Idea Blog

Video Saves the Email Star!

Denise McArthur 03.13.2015

Most likely you get dozens a day. Emails, we say. Popping into your Inbox, occasionally driving you nuts, sucking your time away like a Hoover when you’d rather be doing something else than keep the inbox beast at bay. (Like Real Work.) Sure, you’ve developed a system and are normally on top of things, but these black email days sneak up on everybody from time to time. When such a day impacts you again, that is, when you’re feeling especially cruel, murderous and delete-happy, do yourself a favor, pause a bit and observe the emails that survive your cut.

Here’s an educated guess, backed by a massive amount of studies and research: the emails that survive the click of your delete button frequently have video in them. Video that you judge will inform or delight you (or both). In this sense, as a plain email consumer, you’ve fallen in the big net of email marketers who really know their stuff. Their secret formula? Great Video Saves the Email, Boosts Readership and Keeps Consumers Coming Back Again and Again.

Of course, great video in email is hard to pull off but because email marketing is so popular, and the attention span of an email recipient so short, it’s worth it for you to know all the vital numbers, stats and research info behind why and how video can radically boost your email conversion rates.

Video’s Conquest of the Web

Every month, in the United States alone, 75 million people watch online videos. Of these, a full 28% of smartphone owners consistently watch video on their devices. Video currently accounts for 78% of Internet traffic and is expected to account for a greater and greater share of the content available out there on the Internet.

Video and Internet Marketing

Despite claims to the contrary, all this traffic isn’t just cat videos. Video is such a powerful marketing tool that simply mentioning the word “video” in the subject line increased open rates from 7% to 13%. Video in an email drove an average 21% higher conversion rate, and a 24% higher average order value when compared to emails that relied on static images.

Because video is so captivating, engaging and potentially fun, it is more likely than simple text alone to capture someone’s attention long enough to get the message across in today’s ultra-competitive information soup.

The data are compelling. Using video effectively in email marketing can result in:

  • 55% increase in click-through rates
  • 44% more time spent reading emails
  • 41% more email sharing and forwarding
  • 24% increase in conversion rates

Best Practices

1. Keep it short.

A perfectly crafted message isn’t effective if they don’t watch it until the end. You are lucky you’ve convinced them to click your email open in the first place and you should respect and honor their time. (You value your own time, right? Well, quid pro quo.) That said, it’s easy to say a lot in a short period of time with a cool, snazzy animated.

2. Keep it engaging.

No one is going to see a video the whole way through if it causes them to ZzzzZzzZzz before the end of the video. This is where those old educational filmstrips got it so, so wrong.

3. Consider the best way to include your video

There are four basic options for adding video to marketing emails.

  • Have the video play inside the actual email
  • Use a gif
  • Use a static image that links to the video on the internet
  • Use a simple link

The last option here is the most boring and, hence, the automatic toss out out of the four options.

Gifs can be displayed correctly by the vast majority of email clients, but they are limited in the length they can be without incurring the penalties of large file sizes. As for the first option, having the video play inside the actual email seems like the best, most practical idea until you consider that few email clients have this capability.

The winning option we recommend is to use a static image that links to the video on the Internet. This can be a video splash page on your website, YouTube, Vimeo or any other video hosting service. Key Tip: Split test the screen image you are using as a still to ensure you are getting the highest possible click-through rate.

In other words, the more compelling, informative and attractive the video in the emails, the likelier your recipients will open, save and highlight future emails from you and become a dedicated consumer of your services or products.

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