Just like how Santa is always looking for new ways to deliver presents (because, let’s be honest, who still maintains an operational chimney when you have central heating), email marketers are always looking for new ways to improve their campaigns. Email is constantly evolving, and to keep track of and stay ahead of the trends, you have to test different strategies.This holiday season, after having exhausted the usual tricks over the past year (static images, personalization, different colors, displays…), why not try something fresh? Why not bring your holiday emails to life with GIFs and videos?
Until recently, animated media was frowned upon
Why haven’t email marketers used something as obvious as GIFs or embedded videos sooner? After all, animated GIFs have been trending since the second half of the 2000s, thanks to Tumblr and platforms like Buzzfeed. Two main reasons:
First, most ISPs and webmail clients considered this “different” kind of content a red flag . The rationale was along the same lines as image-only emails: ISP and webmail client spam filters are only able to “read” text content, meaning they can’t detect potentially fraudulent content in videos or GIFs. Today, there are a few tricks you can implement to put yourself in a good light and not look like a bad email marketer or, worse, spammer.
The second reason was technical limitations. Until recently, it was hard to make embedded videos look good. In some cases, they didn’t even display at all. Now, thanks to HTML5, this is no longer a problem. This code reads clearly to email clients, so not only will they understand you and your message, but they will also adapt the video to the best format for a display. Adding to this point, more and more email clients allow displays of animated content.
Why we recommend you use them now
Figures show that emails with videos drive a 280% higher ROI 280% than traditional emails. Eye catching, animated emails (GIFs) tend to generate 25% more clicks than their non-animated counterparts. However, despite these very attractive statistics, marketers don’t use animated content in their emails very often (¾ have never embedded videos, while about ½ of them have yet to use animated GIFs).
Here are three tips to keep in mind if you want to start building animated HTML emails today.
- Go HTML5: HTML5 is a game changer when it comes to video in emails. As mentioned earlier, with HTML5, email clients will be able to recognize you as a “white-list” email sender (assuming you’re following all best practices) and your videos will be responsive with most major browsers and screen formats. But it also allows you to display a static image in the case that a certain browser can’t display your video or GIF (kind of like the ALT text of video) There are several handy online tools you can use to convert your videos to HTML: Video Online Converter, Easy HTML5 Video, Freemake Video Converter. Many more exist. Choose the one that will meet your expectations.
- Don’t be too invasive: This one’s obvious, but you don’t want to rub your contacts the wrong way. So go easy with the GIFs: don’t overuse them! If your entire email is moving around, it will be hard for the recipient to find the call to action, much less read the content! We recommend using one or two relevant GIFs instead. And, please, if you embed a video, leave the autoplay option off. Let your users choose how and when they will play their content.
- One last tip for the road: We’ve established that videos and animated GIFs in emails are cool. But they are even cooler when they help drive a higher ROI or higher click-through-rates! So be sure your videos and GIFs have clear and clickable call-to-actions to a website where customers can learn more about your product.
Now that you have the keys to dominating the animated email game, make your emails come to life this holiday season!
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