How to Incorporate Video in your Email Marketing

Most email clients (such as Gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird) do not support embedded video within the body of an email. However, there are still plenty of clever tactics for incorporating or linking to video in your emails. Here are 3 ways to do it:

1. Static images with play button

Using a play button on top of a static image is the easiest way to link to video content from sites like YouTube or Vimeo. To do this, simply link the image to the hosted version of your video where people can watch it. Email Marketing Drip can do this for you automatically — scroll down for the tutorial.

If you want your video to automatically play as soon as your subscriber clicks on the static image with the play button, simply add a "?play" to the end of the video URL. This eliminates the need for the user to click again on the hosted version. 

2. Animated GIFs

Another simple way to give the illusion of video in your emails is to use an animated GIF. As one of the oldest image file formats (dating back to 1987!), GIFs are widely supported across operating systems and browsers, though there are a few exceptions. Window Phone 7 and Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013 will only render the first frame of an animated GIF. Because of this, it's important to make sure that the first frame includes any key information.

3. Static image, but with an animated GIF play button

This slightly more advanced option combines the previous two tactics — (a) static images with a play button, and (b) animated GIFs. By adding an animated play button as part of a static image, you can call attention to it and compel subscribers to click through and play the video.

How to add static video images in your Email Marketing Drip emails

One of the great things about Email Marketing Drip is that adding video to your email messages is really easy. Using the drag-and-drop builder, you can automatically generate static thumbnails featuring play buttons from almost any video link you provide. Here's how to do it:

1. In the sidebar menu, click on the video content block button:

2. An empty video content block will then appear in your template. It will look like this:

3. Add the URL of the desired video and the video thumbnail should automatically appear. *Remember to add alt text describing your video for visually impaired recipients.

How to embed a playable video within the body of an email

We do not recommend this option since most email clients do not support video embeds — as a result, a broken video embed can result in a poor user experience. However, if you're savvy with HTML and feel that you absolutely must embed a video into the body of your email, be sure that you are using HTML 5. As the newest version of HTML, it is far more robust and offers more options for coding video. Support for HTML 5 video is still limited, but the email clients that do support it (namely, the native iOS client, Apple Mail, and represent over 62 percent of the market. The remaining chunk of the market, made up of clients like Gmail and the Android devices, will display a fallback image.

One last consideration with video embedded in email is being able to determine how many people are actually clicking on the video and watching. Custom click  tracking  can be implemented to track clicks.

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