This article lays out the best practice strategy for implementing videos into your marketing emails. If you apply the below recommendations, you will find that you’ll be ready to hit the ground running once your video is produced so that you’ll be able to start emailing your video to users and subscribers right away.

Video Email Marketing Optimization

Video has an undeniable effect on communicating our marketing messages and inspire of the major email service providers not supporting video content in email, we marketers plan on increasing our use of it.

Email marketing still dominates the top of marketer’s toolbox, even with email open rates dropping steadily over the years,

If you deliver poignant content that provides real value (especially practical), then you will see the power of email to grow your customer relationships.

It’s simple, send value most of the time, then ask for something now and again, because you think that something would provide the client even more value, at a cost (Gary Vee – Jab Right Hook).

Emailing has worked and will continue to work, with the experts all in agreement that this is so,

We all check our emails every day, especially those of us with an online presence or a career.

Recently EMarketer commented that email marketing is so powerful because it provides us with abundant data on the segments of our audience that are more or less interested in what we have to say:

“Marketers can target those people and offer incentives or discounts to encourage them to share with their friends and advocate on behalf of the brand. Add video to your email marketing campaigns, and you have an inexpensive, visually appealing and adaptable marketing medium for your business or service.”

We are all so tired and bored of emails coming through talking nonsense about something that doesn’t matter, and we tend to trash or spam it as we would mail advertising. However, with video click-through rates rise, engagement increases, and conversion rates boom.

It’s essential to think about how we present video in an email from a technical standpoint as Tim Watson presents here.

But here we will primarily focus on the best practices on implementing video from a messaging and presentation standpoint with a brief explanation of linking vs. embedding.
So, when it comes to video, what are the best practices for implementing video?
This article will go into those based on our experience, the research, and real-world examples.
Emailing videos to your core audience can be a powerful way to stay in touch and engage your audience.

Your core audience’s reaction to your video content is also a great way of determining the outer rings of your potential viewership reactions, and you can use this feedback to edit the video for optimal response.

There is a range of factors that makes videos drive results best in your emails.
Viewers of your email are much more likely to consume your content if it’s in the form of a video (stat)

We prefer watching over reading today (stat)

Emailing video content can increase your open rates by 19% and click-through rates up to 50%

We are asking less of the email reader by showing them a video because it takes less of their time and energy.

For a list of statistics on how video can work best for you to go here:
Below we have the top ways of optimizing your video marketing campaign.

  • Use a series of videos to tell a story

Whether it’s a drip campaign or a monthly newsletter, a series is the best way to keep the attention of your viewer.

When someone has watched one piece, they are much more likely to view the next version.

This also allows you to build a story over the long term, without asking for too much.
Instead of 1 x 5-minute-long video, you space out the content in 10 x 30-second chunks over weeks or months.

This means that you are only asking the viewer to pay attention a little at a time.

Because of this, the percentage who watch the total 5 minutes of content will be much higher for those who watched 10 x 30 seconds over ten weeks vs. those who watch the 5-minute video in 1 email.

Using a series is the smartest way to go when it comes to both efficiency (how much fuel you use) and effectiveness (getting to the destination).

  • Make it short and sweet.

The first video they watch should only be used to generate interest in your product, not give them comprehensive knowledge.

This builds upon the above create a series topic.

Making the video short and sweet means you keep everything clear and concise.

The longer the video, the fewer people watch (stat) once you get to the 30-second mark x% have already stopped watching according to (sources) research.

So, ensure that you have a single, simple point that you want to address and build 30 seconds of messaging around that point.

Creating a short and sweet piece of content doesn’t mean you will miss out on all of your messaging, you can get to that in later short and soft parts.

Always remember, multiple short videos are better, because they don’t ask for much, and before watching them the viewer knows exactly what information is within.

This means they don’t need to watch an entire 5-minute clip to get that one piece of information they wanted.

Ensure that you’re embedding a link in an image not a video in the email
The question of whether to use a link or an embed in your video email is number 1.

But this is only the foundation of what makes video work in email.

For a long time, you couldn’t even embed a video into your video.

You only had the option of pasting in a link.

Because of this, marketers who wanted to optimize their links would embed them in an image with a play button.

The emailed individual would then click the play button which would open a new tab, presenting a landing page.

Times were simpler then, but was it optimal?

Today 50% of emails are read on mobile, which is why it’s essential to know that smartphones and IOS support video within the native email client.

(Email on Acid) tested this out and found that video can’t be set to auto pay once opened, which isn’t optimal.

(Tim Watson of Zetta sphere) put it brilliantly, if you embed the video, the person needs to click, watch the video, then click to your landing page.

If the viewer only clicks on an image with an embedded link then is sent to the landing page, you’ve only asked for one click.

As any well-versed sales professional knows, asking for one click is always better than 2!

