Video in Emails: Safe to Use and Oh So Effective by

Video is one of the most powerful trends in Internet marketing today. Pair it with email, and you’ve got the potential for amazing results.

But despite the promise of video in email, many marketers have held back because of concerns over rendering and deliverability. Until recently, video couldn’t be viewed in most email clients. Fortunately, that has changed.



58% of users can now see video in emails

Email Monks put out a widely-circulated infographic recently that touted how 58% of Internet users can view videos in emails, thanks mostly to HTML5. Here’s how the monks get to 58%:

  • iOS Devices 35.60%
  • 13.57%
  • Apple Mail 11%
  • Thunderbird 13 1.03%


What about the 42%?

But wait, you ask, “What about the 42% of people who can’t see the video? What will they see?”


Good question. They’ll see a default image, called the “fallback image”.

You can define the fallback image to be anything you want and you can hyperlink it too, so that it directs your readers to the actual video. A call to action urging people to play it now with a simple, compelling graphic would be a good place to start.


Just so you know exactly which email clients will show which option (a video or a fallback image), here’s a table from Email on Acid that shows who will see what.


How-to Guide to Embedding HTML5 Video in Email

This table from Email on Acid shows which email clients will show an embedded video, and which ones will show a fallback image instead. (click to enlarge)

HTML5 is great for effects but it still isn’t rendered as video in many email clients. Embedded video might also strongly affect deliverability. That’s why we recommend to simply hyperlink your video to an image, such as an attractive video frame.

GetResponse Multimedia Studio enables recording the videos yourself with a few simple clicks – all you need is a web cam. And you don’t need to worry about storage, as we offer you to store put to 1GB multimedia files, including videos of up to 100MBs each.


Marketers are still holding back on using video in emails

Only 25% of marketing executives have used video in their email marketing campaigns, according to a February 2013 survey conducted by The Relevancy Group. That’s low, but compare it to the results of GetResponse’s 2010 Email Marketing Trends Survey, which found only 11.9% of email marketers were using videos in email marketing. Over the last three years, video use in emails has doubled.


What’s been holding us back?

It’s not just the rendering issues that have been suppressing video use in email marketing. Here are  other reasons marketers say they haven’t been using video more:


Inhibitors to Using Video in Email

43% of marketing executives say they haven’t moved forward with video in emails because they don’t have the video content.


Video emails are effective – extremely effective

For the 22% of marketing executives in that last chart who think video won’t improve the performance of their email marketing campaigns, here’s a head’s up. In fact, here’s six. The following six studies or surveys demonstrate dramatic performance improvements for embedded videos in emails.


Study #1 from Experian

Experian’s research has revealed that emails with embedded videos got 55% higher revenue per email and 50% more clicks compared to emails with no embedded video.

Think you can just link to a video and get similar results? Maybe not: Experian’s test also found “embedded video drives an average of 40% higher video views than linked video.”


Study #2 from Wistia

Wistia’s results make Experian’s look weak. The images below are an A/B split test Wistia sent earlier this year. Email A, on the left, had a video embed. Email B, on the right, used a static image instead. Email A got a click to open ratio of 38%. Email B’s click to open ratio was only 12%. The video email outperformed the static image email by over 300%.


Wistia Video in Email A/B Test

Wistia did an A/B test comparing an embedded video to a static image. The video email got a click to open ratio three times greater than the static image.


Study #3 from GetResponse

GetResponse did it’s own survey on video in emails way back in 2009, and found “emails containing video received, on average, 5.6 percent higher open rates, and 96.38 percent higher CTRs than non-video mails.”. Clearly, the improvements seen back in 2009 are still holding. Video in emails is just as compelling as it was four years ago.


Study #4 from VideoExplainers

Another study of video emails found improvements in conversion rates. Here’s what VideoExplainers discovered:


Power of Video Email - infographic

This segment of an infographic from VideoExplainers shows that 45.5% of marketers surveyed said videos in emails increase conversion rates “significantly”.


Study #5 from The Relevancy Group

For one more example of how soundly video emails beat static emails, here’s what The Relevancy Group researchers found:


Benefits of Using Video in Email Marketing.

Study #6 from The Third Annual Video Marketing Survey Trends Report

Last but not least, consider The Third Annual Video Marketing Survey Trends Report, which found 82% of its survey respondents said video emails are effective. Here’s a closer look at exactly how effective they are:


Video Marketing Survey Trends Report

33.8% of marketers surveyed for The Third Annual Video Marketing Survey Trends Report said videos in email were “very effective”.


The Survey Trends Report got results similar to VideoExplainers: 60% of marketers surveyed said  video improves not just click-through and open rates, but also the conversions on their site.


Video Marketing Survey Trends Report - 2

60.4% of marketers surveyed for The Third Annual Video Marketing Survey Trends Report said videos in email made their customers “More likely to convert / purchase”.


An imperfect opportunity

Let’s be frank: Video emails still have a way to go before they’re perfect. It’s great that 58% of users can see them, and heartening to know that most of the users who can’t see the videos will at least see a fallback image.


While some marketers may hold back until video emails develop further, there are clearly major benefits to moving forward with them now. Remember: All those studies showing 55% to 300% increases in click-through rates also included the subscribers who couldn’t see the videos. All those results are from the mailers’ entire list.


Marketers who step in now and join the minority of mailers sending video emails will stand out from the crowd. They’ll get more sales and engage their subscribers better than the marketers who wait until it’s 100% safe.

  • Reginald Chan Xin Yon

    Great write. For me, I uses video too with my previous email marketing service and can’t wait to use it with GR now.

    At times, video has bigger impact that just the plain ol’ words.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Simon Grabowski

    The cool thing is you don’t need to hire a film production studio to make these videos. A simple phone front cam video shot with your iPhone or Android phone could be all you need to drive better subscriber engagement and results.

  • Jordie van Rijn

    Don’t forget Animations! They are also a great form of video content and can make mails come alive even without even a camera. Especially a great tip if you are camera shy :)