Hot Ecommerce Trend: Embedded Video in Email

I’m often asked what I think the hottest trend in ecommerce is and I believe it’s video content. So I’m excited to see more new technology emerge that can embed video right into retail email, and retailers experimenting with it. Anna Yeaman reports one retailer boasting a 20-27% click through rate without linking to video, and 51-65% with links to video. And Forrester Research reports video in email can increase click through by 2-3X.

As Mark Brownlow explains in his state-of-play update on video in retail email, early use of video in email was really linking an image of a video to a video hosted on the Web.

Some retailers like Overstock, REI and Sears got clever and converted video to animated gifs. (Hat tip to Chad White of the RetailEmailBlog for these examples). REI uses Liveclicker, but Anna Yeaman has a DIY tutorial on how to convert video to animated gif.

What’s so tough about embedding actual video in email?

Deliverability is the issue. Large video attachments are often a red flag for spam filters, and ISPs (Internet service providers) block “complex data” including Javascript for security reasons.

ISPs have banned Javascript Sending video in an e-mail has been a challenge for deliverability, since large video attachments often alert spam filters. The way that Goodmail gets around this issue is that their e-mail class, called CertifiedEmail, is a paid service that does not go through typical e-mail filters.

How to beat the filters

Last month, email certification company Goodmail launched its video certification project, CertifiedEmail. CertifiedEmail includes a trust stamp which is like a VIP pass through spam filters. Goodmail customers pay a fee to send email with CertifiedEmail, and embedded video will play at Goodmail’s partner ISPs which for now includes AOL, with more ISPs to follow.

The CertifiedEmail service locks down the bit of code that calls the video server, allowing actual video code to live in the email rather than just a placeholder. Target is one of the first companies to sign on with the service.

Google recently announced it would support Youtube links in email for Gmail accounts. It’s not an embed, rather Gmail recognizes Youtube code and displays the video in the email — provided that the Gmail user has enabled the feature through Google Labs. It’s unlikely the average Gmail user is going to turn this on — so don’t get too excited. But it’s possible this will become default in the future.

For now, the animated gif trick seems the most reliable method. CertifiedEmail is promising but needs a few more ISPs on board.

Stay on top of retail email trends

3 great retail email blogs are RetailEmailBlog, StyleCampaign and Email-Marketing-Reports. 2 hot retail video blogs are VCC and Videoretail. I follow these folks to stay in the loop. And do read the entirety of Mark Brownlow’s post Video Email: Current Practices.

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16 Responses to “Hot Ecommerce Trend: Embedded Video in Email”

  1. jlbraaten says:

    Very useful info here. I especially like how you talked about the complexities in adding video as well as what companies are doing about it (animated .gifs). Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  2. Linda,

    This is an interesting recap of email web video marketing trends. One product that ecommerce retailers might want to consider is Flimp ( Clients who use Flimp are able to create and distribute eVideo via email and/or through website integration.

    The FLIMP Platform enables marketers to create landing pages that can support audiovisual content, distribute these pages (called flimps) either via email or through website integration, and generate real-time performance metrics.

    A flimp sent out via email incorporates a snapshot/link interface designed for optimal email efficacy. Since a flimp enables marketers to include logos, branding, direct calls to action, and text, the video truly serves as an “audiovisual brochure” designed for direct marketing and direct communications purposes.

  3. Wes says:

    Very interesting. I was wondering when it would be possible to do that.

  4. This is really the future of email marketing. On my blog I just put up a test email video. This is the first one I ever made and I am a computer dummy and I did it so any one else will be able to do it!

    If you want to take a look:

    I think this is a great system.


  5. PetsRight says:

    Bill Height,
    Thanks for putting me on to eyejot.

  6. Long ASCII-texts in newsletters do not work anymore, recipients become successively tired of flashy graphics, video really seems the way to go. However, I doubt whether this sort of newsletters – given the certification process – can enter mainstream in the near future.

  7. Eyejot looks cool, never heard of it before. It reminds me of video messaging capability in Facebook.

  8. I def. agree that an embedded video will drastically increase click through but the technology is just starting to allow us to use right their our email marketing distributors.

  9. rob says:

    As long as everyone is on gmail this will work fine. rob.

  10. jerrbone says:

    This works from a B2C perspective, but from a B2B standpoint embedding video is a major challenge. Outlook 2007 which represents 98% of all business email clients will block animated gifs and any form fields.

  11. Rob Abdul says:

    I agree that if a video no doubt will improve CTR.

    However the video embedded in an email will be most definitely a security risk.

    Spam email may use embedded videos to download additional plug-ins thereby downloading malicious content.

    The only way round is to provide a link to a video on the web and substitute a video in the email as a still image.

  12. yaa i agree with you Linda Bustos i am fan of your article and read very clearlly your post i think video email marketing is a new concept hot trends for email marketing campaign nice article thanks!!!

  13. Linda, This really nice concept to boost email marketing.
    What I think the hottest trend in ecommerce is and I believe it’s video content. So I’m excited to see more new technology emerge that can embed video right into retail email.

  14. Linda, This really nice concept to boost email marketing.
    What I think the hottest trend in e-commerce is and I believe it’s video content. So I’m excited to see more new technology emerge that can embed video right into retail email.

  15. Video Guy says:

    This article was very informative. Thank you Linda. Embedding videos into email will start to take form over the next few years. In the meantime, there are many alternatives that embed a hyperlink to the video in the email body. This approach increases delivery into the inbox. An example of a company doing this is CoVideo Systems.

  16. I have just finished a new video tutorial on SEO and hadn’t considered email as an option for exposing my preview clip. Thanks for your post. It opens up another great possible marketing avenue with really great click through rates.

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