5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Email Marketing with Videos

A video is arguably the fastest way to deliver your messages — and no other marketing medium could even compete with it.

That’s partly the reason why video or specifically customer onboarding video is being used left and right by marketers to promote their brands. Incorporating videos in your email marketing campaigns makes much sense if you want to try to improve conversion rate, brand awareness, or directly share information with your customers.

Why Combine Video and Email Marketing?

Before you go guns blazing with videos in your email campaigns, let’s talk about the benefits of using videos in your email. If the benefits make sense to you, you’re good to go.

Stand Out from the Other Boring Emails

A video is a significant part of your marketing plan because it’s one of the few contents that draw your audience’s attention.

The average consumer receives 124 messages in their inbox each day. Using a visual element in your email is a no-brainer way to make your email stick out like a sore (but delightful) thumb.

The same goes for your email subscribers. They find emails with visual elements more active and exciting compared to plain text email.

Delivers Message Efficiently

When you get a subscriber’s full attention, it’s easier to deliver your messages or offers in your email. In addition to that, you can provide context to your offer in the video to improve the efficiency of your pitch.

Solid First Impression

There’s an old saying that goes something along the lines of “you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” Using videos in your email can create a strong first impression, as in making your email have more character to it.

Better Email Engagement

According to eMarketer, around 50% of marketers who have used videos in their email marketing campaigns see an increase in click-through rates (CTR), increased time spent reading the email, and an improved sharing and forwarding rate.

5 Ideas for a Clever Video Email Marketing

Embed Your Promotional Videos in Email Campaigns

Embedding your brand-building content, such as an explainer video, into your email campaigns offers an improved user experience. When you embed a video directly into an email, recipients don’t have to click away from the email to watch the video.

BUT, you have to be aware of something: not all email clients support in-app video playback. Some only show a still image that links to another website, and it’s called “Fallback Image.” According to Pinpointe, these are the list of email clients that support video playback and fallback images.

You’ll notice that there aren’t a whole lot of email clients that support video playback. Does it mean you should not use videos in emails? Nope.

You need to broaden your definition of video.

Use an Animated GIF to Spice Up Your Email

A natural alternative to embedding your video directly to emails is substituting it with an animated GIF. Your animated GIFs don’t have to be promotional in nature, and it could be something contextual to amplify the message you’re delivering through the email.

Check out this email I received from American Apparel which uses a cool animated GIF to feature their new lineup of t-shirts.

Strategically Place an Animated Signature

Did you know you can use cool moving pictures like this as your email signature? Now you do.  

Other than making your signature look cooler than others, this type of video increases your brand recall from your email subscribers.

Use a Cinemagraph to Put Your Products on Display

Cinemagraphs are other cool alternatives to embedding video in an email to make it stand out. Cinemagraphs are a crossbreed between a video and a still image. Here’s a neat example:

Cinemagraph could be used as an alternative to videos in your email. It puts your product on display in a mesmerizing way. It surely makes a tremendous visual eye-catcher in your emails.

Clipstill is one of the best places if you want to find free cinematography for your email campaigns. It’s one of the platforms we listed in our best video marketing tools compilation.

Tease Your Latest Product with a Faux Video

In a nutshell, a faux video is an image edited to have a noticeable play button on it to give the impression that it’s a video. This technique simulates in-app video playback for email clients that don’t support the feature.

Market owners of email apps that support the faux video technique:

  • Gmail (Desktop)
  • Gmail (Mobile Apps)
  • Apple Mail
  • iOS Mail (iPhone and iPad)
  • Samsung Mail
  • Outlook for macOS

In total, that’s around 64% of the overall email client market share. It means that you can still add visual elements to your emails (which can boost engagement) without losing your audience who are using those email clients.

Creating a faux video is pretty easy; let’s walk through the steps real quick.

  • Preparing the static cover image

Prepare an image that will be used as the cover for your faux video. In an example provided by Litmus, they use an image that has a play button on it to let their audience know that it’s a video. Don’t forget to add an ALT text to your image, so in the case of images failing to load, there’s still something to show your readers.

  • Setting up the background animated GIF

Ideally, the background animated GIF should be related to the cover image — but the choice is yours if you want to use something different as the background. When you’re done setting up everything, this is the image that is shown to readers when they hover over the static image cover.

The rest of the setup is a little bit technical, but it’s definitely doable as long as you have an HTML email editor.


Using visual and moving elements in your email campaign can help with engagement, brand recall, and the overall experience that your subscribers get from reading your emails.

While it’s not always practical to embed actual videos to your emails for the technical reasons mentioned above, these workarounds should help you overcome that challenge.

Read about Video Production And Marketing

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