Video In Emails – Taking Interactivity To The Next Level


Video in emails has been the forbidden fruit amongst email marketers since the past decade. Even though 81% of marketers wish to implement video in their future emails, only 23% are inclined to do so.

Even though most email clients wanted to be associated with it in 2013; but now with Google backing out, only Apple Mail supports embedded video in emails.


Google Trends show that Video in emails is trending since last decade - 1

The term ‘Video in emails’ trended when introduced; but now, slowly diminishing. (Google Trends)


Video in emails – converting challenges into opportunities

With increase in the internet speed globally, one-third of Internet Traffic is engaged by video. However, email marketers are more often facing problems with embedded video in emails while taking the leap of faith.


Graph shows reasons for avoiding Video in emails - 2


Here are a few simple ‘fixes’ to do away with major issues marketer’s face:

Plug-in Support: Most videos require Adobe Flash or Quicktime plug-in to be present in the subscriber’s device to display correctly. With the onset of HTML5 in email, third party plug-ins are no longer required.

Device Compatibility: Arguably only Apple Mail, and Thunderbird 24 support embedded video in emails. But you can extend visibility by placing a static image or a gif with play icon to redirect the subscriber to the landing page containing the video. Moreover, since all video files are always hosted on a remote server, embedding a video doesn’t act as an attachment. So, no large attachment = not getting spammed.

Download Bandwidth Consumption: Videos have high bitrate and need to be downloaded in order to be viewed. But using progressive playback, subscribers can watch a video without requiring them to download the entire file.

Rendering Issues in non-supporting clients: Many marketers fear that the video might be replaced by blank space in email clients that don’t support video. A single code snippet in the email can cover the entire database to ensure that no one receives a broken experience.

Affect Analytics: Many subscribers won’t watch the entire video. But this can be avoided by providing a teaser along with a CTA to be redirected to landing page featuring the actual video.


Proven Examples: how embedded video in email boosts CTR 

Case study I: Ragan Communications:

In a case study conducted by Marketing Sherpa for Ragan Communications, an email campaign promoting registration for a marketed event was planned. As a strategy to maximize response, 3 different types of emails were sent

  • Plain text email
  • Email with a design element
  • Email with a screenshot and a link to landing page with video promotion

Even though the open rate for all 3 emails was the similar (~7.7%), but the CTR for landing page video was almost double (0.51%).


The email with screenshot of the video - 3

Fig: a) The email with screenshot of the video redirecting the subscriber to the landing pages


The landing page where the video autoplays - 4

Fig: b) The landing page where the video autoplays in case viewing on desktop.


Case study II: Global Mission

In this email campaign by Global Mission, two different emails were sent for collecting donations. One was with text encouraging the subscribers to donate for their cause and the other had an embedded video in which the founder Eric Thurman ‘talks’ to the subscribers urging them to donate.

To get comparable results Time and Date of send, Subject Line, Design, Content, List Size were all constant in both emails. In a list size of 2800 subscribers each, the following eye-opening result was derived:


The Newsletter format - 5

Fig. a) The Newsletter format had 8.57% Open Rate, 2.50% CTR and 3500$ in donations


The Embedded Video Format - 6

Fig. b) The video format had 7.90% Open Rate, 3.59% CTR and 7500$ in donations


So there is a 12% increase in the open rate and 114% increase in the conversion rate on implementing an embedded video.


Case study III: Zumba Fitness

Fitness brand Zumpa conducted a similar study to entice B2B companies. To debut the personalized video within Zumba’s email program, the team chose the launch email of the annual Instructor Convention. The team ran a multivariate test to see if the personalized video and message would achieve a lift against a control email.

The personalized email had an “almost uncomfortably short” subject line “[Recipient name], your Convention video.” The list was split with 90% receiving the personalized message and 10% receiving the control. The results, this test was able to achieve, fortifying the team’s move into personalized video for the Conference:

  • Personalized message had an open rate of 40% and 21% CTR.
  • Control message, on other hand had 31% Open rate and 5.4% CTR.


Zumba Fitness Implemented Embed Video - 7


Case study IV: P&O Cruises

For a Grand Event email, P&O Cruises sent a promotional email initially and an embedded video seven weeks later. Almost 30 days after sending the embedded video the real impact of this video campaign, resulted in:

  • 11.4 % uplift in unique open rates
  • 3.1 % increase in click through rates
  • 950% increase in bookings
  • 679% boost in revenue


P&O Cruises increased their ROI with Embed Video - 8


Some honorable mentions

  • In email campaigns showcasing video in email compared to static image redirecting to landing page, Costco Wholesale experienced a 40% higher average order value and Eastwood generated over 30% higher orders
  • Sky, extending the reach of a TV video trailer, generated over 1 million incremental video views, by enabling video to play within the body of an email message.
  • Companies including Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, and Disney are using video in email, 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.



The verdict is clear; video in email marketing is worth the effort. Also marketers using video in email were found to generate 40% higher monthly revenue than non-video users.


Graph highlighting the return value of video in emails - 9


Cisco found that just mentioning the word “video” in an email subject line increased open rates by 7 to 13 percent and improved click through rates by 20 percent as per another study.

As for the concern regarding limited support by different email clients, once the demand for video in emails increases; the need to join the bandwagon may increase.

If video in your email campaigns is your forte, how are you tracking your success? Does your average CTR increase when you include videos? Share your stories in the comments below.

Become a marketing PRO!

Join more than 15,000 SMB marketers who get our top marketing articles straight into their inbox