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Video Email Marketing: The Quick Guide to Boosting Engagement

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you want to improve email open rates, engagement, and CTR of your emails, you might want to consider adding videos to your email marketing suite. Reports show that video improves business indicators, increases sales, and ROI.

On the other hand, if you are looking for new ways to promote your videos, email is just the right fit. With over 4 billion users worldwide, email is still one of the best performing marketing channels.

Combined, video and email can do miracles for your marketing strategy. Here’s how to get started.

Why video in emails works

Think of all the platforms you are using to share your message as a business. Do you communicate with your audience on social media platforms?

Some of them, like Facebook, have been around for over a decade. Others gradually gained more active users over the years.

emai video stats

Email, however, has been around since 1971. Since then, an average office worker started receiving 121 emails per day. In this sea of noise, your audience needs more motivation to open your letters and engage with your content.

This is where video comes in.

Embedding video in email can help you increase open rates

Open rate is among the most important email marketing metrics. If people don’t open your emails, they will never be able to learn what you have to offer.

In this regard, video is your lifesaver. Some reports have shown that using the word “video” in the subject line increases open rates by 19%.
Who wouldn’t want that?

Video in email increases click-through rates

It’s not enough for the email just to get opened. It should drive meaningful results for your business. After reading your email, you want your audience to take action, like completing a purchase, sharing your content, reading more.

According to the recent report, a video embedded in the email helped to get 9% more conversions to a webinar registration than a static image.


In addition to that, one report claims that adding a video to email can even reduce the unsubscribe rate.

More opens and fewer people leaving your email list – what else could a marketer wish for?

Email and video work great for personalization

Email marketing offers wide opportunities for personalization. You can change the name of the recipient, segment the email by people’s locations, or even time of the day.

In this regard, video opens up new doors for email personalization. You can test how two versions of the same video work for your audience. Or you can use the recipient’s behavior after opening the email to segment your list.

You can even go as far as to record a personal welcome message for new people joining your product, as did the guys from Wistia.

fernando silvia

The bottom line: video works great for every stage of the customer journey.

5 easy ways to embed videos in email

Now that we have discussed how email and video go together like peanut butter and jelly (or biscuits and gravy), let’s take a look at all the different ways how you can embed a video in email.

Method 1, geeky: use HTML5

With all the benefits of adding a video to your email marketing mentioned above, you might feel tempted to embed a video file directly within the body of your email. You want your viewers to watch it right without leaving their inbox, right?

In reality, this method is a bit tricky. Only very few email clients allow watching a video right from within the email. Anything else, including the giants like Outlook and Gmail, will show a fallback image instead of the video. Which means: bad user experience.

As a workaround, you might add a YouTube video to your email. This way, those recipients who use Gmail as their email client will be able to watch the video right in their inbox:

email marketing video

Method 2: add a GIF with a video scene

GIFs are marketers’ best friends. They add an emotional touch to online communication and show your audience that you speak their language.
One of the best ways to showcase your video without getting it to play in the email is a video scene turned into a GIF.

Technically, a GIF is an image. In reality, it is perceived by our brain as a short video clip. A GIF might only last a couple of seconds but it conveys the dynamics of a video really well.

In fact, from several newsletters that I sent to our blog subscribers, I noticed that GIFs work best CTR-wise.

For instance, in the email example below, the first image with the Play button is a GIF. The second one with a bird is a still image. Notice the difference in clicks:

gif in video

Pro tip: to increase CTR for the GIFs that you embed into an email, make sure to add a Play button on the image. This will dramatically help you increase your click-through rate. You also might want to make sure the GIF is not too “heavy”, as it might go into the Spam folder or not get delivered at all.

Method 3: add a static image with a Play button

When it comes to notifying your subscribers that there is a new video you want to share, one of the effective (and easy) ways to do it is to share a static image with a Play button on top of it. This way, you are clearly indicating what the readers might expect when clicking the image.

You also ignite their interest to learn more. The won’t want to miss that video!

play button

To use this method, simply take a screenshot of one of the scenes and add a Play button on top. You can use tools like Canva to do it.

An alternative option would be adding a static image to your business email signature. According to a Newoldstamp report, up to 80% of professionals who use email sign-offs in their day-to-day communications include marketing links in their email footers. These can be social media icons, a link to a website or a clickable video preview image like on the example below.

You can incorporate a clickable image to your sign-off using professional online generators like MySignature or Newoldstamp. Email signature marketing software allows you to track the performance of such initiatives by analyzing the CTR of your campaigns.

Method 4: use a static image with a progress bar

When it comes to embedding video in email, the bottom line is simple: you want your readers to understand that there is a video behind a link.

In this regard, the fastest method to add a video to your email is to grab a screenshot with a progress play bar. Like this:

video for you

Method 5: use a static thumbnail image

You are probably creating a thumbnail for your video anyway, so why not reuse it in an email?

If you are following best practices for creating catchy video thumbnails, they are already attention-worthy and clickable. If you want to create eye-catching thumbnails with better visuals for your videos without spending a lot of time and money, consider using a free youtube thumbnail maker.

In fact, this is how YouTube does it: just a thumbnail and an indication of the video length.

Extra tips for adding a video to your emails

  1. Make sure your video aligns with the goal of your email campaign. What is the purpose of sending a video to your subscribers? Why is video better than an image or a text-only email for your goals? Answer these questions before hitting the “Send” button
  2. Test various subject lines. How will your users know there is a video inside the email? Try these subject lines:
    – [VIDEO] 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Digital Marketing
    – [New video] Now you can achieve…
    – Secret marketing strategies revealed (video inside)
  3. Add a compelling copy. Video is powerful, so make sure you create a video that is convincing. Accompany it with a stunning, catchy copy to make it a stellar email.


Adding video to your email marketing strategy is a win-win. Email gives your videos a better reach, and videos make your emails more clickable, increasing CTRs and conversions.

Do you include videos in your email marketing? Share in the comments below!

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Olga Bedrina
Article by
Olga Bedrina

Olga Bedrina is the Director of Content Marketing at, free online video maker. She is excited about video marketing, social media, and new technologies.

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