Nowadays, video is an undeniably popular channel for marketing purposes.
In fact, by 2021, 86% of businesses are using video as a marketing tactic.
If you’re an email marketer, I bet you’ve thought about how to improve your subscription and click-through rates with video. In theory, this is a good idea because around two-thirds of consumers prefer video to text when they are looking for information about new products or services.
In reality, however, it can be difficult. Large email clients like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook don’t support embedded video, so your subscribers either won’t be able to see your video in the email, or worse – they won’t see your email at all because it’s ‘ending up in’ their spam folders.
Fortunately, there is a creative workaround that you can use to embed part of your video in your email and encourage subscribers to click through to watch the rest. Here, let’s examine how you can do just that.
Embed YouTube (or any other) video in email
There are two options to consider when embedding a video in your email: you can either embed a GIF of your video with a “Click here to view the full video” CTA, or you can embed a still image of yours Embed videos and when subscribers hit the play button, they will be redirected to your video’s URL.
Let’s explore the GIF option first.
How to embed videos in emails
- Find the url of the video you want to include, or download your video and save it on your computer.
- Go to Imgflip.com, a tool that can be used to make GIFs from videos.
- Choose a start and end point for your GIF.
- Download your GIF.
- Drag and drop your GIF into your email and add a video CTA link to the full video.
You can use the instructions below for any video from a video hosting platform of your choice including YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, DailyMotion, etc. In the examples below we used a Facebook URL, but a YouTube URL would work just as well.
1. Find the url of the video you want to include, or download your video and save it on your computer.
To make a GIF of a video that I wanted to include in my email, I first went to the HubSpot Facebook page and copied the URL of a video recently uploaded by the team onto the website – “Like a Senior SEO Strategist The World sees “.
2. Go to Imgflip.com, a tool that can be used to make GIFs from videos.
You can upload a URL directly to Imgflip or upload a video saved on your computer. For our purposes, I copied and pasted the URL from the HubSpot Facebook page. Alternatively, you can copy and paste a YouTube URL or a website URL.
3. Choose a start and end point for your GIF.
Once your video has finished downloading, you will see this pop-up. There are two triangles that can help you choose where to start and stop your GIF – when you move the green, choose a starting point for your GIF, and when you move the red, choose an end point.
(It’s important to note that for non-pro accounts on Imgflip, you can’t create a GIF that is longer than 20 seconds.)
After you’ve selected a clip to use for your GIF, click Generate GIF.
4. Download your GIF.
Once your GIF has been generated, you will have the option to copy and paste the image link or image url. Instead, click Download .gif.
5. Drag and drop your GIF into your email and add a video CTA that links to the full video.
Now comes the fun part! Just compose your email to send to your subscribers and drag your GIF from your desktop into the email itself.
Under the GIF, create a video CTA like “Click here to view the full video” with a URL to your video (the URL will likely go to your own website, YouTube, Facebook, or other social platform).
You can spice up your email subject line with “contain video” to further increase click-through rates.
Of course, when embedding a GIF, you should use email marketing best practices and make sure that the video you’re trying to embed is really compelling, engaging content for your email subscribers.
This is a unique opportunity to connect with your prospects and customers. So use them wisely – don’t just send a video advertisement for your product or service.
Next, let’s see how to insert a still image of your video with a “Play” button.
Here’s how to create a still image of your video with a play button
1. For this example I am using the same video as before. However, instead of copying the URL, I just screenshotted a paused section of the video.
2. When I paused the Facebook video, it automatically contained a “Play” button. However, if you take a screenshot of a video while it’s playing, you may not have a button to play. To add one to a still image, go to the website Add a play button to the image, upload your picture, choose a play button design, and click “create play button image”.
Then click on “Download Image”.
3. Next, just click “Insert Photo” in your email to insert the image into the “Play” button. Then highlight the picture and choose “Insert Link”. Copy and paste the link to the full video (in this case I pasted the Facebook url, but you can also paste a url to a website with your video or YouTube).
4. And that’s it! Now when a subscriber clicks your picture, they will be taken to the full video. Make sure the video starts playing automatically so the subscriber doesn’t have to click Play again.
Here’s how to embed a video in a HubSpot email
1. If you are a HubSpot Email Tool user, a video module will appear on the left side of your screen when you compose an email.
Just drag and drop the module into the section of the email where you want to insert a video.
2. Next, you have the option to embed a video with a URL or upload a video to your COS. For our purposes, let’s copy and paste a YouTube URL into the text box.
3. Finally, edit the video to your liking. You can change the width and height of the video, and even create a custom thumbnail.
4. When you are finished, click the orange “Review and Submit” button in the upper right of the screen.
How to use HTML5 code to embed video in email
Finally, some email clients support embedded video. If you think this is the right strategy for your subscribers, you can embed a video in email using HTML5.
Here is an example of HTML5 code that you could use in your email:
If the video isn’t supported, your subscriber can instead see a static image that links to another page.
If you are new to programming, you can ask a developer for help or take a look at the W3 School HTML5 video article.
Note, however, that we do not recommend this strategy as you risk either ending up in your subscribers ‘spam folders or using code that many of your subscribers’ email clients do not support. Ultimately, it could mean more trouble than it’s worth for many of your subscribers.
To ensure that your video is seen by all of your subscribers, I recommend using one of the strategies listed above instead.
If you’re looking for other ways to increase email click rates and conversions, take a look at HubSpot’s free email marketing tool.