Video & Email Marketing: Best Practices and Trends for 2021

Can we all agree that email marketing is not dead? Despite the predictions and the rumors that email marketing is on its way out, the stats tell a different story. The problem comes with trying to make your email marketing material stand out when your customers are receiving so many emails every day. If yours does not stand out, their attention will go elsewhere.

So how do you make your email marketing unique in 2021? With video content! Videos improve an email’s open rate, click-through rate, and conversion dramatically. It is the perfect addition to any marketing email, and there are a few best practices that we want to talk about that will help your marketing emails shine.

Why add videos to marketing emails?

Videos are eye-catching, and they are extremely easy and frictionless to engage with. People may not have time to read your copy, but they likely have time to watch a quick video. This boosts people’s interest and boosts your email marketing metrics, so there’s no reason not to go for it. Here are just some of the stats for video email marketing:

Videos can provide other benefits too, like breaking down complex topics and making them simpler for your viewer, and fostering a personal connection with your brand. There are so many options for creating engaging video content, from simple point-and-shoot content to slick videos with a full crew and several days of shooting.

The logistics of adding video to your email marketing

Video playback within emails is tricky because not all email providers support in-email playback, and some devices are funny about it as well, so when we talk about adding video content to your emails, we are talking about adding a thumbnail or a play button that link back to another site, like a video hosting platform or your website.

Linking to your website will also allow you to gather informative data, like how much of the video viewers get through, whether they shared the video, and if they are motivated to stay on your website, or leave after viewing. This will allow you to figure out what viewers are and are not responding to, and refine your content.

Where to add video

The short answer to this is that you can add videos to your emails wherever you like. If you are sending out newsletters, nurture emails, triggered emails, event invites, targeted emails, or any other kind of email you can think of, a video will add the same boost.

You can also add it anywhere within the body of the email that makes sense to you. Make sure that it is prominent, and that there is a clear place for the user to click and view the video. You can add it right at the top, further down your message, or even as a background header. Wherever the video is most relevant and will have the biggest impact will work just fine.

Video email marketing best practices

1.State the word “video” in your subject line

You will be missing out on the increased opening rate of your email if you do not state clearly in your subject line that your email includes a video. You can put it in brackets at the beginning or at the end of your subject line to ensure it’s clear to the viewer and doesn’t feel forced.

2.Caption your videos

One of the biggest video trends that is likely to continue in 2021 is the way people’s video viewing habits are changing. A majority of people now view videos with the sound off and rely on reading captions instead. This could be because they are in a busy office and don’t want to disturb, or because of the settings on their smartphones. Captioning your videos is a necessary step to respond to this trend. Using captions is also a great way to make your video content accessible to everybody, including those with hearing impairments.

3.Know your audience

If you are a B2B business, your video is more likely to be viewed on a large desktop screen, which means the quality of your video is very important. Conversely, if you are a B2C business, your customers are more likely to watch on a smartphone, where text and other fine details may be harder to view. Make sure you know your audience and create a video that is tailored to them.

4.A/B test to know what’s working

Video content for email marketing provides great results for most businesses, but every business is different. With A/B testing, you can find out exactly what works and what does not, from where your video is placed within your email, to the amount of text, and every other variable you could use. It is even a good idea to A/B test emails with and without video content, so you can get crystal clear about what your audience is responding to.

5.Animate your thumbnail

Not every email platform supports animated thumbnails, like gifs, but many do, so there’s no harm in adding them. The worst that will happen is that your animation will appear as a still. Adding an animated thumbnail can drive more interest and clicks because they are more enticing, and can provide more information about why someone should watch your video.

6.Be aware of your file size

If your file size is too large, it could be caught by your recipients’ spam filters. There is no specific file size to aim for because things change between each email platform, but Litmus has suggested that emails should not contain more than 2.7MB of images. If you do find that the images you want to use are too large, you can use free tools, such as to compress them.

7.Do not send a blank email

If you send an email with just a header and a video, it’s going to look like spam and people will be far less likely to open it. Instead, even a small amount of copy can go a long way. You can transcribe the content on the video so that people with visual impairments can easily access your content with an e-reader, and you can write a few words to introduce your video. Adding this kind of text will also save you if your video thumbnail isn’t supported by anyone’s email host.

8.Personalize your videos

Personalized elements in videos can amplify the benefits of sending video content in your email marketing. Adding in the name of the recipient, sending content specific to your recipient’s interests or needs, and otherwise targeting your email videos to feel personal can help form a connection between the recipient and your business, and can drive your important metrics up even further.

Creating email marketing campaigns in 2021 all comes down to making sure your emails are unique and cut through the crowd to catch the attention of any recipient. Video email marketing is one of the best ways to do this, and the stats on video email marketing speak for themselves. If you follow the best practices and test your strategies, you will find that 2021 will be a great year for your email marketing.


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