You know the advantages of video. But you keep bumping up against how to deploy it in your email outreach.

For example, an HTML5 video tag has long been considered the best way to embed video into an email. And Apple Mail (Mac) and Outlook (PC) support video. But, most other email programs don’t. What’s the alternative? Well, there are several.

Show Motion with an Animated GIF

These easy-to-create animations compress GIF files to a succession of frames, looped to repeat endlessly.


Make the Viewer Push Play

Include a static image with a play button that links to video content hosted on your own website, YouTube, Vimeo or others. This has the added advantage of letting you track clicks. You know whether people are viewing your content. In an opt-in world, it makes sense to put your reader in the driver’s seat.

Add Some Razzle Dazzle

Animate your play button to capture more attention and prompt that coveted “play” action. Motion catches the eye – and often moves the needle.

Follow Video Best Practices

If you determine that your subscriber base is heavily Mail and/or Outlook, you can go the HTML5 video tag route. But you still want to optimize how you use it.

Think short and small. If possible, keep your streaming video under one-minute length and file sizes small enough to avoid buffering in order to start playing.

Caption video and mute sound. Subtitles aren’t just for the hearing impaired. Think about it. When you’re scrolling through content, you’re usually surrounded by people. More often than not, you want the sound off. Multiple publishers report statistics that as many as 85 percent of people view video with the sound off.

Whatever route you chose for adding movement to your emails, be sure to test before you issue. Send it to yourself first, then to a small, trusted group. There’s no limit to the number of tests you can issue. You know the adage: Fail privately. Succeed publically. Good words to remember. Now, go forth and email that new video to your tribe.