On top of that Tim mentions that only 25% of all viewers will watch to the end according to this article.

That’s 2 points to utilizing an image with a link, 0 to embedding a video.

However, to counter on the embedding sides argument. There are some situations where it may be salient using the same above minimal clicks argument.

If the end goal is to have them watch the video, then having it embedded won’t be a major issue.

An example of this would be sending a thank you message to a client or a video voicemail following up with a prospect.

You want them to consume that content as quickly and efficiently as possible.

So, if that means they can click play in the email itself, without having to click, wait for a page to load, then click again, logic (and research) shows that less waiting means more viewing.

On top of that, when the conversion is not the primary objective, such as just generic brand messaging, to keep your brand top of mind with subscribers at the top of the funnel, video in email can work well.

Often the email client won’t support this embedded video though, so it’s crucial that the image and text itself stands on its own.

Beyond the above points on embedding vs. linking, consider the use of animated GIFs which have proven very popular recently.

You need to determine whether your goal is to have the viewer see the content in your email or go through to see something else such as a landing page.

95% of the time, our clients have the latter goal, which makes sense as we run sales focused email campaigns where conversions happen on the client’s websites.

If you do not just want your readers to consume content like they consume Netflix in their inbox, you’ll want to send them somewhere to take action.

As a side point to the above, barring replies, you’ll rarely know whether your email is working if it’s not sending the reader to a page where they can complete an action anyway.

So now that we have decided that embedding the video into your email optimizes for click through, how do we best implement that?

Let People know there’s a video [Subject line/Body]

One thing we often see clients miss when running their email marketing campaigns is letting people know there’s a video in the email they’re sending.

Reason number 1 that this is a good idea comes down to transparency. It looks good to email service providers when they see you’re spelling it out in the subject and body. But even if this didn’t matter to the ESP’s you should still do it anyway because it’s a golden rule. Transparency will help people decide to click and view your video before they even open it.

Keep your thumbnail engaging

Your thumbnail can make or break your video.

If you have a boring thumbnail or something that doesn’t catch the viewers’ attention they won’t click play, even if they read the body and subject of your email, the thumbnail still has the most significant effect on whether you click play. From our experience and the research, a character (Human or animated) doing something strange or exciting it the best option for a thumbnail.

Have a single call to action

We often see clients try to fit in multiple calls to step into a single piece.

“Reply to this email letting me know what you think and set up a call with me here then go to our website.”

That’s three calls to action in a single email.

And it’s not always so simple to pick out either.

Most often the multiple calls to actions are spread about the entire content piece.

You need to focus on the one thing you want them to do.

Because not only are you asking them to do too much, asking for too much compliance…

You’re also confusing the reader.

If I ask you to run right, jog left and jump up you’re going to be confused as hell.

Then if I just said run right. You will know exactly what to do, and you would be running to your right before I would have even got out all the calls to action in the preceding sentence.

Keep the text and headline simple, focus on getting them to click play

Don’t try to fit in every component of your message in the body and subject line of your email.

These sections only purpose is to get your subscriber to click that play button.

All the information we need them to consume is in the video, so don’t distract them with a bunch of text.

Use messaging that’s a call to action asking them to click play.

Make it personal

Imagine if your accountant sent you a letter in the mail with a reminder of upcoming tax time. You’re likely to throw it in the trash and continue about your day because you’ve seen a million of these direct mail pieces in your lifetime.

Now imagine for a second your accountant instead sent you an email with a video embedded. It’s an animated version of him, telling you to click play, you think why not. He then greets you personally, talks a little about your past tax year, and asks for an appointment via a link in the email. It’s there, easy, and you click through and set the time to talk.

Making things personal and easy with email video increases engagement with your message and makes it easier for your audience to take action as they already have a device at hand; everything’s a click away.

(Much better than communicating your message when they’re between the mailbox and trash can).

 “According to eMarketer, approximately half of marketers who use video in email campaigns see increased click-through rates, increased time spent reading the email, and increased sharing and forwarding.”

How to implement the above steps:

  • First script and storyboard your content, break this content up into small 75-word max pieces to meet the short and straightforward requirement
  • Once you have produced all your content write email copy that fits in with the video content.
  • Set up the landing pages, upload the videos to YouTube or video, set up the links correctly within images.
  • Ensure that you have multiple variations of copy, headlines, and images to test (difficult if your subscription list is small)
  • Begin sending


When venturing into any new medium of distribution, there is always a learning curve.

Determining the best practices for implementing video in your marketing emails is another example of this.

Ensure that you have taken in to account all the above points before you implement video into your next newsletter or outreach.

Happy emailing.

If you're interested in learning more about how a video marketing production strategy can impact your bottom line without spending exorbitant amounts of time and money check this out.

Related Posts:

Email Marketing – Best Practices for Video Implementation
%d bloggers like this: