There has been a lot of talk recently about the ability to embed videos that actually play in your email client. This is something many marketers have been waiting for over the last several years.
Unfortunately, there are a significant number of downsides to this new development that might dissuade you from implementing it into your email marketing efforts today.
Many email clients (and several of those at the top of the "most used" list) do not support videos in emails. This means that approximately 50% (if not more) of your recipients will not actually view the video in the email and will instead see a fallback image.
Email Clients that Support Video Plays
Outlook.com (except on IE8 and Safari5)
Email Clients that Don't
Email deliverability is one of the most important and most difficult things to manage well in your email marketing strategy. The last thing you want is something to prevent your email from getting to the inbox.
Videos embedded into emails (using HTML5) are often detected as spam and blocked by your recipients' email servers. This means that of the few clients that can read your email, even less will get to see the email in the first place.
As Wistia stated, "Simply put, a thumbnail image with a link to our site will be more effective for our marketing efforts in almost every instance." Even if you have overcome the first two barriers and the email is delivered and played, you are still faced with issues that can hurt your overall marketing efforts.
Once you view the video in your email, what happens? You likely delete or archive the email and move on. With a video on your landing page, that content now becomes both a permanent resource and a chance for an interaction. Potential customers can comment, engage, link back, and share this information. Even better, those link-backs are coming to your domain and improving your overall SEO.
Also, you are now requiring two clicks to get to your intended destination. The recipient has to click on the video in the email to play it, then click on the link to your landing page to purchase your products and services.
The research show that, although this new technology is exciting and has promise for the future, to implement it now might not be the best choice for your business. It is advisable to stick to an image/link or maybe even a GIF to display your video content.
To Replicate the look of a video with an image:
Take a screenshot of your video, save this to your computer, and insert the image in your email.
Make the image a link, and direct them to the URL where your video is hosted.
You can also include a button below the image as an additional call-to-action.