• http://www.iamacyborg.com iamacyborg

    It’s a nice idea, but there are still far too many problems with video email, the biggest of which being that the video controls just don’t work properly across numerous common webmail clients and browsers.

    We shouldn’t be throwing away the user experience just to get the latest shiny bit of tech into our emails.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dee-Mat-Rix/100003222249232 Dee Mat Rix

    Problems just need solutions and strategies. To just avoid it is a lazy approach. So what if certain email clients do not support it. Just provide a solution or option for those l;ike we already do when someone cannot see the email and need to view the web version. Sometimes we have to provide great solutions and let the other make the change ie. Outlook 2007.

  • http://www.iamacyborg.com iamacyborg

    Dee, the problem is that the correct video is shown, the controls are shown, but they don’t work. Clicking on the video does nothing, and right clicking isn’t intuitive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dee-Mat-Rix/100003222249232 Dee Mat Rix

    I agree on the right clicking not being intuitive. But clicking the fallback image is what I normally do to begin with and it works based on tracked clicks for my email campaigns. Obviously text with a CTA receive more click thrus. I admit it is going to be a little more work, but I guarantee you will have a few more people on your list keen to the technology and will become loyal openers if they aren’t already.

  • http://www.iamacyborg.com iamacyborg

    You don’t see the fallback image if the video loads properly, you just get a video with controls that don’t work.

    That’s why I think it’s still not a valid tech to use unless you’re super specific with your segments.

    It could interest a few techy people, it could also massively frustrate some of your audience.

  • http://twitter.com/lynnbausmktg Lynn Baus

    So glad to see this thoughtful debate. Like all new approaches, video in email does require additional work in order to ensure that users have a great experience. But we no longer have to avoid it all together. There are great services that help marketers work around the issues you mention iamacybord. LiveClicker VideoEmailExpress and Movable Ink’s new Video-in-Email app are just two. And there are fallback protocols that can be handcrafted without the need for additional technology though they take a little more research and elbow grease. It might be helpful write up some of the details around execution, and tips for working around some of the rendering “gotchas” in subsequent issues so that folks can better understand those specific issues and work-arounds. But the main take away should be that we no longer have to flee in fear from the mention of video delivery to the inbox, we can now start refining and debugging the approach — which is very exciting.

  • tom

    I tried to get the samples you linked to … got all the emails … not a
    single video would open/play. I’m on an iMac viewing email via
    YahooMail. So much for videos in email, huh?!

  • dave collado

    I agree. Also, what about the recipients data plan on mobile devices, wouldn’t this be an issue?

  • justinfoster

    Hi Tom,

    Justin from Liveclicker’s Video Email Express here. Not necessarily so. Video in email is still not supported by many mail clients. The key is to detect the mail client and serve something that DOES work for that client in case video is not supported. In your case, using Yahoo on an iMac, you would have either seen a static image or an animation depending on whether you use a Webkit browser or not. You can see the complete list of mail clients here: http://www.videoemail.com/supported-mail-clients/ Hope this helps,

    Justin

  • justinfoster

    Hi guys,

    If you’re looking at the examples Lynn posted, a quick note about right clicking. Right clicking to play is only required by Hotmail/Outlook.com when viewed in Chrome/Firefox. In the cases of the examples, a “right click to play” image should have been overlaid across the video player so that the viewer doesn’t have to guess. It’s possible if you’re viewing some of the older examples that didn’t happen. Let us know if you’re experiencing any trouble with them.

    Justin

  • justinfoster

    Lynn – totally agree. Great article, too. Good mythbusting ;-)

    Justin

  • justinfoster

    This is not true. The only webmail client that requires a fallback “right click to play” image is Hotmail. The rest will display static image or animation, which is just fine, since senders use those techniques already. The only place where we still see compatibility issues are on a handful of Android phones, due to a bug in Android. But, in all, even with those accounted for you’re still looking at ~99% of all email recipients able to view video in email (or a fallback) with no issues. I don’t think it’s really correct to say there are too many “problems” just because video’s not supported by all mail clients. There are fallbacks available and the reality is that we’ll never live in a world where email supports 100% of anything, anywhere. For the senders that wish to push the envelope and deliver video in email, it’s a viable option. I don’t believe video in email should always be used, but I do think it has its place in the email marketer’s toolbox.

    Justin

  • justinfoster

    Hi Dave,

    Good question re: data plans. The answer is “not really.” All devices we have tested request only a portion of the video file on the email open. The file does not begin playback until the play is initiated. Therefore you’re not going to consume a huge amount of data simply by opening your email, or have an email with video “embedded.” I use quotes for “embedded” because the only proper way to deliver video in email is to reference the video file in the HTML. Playback still occurs within the message using this technique.

    However, if you chose to play the video, then that would use your bandwidth and data just as if you were playing a video on the web, and therefore it would use your data then. Hope this helps,

    Justin

  • Whitney Hoffman

    Isn’t the real question whether or not people want to see the content in their emails? I have enough issues keeping up with the email deluge than to add an additional burden of seeing your video in it, esp. when I screen most of my email on a mobile device. Plus, unless the video is really beyond awesome, I will view it as a waste of time and likely unsubscribe.

    I’d love to see samples of compelling video in email- I just have yet to see anything, with metrics attached, that’s been shown to be worth the problems associated, at least up until this point. Do you have testing metrics?

  • http://www.facebook.com/seanbreslinspage Sean Breslin

    Don’t give up Tom… The video email market is viable. Finding the right format and provider is key!