Video Distribution Using Email

Email is one of those activities that seems almost archaic in nature. It’s an old technology and the real question is, do people really need more email? The answer comes down to one of value. Are you providing meaningful value to your customers? If you are then there is most likely a good chance that you could benefit from using video in your messaging. If you do it correctly it can be the highest converting channel for B2B brands and a close second for B2C.

Most marketers biggest challenge with email is engagement with 54% of marketers saying that increasing engagement rate is their top email marketing priority. Wistia did some testing on email engagement with emails that contained video vs emails that did not. They found that emails that contained video had a 40% higher engagement than videos that did not. One of the key factors in this is that you have to use a video thumbnail in the actual email vs including an email link. We will dive in below into the nitty gritty best practices to send video via email.

Best Practices For Leveraging and Sending Video in Email

One of the first questions that you ask when sending video via email is what is the best way to send the video? Did I include the video in the email? Did I include a thumbnail that takes someone off page? Where did I include the link or hyperlink? From an ease of use standpoint you can make a pretty good argument for including the video to play inside the email. From the marketer’s standpoint though, you really want to steer clear of this. Wistia lays out a really strong case for why including video in the email to play inline in the email is not a great idea. Some of the highlights are that you lose SEO benefit from the video, you lose the permanent content experience and due to the different devices and email clients, there is no standardized way that you can be sure the video will play correctly (currently only Apple mail reliably plays video in email). For this reason it is recommended that you embed the video directly your site.

Thumbnail & GIF Image

Now, you can and should do some things that spice up the email to get people to convert and watch the video. There are two tactics we recommend to drive up conversions and engagements. The first method is by using a image thumbnail with a play button on it. You can see what this looks likes below. We have seen much higher results on conversions when we use an actual person as this makes the message feel more personal.


Now, the second thing you can do is create a GIF image. This has the highest converting potential out of the two methods. Technically these are both considered non video assets so they aren’t large files and can be reliably trusted to perform within most email clients. There are multiple ways to make GIFS and a bunch of free services for either making them from scratch or for converting them from video.

We included a few of our examples below.

One with the talking head method and another of a clip of our 2017 Reel. In this case, both GIFS have performed well in the past and the more creative you can get the better.

Whether you use the thumbnail method or the GIF method you want to link out to the landing page that the video will be hosted on.

It’s really important that the first thing they see when they land on the page is the video. You don’t want to tuck the video down beneath the fold or anything like that. Put the video on top of the page and make it very clear how to engage with it.

Setting Up A Call To Action Within Email

One of the main drivers of sending email is to communicate something to your audience and influence or drive behaviour. The best way to drive behaviour is to make a really clear and compelling Call To Action (CTA).

In general, it is a best practice to not put more than one CTA within an email as you want the viewer to have a very clear path of what to do. By putting multiple CTA’s that they can choose from you confuse the path that you want them to take. If you have multiple CTA’s or decisions the user needs to take you should make the video image or GIF the one and only CTA within the email.

Remember, the goal is for them to engage with the video. The next CTA should be on the landing page where the video is hosted. Now, this should go without saying but just in case, you want to make sure that you are taking them to your company’s landing page or site – not someone else’s.

Make sure you are getting that SEO & brand juice and that everything is hosted on your company’s domain. It is also worth noting that both Facebook and Google algorithms are favoring video right now so you can find quick wins by leveraging the power of video this way.

Retargeting From Email Campaigns

Now, we have a much more in depth article on how to retarget using both Google & Facebook if you want to check those out. For this article we are just going to touch on one of our favorite strategies. If you are selling any kind of product or sharing a video that you are also putting paid spend around than there is a great opportunity to use the following strategy. You want to make sure that you have pixeled the landing page with both the Google & Facebook pixel.

Once a viewer clicks from the email out onto the landing page both Google & Facebook drop a cookie on the users device. This allows you to start retargeting them on these platforms with either deeper information about the product or a reminder of the original offer you made in the video. This is a great strategy to use as you already have a lot of brand awareness at this point and retargeting can be some of the highest converting campaigns.

In Conclusion

Email is one of those activities that a lot of brands can overlook. It is important that when you do use email that you are delivering high quality content or offers. Companies that can do this that then enhance this with video are pulling ahead in both the engagement and conversion metrics. We have that you have found this article helpful as you plan out how to best leverage video for email.

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