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By Matt Childs

Director of Customer Marketing at Brightcove

Tips for Including Video in Marketing Email Campaigns


Given that video has been proven to increase email click-through rates by 55%, the interest in embedding video in email is not surprising. Embedding video in email is very simple and can yield amazing benefits in the form of conversions and detailed behavioral analytics.

This short guide will detail how to embed video and outline the specific components to make your video-based emails successful.

1. Build a home for your video

The first step is to find a video hosting provider. For email campaigns, there are a number of reasons to avoid free video hosting options like YouTube.  As many marketers have stated, free comes at a price. The biggest free-hosting concern is the lack of control you, the marketer, hold over the viewing experience. Many business environments and some countries and governments have constructed firewalls that block YouTube, so your video will come up as an error message. Free hosting services serve up distractions in the form of ads, annotations and recommended videos, often displaying your competitor’s content. Even if the content is competitor-free, none of the automatic “noise” is aligned with your goal of leading the viewer down a path to conversion. The best option is a premium video platform that includes branding control and embedded metrics, and that drives and measures campaigns.

Once you have uploaded your video and created your branded video player, you need to build a master location with a unique URL. This is the single location where your video will reside. All usage of this video will be linked to this location, including all video shares, allowing you clear metrics and SEO benefits.

This video master location is called the playback page. You can look at the playback page as a video landing page. This page can be hosted on your own website or via a page generated by your marketing automation software. The playback page is a great place to put a call-to-action in or around the video player.

2. Design a Thumbnail and Autoplay

Now that you have established a unique home for your video via a playback page with a clear call-to-action, it is time to optimize your video thumbnail and enable autoplay. Optimizing your video thumbnail is basically designing a thumbnail that entices recipients to play the video.

You will need to decide whether or not to enable video autoplay on your playback page. This means that as soon as the contact lands on that page, the video starts playing automatically. Autoplay increases viewer engagement and conversion rates, so it is recommended by most email marketers.

3. Generate Embed and Tracking Codes

There are two main considerations when generating embed codes to be placed in both the HTML email and the video playback page.

  • Video Player Embed: Generate a video player embed, either standard or Lightbox player, to be embedded on the video playback page. If you are using a marketing automation platform, make sure it is connected to your video hosting platform from which you are grabbing the embed code. Remember to select “autoplay” so the video plays upon landing on the page.
  • Email Thumbnail Embed: Most video marketing software will allow you to generate an HTML email thumbnail embed very easily. Make sure the thumbnail is configured to the design you chose in step 2. Linking the email thumbnail to your video playback page ensures the email contact clicks the thumbnail image, then lands on a page with video playing and a strong call-to-action that leads to conversion.

4. Test the Flow and Analytics

Establish a clear activity flow and determine the data points to be extracted from your video email. The basic activity flow should look like:

  • Step 1: Contact receives your HTML email with the video thumbnail
  • Step 2: Contact clicks on the video thumbnail, which opens a browser to the URL of the video playback page
  • Step 3: Contact lands on the video playback page and the video starts playing
  • Step 4: Contact has either abandoned or completed the video and/or converted via call-to-action

The results are a controlled, branded, measurable video/email campaign. Detailed information on the contact’s behavior should automatically flow into the marketing automation or CRM system. Use your success metrics from this email campaign to evolve your marketing strategy for the next email campaign.

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