Many of you have asked us whether it is possible to include video within your email campaigns. You'll be pleased to hear that the answer to this is a resounding 'Yes!'.
It is 100% possible for you to include video content in any email campaign, and you can implement this in a number of different ways.
If you require any assistance including a video in your campaign, contact the Campaignmaster Support Team.
Linking via an image
This method is more of a 'trick' which tempts subscribers to click on a pseudo-video image that takes them to a web page containing your real video e.g. YouTube, Vimeo etc…
Below, you can see our 'fake' video image, which has been mocked up with some convincing play/pause controls. By placing an ordinary link onto the image any subscribers clicking it will be whisked off to view the video on a separate web page.
In the result below you can see that the pseudo-video image is displayed in the email, and looks like the genuine article. A quick and dirty solution!
- Quick and easy to implement
- Supported across all email clients (It's just a plain old image after all)
- Clearly shows subscribers that you have video content you wish to share
- Subscriber has to view video on external page.
- Not very cool!
The HTML5 revolution is in full swing, and with it comes the rather exciting <video> tag. As some of you will know, most email clients have woeful support of HTML4, let alone HTML5.
With that in mind it may come as a surprise that the HTML5 <video> tag is supported across a few email clients (and it's support is growing). Not only that, but for email clients where the <video> tag is not supported, you can specify a fallback image (exactly like the "Linking via an image" method shown above). It's almost too good to be true!
At the time of writing, the method below will display an embedded video in Apple Mail, iOS Mail and Entourage 2008. All other email clients will display the fallback image. (Hotmail support can be added, but is a bit tricky)
To get started, you'll need the code below pasted where you wish to insert your video content.
- poster – This is the placeholder image that is displayed before the video is played.
- source – This is the direct link to your video, which is in .mp4 format (more on video formats in our follow-up)
- a – The fallback webpage link that will be placed on your pseudo-video image for non-HTML5 compliant email clients.
- img – The psudeo image that will be displayed instead of a video for non-HTML5 compliant email clients.
For your 'poster' image we recommend you use an image that summarises your video. When your email loads, this will be displayed and overlaid with play/pause controls. Once clicked, this image will disappear and your video will begin.
For your fallback image, you should use the same poster image, but place pseudo play/pause controls over it. This way, your subscribers can see that the image is a video, and not just a plain image. Let's look at the results.
Above we can see our fully operational embedded video, proudly loading in Apple Mail. The video can be played from directly inside the email, and behaves as you would expect. Subscribers do not need to navigate away from your email, making your engagement process extremely clean and slick. Very cool stuff!
Here's our email in iOS Mail. As you can see, it's looking good (It's been resized by our mobile optimised CSS) and the video has a 'play' control overlaid on it. Once touched, the video will then being streaming in the iOS version of QuickTime. Success!
While our video does not display in Outlook 2007, our fallback has merrily stepped in and displayed our 'fake video' image. Once clicked, the subscriber's web browser will take them off to the online version of our video.
Moving over to webmail we saw that our fallback image was displayed in Gmail and Yahoo! without issue. However, the new Hotmail/Outlook webmail hit a snag with our .mp4 video file format in Firefox. We will follow up on video formats and cross-browser compatibility soon.
- Video is directly embedded in email
- Fallback displayed by unsupported email clients
- Does not work in Hotmail (Follow up to this soon)
If including video makes sense for your campaign, then either method above will work well for you (but you may want to watch out for the Hotmail issue).
If you want to know which method would be best/most effective for your subscriber list, you can use our Litmus integration tool to gauge which email clients your subscribers are using. Mainly Hotmail/Outlook.com users? Link to your video via an image. Mostly iPhone subscribers using iOS mail? Embed your video for a good (and really cool!) engagement experience.
What are you experiences with using video in email? Let us know in the comments below!