Video is everywhere these days, and not just on your phone or TV. (Nothing like watching the news while you pump gas!)
One place video isn’t as prominent as it could or should be is in email. In some ways, the inbox represents the final digital frontier of widespread video ubiquity. But evolving technology and delivery tactics can help more email marketers harness the engaging, eye-catching power of video, too.
Why video is so compelling
Even marketers who are devoted to the written word can’t deny that video grabs attention and can drive engagement (opens and clicks) and conversions:
- • Adding videos to your email can boost open rates by 6%, increase click rates by 300% and reduce unsubscribes up 26%.
- • Marketers who use video are likely to grow their revenue 49% faster than those who don’t.
- • People are spending more time watching video: an average 84 minutes daily in 2019, an amount predicted to rise to 100 minutes by 2021.
- • More people would rather watch a video than read text to learn about a company, get directions or learn about new products.
- • Video view rates are 25% to 40% higher in emails than on website-only campaigns.
What’s keeping video out of email?
Tech and user issues are the main obstacles preventing video content from taking over the inbox.
Some email clients that don’t support embedded video will display a big black rectangle instead. Even the next best alternative – showing an animated GIF or a static image with a clickable “play” button instead of the video – may eject the reader out of the email to watch the clip on the website. That means lower view rates and less time spent in the email.
Video can make the message file so large that the email client will clip it, forcing the reader to click to see the whole message. Some ISPs block messages if their file sizes exceed their limits, and mobile users may also have trouble with large files on their network (not to mention complaints about data usage).
Today’s dynamic email content platforms are capable of resolving or mitigating these tech and rendering issues by detecting and displaying the method – embedded videos, animated GIF or static image – the user’s client will support. For instance; only 3% of Liveclicker embedded video recipients see just a static image, while 40% can view the embedded video.
Experiment-worthy: live streaming and sharable social video
Online video continues to evolve, generating a flurry of developments and use cases. Not all are suitable or practical for email right now, but two show definite promise without requiring massive infusions of budget or an entire creative staff. In some cases, all you need is your phone and some fans!
1. Live video streaming
Need some numbers to show how livestreaming has gone mainstream? Here you go:
- • 42% of the U.S. population had live-streamed online content by 2018, up from 25% in 2017.
- • 80% of the population have reported using either a streaming service or an app to watch online video during an average week.
- • Live streaming will be a $70.5 billion industry by 2021.
- • 15% of shoppers, mainly Generation X and Millennials, said they planned to use streaming video in their research as part of a study in Salesforce’s 2019 Connected Shoppers Report.
All this means is that many of your email readers know about and are open to viewing livestreamed content in your email. You won’t have to explain what it is or why it’s worth their time to watch your live event. Big, recognizable brands like Facebook, Instagram and the Super Bowl have done it for you already.
Use it in email to showcase an event: Livestream a product launch, unboxing or contest reveal. Create a library of tutorials or demos. Stream a press conference, as LG did at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. Any event with FOMO potential can become an engagement magnet.
Harley-Davidson used video to launch its 2019 fall FXRG Collection clothing line:
2. TikTok social video
Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are so-o-o-o 2018! Well, no, they’re still relevant. But now you can add TikTok to the lineup of social media channels whose content could cross-pollinate to email.
With 500 million users worldwide, (188 million TikTok app downloads in 2019 alone), chances are good some of them are in your email database if you appeal to a Generation Z demographic
This is prime UGC marketing material. Use it in email to expand your reach, reward your fans and put your customers’ faces and voices (and bizarre antics) in your emails.
TikTok is the newest short-form social video platform, and one that’s stealing Gen Z users away from other video channels. Marketers are beginning to investigate for its potential to sell to that key audience, but, as with so many other social channels, most are still trying to figure out how to use the platform.
Mainstream brands like Macy’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill and even the Washington Post are on TikTok. But some of the most interesting uses of TikTok come from non-marquee brands, like NYX, which embeds a fan’s TikTok video in a business-as-usual email:
Before you dive into video …
Have a sound business reason to use it and the technology to provide a good experience for your readers. Video for video’s sake does you no favors. How does it fit into your broader strategy, and can it help you achieve your email or business goals?
Be sure you have the technology that can give your readers a good experience. Usability studies say you have only a short window – from less than 60 seconds to 90 seconds at most – before viewers will abandon a spotty stream.
A dynamic email platform content platform capable of seamlessly embedding video into emails will help you get over those rough spots and give your readers yet another avenue to love your emails.