Email Marketing

Drive Email Engagement with Embedded Video

Embedded video in ecommerce email marketing messages engages shoppers, encouraging them to take action. So let this year be when your ecommerce business leaves static-only email imagery behind and inserts video.

Video creates an interactive experience that encourages shoppers to open an email and, say, return to an abandoned cart or respond to product offers.

Technically Possible

The ability to embed video in email messages has evolved greatly over the past few years. It is an often-overlooked opportunity. Many folks don’t even realize it is technically possible and easy.

Screenshot of a video example on ConvertKit.

Adding video to email messages does not have to be complicated. Source: ConvertKit.

All marketers can add videos directly into promotional email messages, creating a more interactive experience for recipients.

With most good email service providers, marketers paste video URLs from YouTube or Vimeo directly into the email editor.

When it arrives in a shopper’s email inbox, the embedded video will either play natively as an HTML5 element or programmatically convert into an animated gif image that looks good in context.

Boon for Ecommerce

According to a few sources, including video in marketing emails can increase clicks by as much as 300%. Each business should test what sort of results it can achieve. But for a moment, let’s entertain the idea of a 300% increase in clicks and consider an example.

Suppose an online store had 10,000 subscribers on its marketing email list, an open rate of 30%, and an average click rate of 20%. An embedded video in that scenario might take an email marketing campaign from 600 clicks (the static image version) to 1,800.

Let’s further assume an average order value of $75 and an on-page conversion rate of 3.5% from email marketing.

Without an embedded video, this example campaign would generate 21 sales (600 clicks times 3.5%) and $1,575 in revenue (21 x $75). If a video were employed and increased clicks by 300%, the same campaign would produce 63 sales and $4,775 in revenue.

Videos that Work

The potential for these results makes adding embedded video to ecommerce email marketing campaigns worth a test. Here are steps to get started.

  • Include “video” in the email subject line. Tests on numerous sites from different ESPs have shown that merely including the word “video” in an email subject line will improve opens and interactions. After all, consumers receive dozens, if not hundreds, of promotional emails each week. So tell them in the subject line your message is unique.
  • Have a specific call to action. The embedded video must be clear about what the recipient should do after watching. For merchant videos, this is often purchasing a product or returning to an abandoned cart. Regardless, make sure the CTA is explicit.
  • Keep the video short. Except for a few epic email newsletters on Substack and ConvertKit, email recipients are not looking for long-form content. So keep the embedded video short, perhaps 30 seconds, and remember that in some email clients — Microsoft Outlook on Windows is an example — videos are transformed automatically into silent but animated gifs. The gif must load as an image and cannot be buffered the way an HTML5 video can. Thus, a long video makes for a fat gif in terms of file size.
  • Include text. Don’t depend on audio to sell the product or close the deal. Turn audio off by default. Let the shopper turn it on if she wants. The video should include sufficient text and captions to make the CTA clear. This is especially important when the video appears as an animated gif.
  • Set to autoplay. While you should leave the sound up to the recipient, take command when it comes to the video itself playing. Aim for motion as soon as the email opens.

Start with Abandoned Carts

A good place to start using video and email together could be abandoned cart email automation.

Set up an A/B test. Here is an example.

  • Identify the five most-abandoned products.
  • Create a video for each product that addresses major concerns and encourages folks to complete the purchase.
  • Update your automated abandoned cart email to A/B test the video version versus the standard message. This includes building a separate automation for when one of these five products is present in the cart.
  • Run the test, optimizing based on what you learn.
  • Apply what you discover from each test to other ecommerce email marketing campaigns.

Videos for Marketing

Email marketing is among the top sales channels for an ecommerce site. Adding video to email can take performance to another level. Start by testing video in a few email automation campaigns.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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