Power Play: Why Video in Email is Winning

Commercial Real Estate


Photography & Film


Commercial Real Estate

Photography & Film


3 min read

In the never-ending quest to reach that hallowed state of Inbox Zero, safeguarding your email campaigns from the trash and spam folders is more important than ever. From A/B testing and hyper-segmentation to automated drips and dynamic landing pages, it’s easy to get caught in the “What if …” trap. Successful email marketing requires a smart balance between function and form yet we often forego strong, unique content in favor of easy metrics — unfortunately, those numbers don’t mean much if your end consumers can’t use (or don’t want) the information you’ve just sent.

Did you know the average office worker receives 121 emails per day?* In an eight-hour workday that means your subscribers are bombarded with ping-ding-swoosh sounds (officially known as haptics) approximately every four minutes. How can you ensure your message withstands the daily sorting, filing and filtering?

We’re glad you asked!

That’s where video comes in. When done well, incorporating video into your emails can strengthen your brand with just one click. Not only does it offer instant gratification to your subscribers, it also expands your content ecosystem to gain even more value from your creative assets.

One Productions, an award-winning video agency in Dublin, Ireland, created a deep-dive infographic on the effects of video in email marketing. Here’s a cliff notes view of what you need to know:

Video Breaks Through Chatter & Clutter

93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content but frequently fail to consider the complexity of their users’ journeys. Rather than dumping a page full of jargon into a template with an aggressive call to action, consider an explainer video. Telling your consumers something they don’t know versus forcing them to read through too much, too soon, starts to build a sense of trust before they ever get to your site. One Productions noted that video helped digital marketers generate 66% more qualified leads year over year; they also found that 64% of consumers are more likely to purchase something after seeing it in video.*

Video Takes Effort

As with any other drip campaign strategy, pick a topic and stick to it. Scripting your video to a single objective will help viewers identify their own takeaways and help you build intuitive action steps throughout. Making the next step as clear as possible by using video can reduce your unsubscribe rate by 75%*.

When storyboarding, consider the post-production details that make your content share-worthy. Include captions or overlay text to ensure your video is mobile-friendly as 92% of people reportedly play them with sound off while using smartphones and tablets. Large file sizes and attachments can trigger spam filters, especially in enterprise-level email clients. Aim for a maximum of 2.7MB to help avoid this issue. Lastly, before you hit send, consider that using the word “video” in a subject line can increase opens by 19% and improve click-through by 65%.*

Video is (Much) More than a Talking Head

GIFs, animations, flat-lays, round-ups, explainers — the world of video content is wide and waiting to be explored. Uscreen, a video monetization and distribution platform for Fortune 500s, details 15 types of video that can take marketing to the next level. Here are three methods to include such content in your emails, and pros and cons for each:

  •   Embedded Thumbnail Link

Grab a still frame, copy your page link, pop it into a template and you’re good to go. Thumbnail links are the easiest way to include video content in your emails but clicking off to a separate page in a separate application adds one more hurdle for your subscribers. Adding a “play button” overlay to the image and setting the video to auto-play when the page loads can help reduce drop-offs.

  •   Embedded Video

There is no way around it, this method requires detailed backend coding and has a high risk/high reward payoff. Building the video directly into the body of your email eliminates the game of leapfrog and creates an immediate connection as soon as it’s opened. B2B marketers beware; several of the large email clients are built to strip out embedded videos as an added layer of digital security for organizations so it pays to do your homework on this one.

  •   Embedded GIFs

Yep, those table stakes for memes and group texts can make a big impact in your emails as well. The endlessly looping animations are easy to build, play automatically, and allowed by most email clients. These can be a designer’s playground with unlimited opportunity to blend graphics, colors, type treatments and cut-downs into a tight clip. On the downside, they do not support audio and can create a glitchy experience if the file size exceeds 1MB.

No matter which method you choose, there are a few technical details you have to know:

  1. Lead with copy — placing video second in the layout will give your subscribers needed context and help prevent your emails from being flagged as spam
  2. Don’t enable auto-play on embedded video files — it’s a jarring user experience and can cause unnecessary interruption when trying to multitask
  3. Consider the power of personalization — using a tool that connects your CRM and databases to your creative assets can automate “custom” email messages by embedding data such as names, companies, cities and more directly into the video


*One Productions. “Video in Email Marketing”, One Productions published 4 May 2020