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Email Marketing: How to increase open and click-through rates with videos

Email Marketing: How to increase open and click-through rates with videos

Email marketing can be an effective tool to drive traffic to your website and generate new leads. However, as more companies begin to clutter consumers’ inboxes, emails need to be more engaging to grab people’s attention. One way to make the most of your email marketing campaign is to include video in your messages.

How videos can benefit email marketing

Videos are believed to be more engaging and entertaining for customers than the text or links found in most emails. And there is proof to support this assertion. Studies have shown that the benefits of including video in emails are

  • 19% increase in open rates
  • 65% increase in click-through rates
  • 26% fewer unsubscribes

A study by Wistia Inc., a software company focused on video hosting, tested the hypothesis that including videos in emails would increase click-through rates and open rates. They conducted 7 A/B email experiments in which everything was kept constant (same exact copy, subject line, and image) except one of the emails had a play button overlay on the image.

What they found was that a simple button stamp over an image can dramatically increase open and click-through rates for emails. For Test 1, the email sequence was sent to a list of 11,290 people, and the video thumbnail increased engagement with the email by 40.83%. For Tests 2 through 4, video thumbnails increased engagement by around 25% - that’s still an incredibly significant difference! But for the rest of the tests, the benefit of the button overlay started to wane. Wistia reasons that after seven tests, the luster of a video in an email started to fade. They warn to use video thumbnails with caution, reserving it for important messages.

Overall, the results all point to the conclusion that you should include videos in your email marketing campaign.

But there’s a problem. Most email clients like Gmail and Outlook don’t have the technical requirements to support embedding videos directly into messages.

So then how exactly do you do include videos in emails?

Since it’s not possible to have video playback directly in emails, you want to create the illusion of video in your video.

There are a couple of options to include videos in your emails:

Static Images with Play Button

This is the simplest method to link videos hosted on sites like YouTube and Vimeo. It requires overlaying a play button on top of a static image. Simply link the edited image to the hosted version of your video, and you’re all set!

Animated GIFs

If you want to create the illusion of video in your email, using an animated GIF may be the best option. Just keep in mind that animated GIFs work on most, but not all platforms (they only show the first frame on Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013).

Animated Play Button

This option makes use of both a static image and an animated GIF. For instance, some companies include an animated play button over the static image to grab consumers’ attention.