Consumers have spoken; they love video.
As brands both small and large race to jump on the video bandwagon, however, there is still one dimension of video marketing that hasn't received the attention it deserves: the intelligent use of video in email campaigns.
Email has always been a powerful venue for distributing key messages to target audiences. Video amplifies the impact of email by delivering messages in subscribers' preferred format. Rather than scrolling through paragraphs of text, recipients can simply click "play" and allow the technology to serve up engaging content around topics of interest.
Still not convinced that video is the next big thing in email marketing? Consider some of the data that is emerging around the use of video in email campaigns:
• The use of the word "video" in email subject lines increases open rates by 19 percent. - Syndacast
• When video is included in an email message, the click-through rate (CTR) increases by 200-300 percent. -- Forrester
• Forty-seven percent of businesses that use video incorporate it into their email campaigns - and 80 percent believe it's an effective tactic. -- Wyzowl
Video has become a ubiquitous part of the online experience. Brands that aren't currently using email to reach customers and prospects with their video content run the risk of falling out of step with the marketplace. Ready or not, video isn't a bonus feature anymore; it's a fundamental content category that needs to be woven into your brand's marketing strategy.
If your use of video is limited to a couple of rapidly decaying videos buried deep in your company's website, you're missing the full potential of this content format as a tool for engaging and informing your audience.
The combination of video and email represents a step forward in your marketing strategy. Like any other marketing tactic, however, incorporating video into email campaigns has to be thoughtful and intentional.
The effective use of video in email begins with asking the right questions. From the outset of the campaign, you need to know what you're trying to accomplish and how the use of video will help you accomplish it.
Before launching an email campaign that incorporates video, it's crucial that marketers ask themselves two very important questions first: Is this what the subscriber wants to see? Is there a simpler or more effective way to communicate what is in this video?
If the answer is 'no' to either question, you may want to reconsider adding a video component to your email campaigns.
Once you've asked the right questions and have determined that a video campaign will resonate with your audience, you can begin to develop a strategy for deploying videos in email campaigns by following these four steps:
1. Get to know your audience: Like all marketing strategies, understanding your audience is the first step in delivering relevant, engaging content. Knowledge of your audience's typical age, gender and platform preference can determine how your subscribers will engage with video content in the first place.
2. Determine the ideal length of your video: When developing video content, marketers must determine how much time they need to effectively get their message across. The ideal length can vary based on your audience, but since the average time consumers tend to spend looking at an opened email is around 15 seconds, marketers would be wise to keep videos short in general.
3. Define your success metrics: Many subscribers may press play on your video but fail to finish or pay attention, so the number of views is not the only way you should be measuring the success of video email campaigns. Consider other metrics like click-through rates, conversions or responses to calls-to-action (CTAs) such as redeeming a reward, using a discount code, etc.
4. Test: If your company is new to incorporating video in email, testing different strategies is crucial in determining what sparks the most engagement. Test different components of your new email campaigns like subject line (for instance, including the word 'video'), length of video, position of video and CTAs.
Without a strategy and an intention for your campaign, emails incorporating video will not yield notably better results. Brands can multiply those outcomes by mapping a campaign that truly resonates with key audiences.
Integrating video in email is a relatively new phenomenon. However, best practices are already starting to emerge around the creation, delivery and measurement of email marketing campaigns that feature a video component.
Make a commitment to thoroughly research video best practices and integrate the latest learnings into your email campaigns. In-house research found that iOS users are the only subscribers who are generally able to play videos in the actual body of an email. As a result, many brands are finding that it's best to include animated GIFs, static images with visual play buttons, or linked thumbnails (rather than embedded videos) to achieve high CTRs and an optimal user experience.
Finally, it's important to remember that a killer email campaign strategy can't compensate for weak video content. If you intend to use video in your email campaigns, the quality of your videos will undoubtedly influence your ability to wow audiences and increase the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts.
Ivy Shtereva is the director of marketing at Yesmail where she brings a background in software marketing and experience on the agency side working with major CPG and service industry clients.