.
  • Cons: It’s a little bit of work — You’d have to use HTML5 to code it in. But, it is doable! The only issue after that is that many email recipients won’t be able to view it because of a compatibility issue with their email client. Namely anyone using Gmail or Android devices will merely see a fallback image.
  • If you’re sending an email internally and know your email client, or if you’re sending to any team that’s using a specific client that will support the video — go for it! Compatibility issues are just something to be aware of on large email lists. Your email deserves to look clean and professional!

Now, there’s a catch to all of this: Video in email is an incredibly popular marketing trend right now — but do you need it? Not necessarily. When done well, video is absolutely attractive and a great way to boost interaction with your content. But an email can be aesthetically pleasing with a nice slick template, great content, and popping graphics alone. 

So whether or not you decide to engage with video in your next email campaign — make sure your content is optimized for email, it follows best practices for CAN-SPAM, and you’ve thoroughly tested it across all devices and email clients.

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