How to embed a video in an email for your marketing campaign

Annie McGreevy, March 1st 2022
Video being taken on mobile phone with light rays in the background

There isn’t a marketer around who would debate that video is taking over the internet. This year, in 2022, 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be for video content.

As an ecommerce marketer, you know that email is the foundation of a successful ecommerce shop – so why hasn’t everyone made the leap to incorporate video into ecommerce email marketing? For many, jumping into video can seem like a huge black box. The number of unknowns can feel overwhelming – like where to begin, the cost, and of course, time.

But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Marketing automation platforms like Klaviyo, make it quite easy to embed video assets into an email and below I’ll walk you through some easy ways to get started creating (and promoting) video in your email marketing.

Use an email marketing company to scale the email channels and the ability to embed videos

The biggest hurdle to using video in email is that ‘it’s complicated’

From a compatibility standpoint, video and email are in a relationship that could be best described as “it’s complicated.” Some of the biggest email clients like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo, still can’t play embedded videos in email.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause to promote a video within your email. There are a few easy workarounds for this issue.

Use a static still shot (that looks like a video thumbnail)

You’ve likely seen this used before in an email, an image that has been doctored to resemble a video thumbnail. This method is straightforward and effective because without even reading the text of the email the recipient gets the message – “click me!” The science behind crafting a compelling video thumbnail isn’t terribly complicated, an interesting image or smiling face generally performs better than text.

Beardbrand email featuring a video
Beardbrand email featuring a video

Try an animated GIF (looping single shot or multiple shots) instead of a video

Using an animated GIF with a looping single shot or multiple shots can give the appearance of a functional video in an email and help push the reader by being an eye catching call to action.

Klayla free email promo with an animated gif
Kayla Free animated gif email

Add a link in the text that opens a video

It sounds counterintuitive, but if you’re linking to a 3rd party video or using a video as a reference, a link in the body text can be a great way to help those who might not be in the loop or to provide a bit of a tease.

Unsure which option is right for you? Try an A/B test in your email platform to determine which options your audience responds to best and understand what the various types of A/B tests exist that you can conduct on any platform.

Set-up an A/B test for a video in your email marketing

Make email video embed simple: start small

A lot of people feel like videos should only be used to “go big” or “go viral”.

If you start with a smaller budget video (or even no budget), and choose an area to focus on, you’ll have more room to experiment. Ultimately, you’ll be able to try new things and see how your audience is responding to video content without blowing through your entire marketing budget.

Start by picking a goal related to any number of KPIs for a specific email segment, like these:

  • Raise click-through-rates
  • Improve conversions on abandoned carts
  • Longer time on site

All of these are great goals to have in mind when deciding how to tackle video because they can be measured with data you already track, and go beyond the age-old crutch of measuring success by view count alone.

Create your email segments with some key strategies

4 ways to get started with email videos

Once you’ve decided what KPI you’ll measure comes the fun part, what to create!

A/B test product demonstrations or sneak peek with videos

Prep obsessed email focused on new product video
Prep Obsessed email focused on new product video

This sneak peek video from women’s retailer, Prep Obsessed, gives shoppers an idea of what they might expect when they purchase a mystery mailer. The video is a great way to convince someone who is on the fence to purchase, and compelling because it reveals the mystery behind the mailer for two other purchasers. This is a great example of a video that didn’t require a big budget or fancy editing to get the job done.

A/B test product launch/announcements

Dollar Shave Club is known for their marketing videos. In fact, they’re one of the prime examples of early adopters to video marketing. Since their original video, they’ve been able to craft other entertaining videos to promote new products, like body wash, that they know their audience will love.

Dollar Shave Club email featuring a video on how to use their product
Dollar Shave Club email with a video

They really swung for the fences with “massive hero” video. If you’re just getting started you (and with a smaller budget) a simple talking head video might also work well for a product announcement video.

A/B test an interview with employees, customers, or contest winner

Interviews are a great way to give context or add a human touch to your product or service. This video from Minted shows the reaction of a contest winner for their annual holiday photo card challenge.

Email from MInted with a discount offer and video
Minted email

How-to videos are popular test how they perform

Have a complicated product? Send purchasers a quick how-to video to cut down on any confusions, returns, and support requests.

Keysmart email featuring a how to video
Keysmart email

Don’t take our word for it, here’s the Klaviyo data

While Klaviyo isn’t an ecommerce business, we have been experimenting with video content on our site and in our email newsletter. The results have been pretty compelling.

We found that the average time on page was a whopping five minutes and thirty-three seconds, for a minute and forty-five-second video. For the month of January, video content drove the most traffic to our blog compared with numerous other types of written content. With results like that, it’s definitely something we’ll continue to explore.

Tools we recommend

Image Editing: Photoshop, Pixlr

Graphic Design: Canva,

For making GIFs: GifMaker.me, EZgif.com, Imgflip.com

Video hosting: Vimeo, YouTube, Wistia

Are you interested in using video for your email marketing? Try our platform free.