Including video in email is a great way to drive email engagement and video play rates, but it takes a little planning.

This guide will provide a clear and easy instructions for sending emails with a video and/or animated GIFs. We’ll also share the elements of great video emails and present four methods for adding video to your emails.

Watch the video below and jump ahead to this section  for detailed instructions.

 

The must-haves for sending a video through email

Want to learn how to send a video through email? These are the two things you have to keep in mind:

An engaging visual preview

People are less likely to watch your video if you represent it as a long URL link in an email.

Imagery is the best way to alert readers to a video in your email. Video is a visual medium, so it only makes sense to promote it with images. Not to mention, humans are visually oriented, so imagery is more likely to catch attention in a crowded inbox. Think about “clickability” when deciding how to present a video in an email. 

how to send video through email

Adrenaline Travel newsletter created with MailerLite

In the example above, it looks like the video is embedded into the email, but it’s really an animated GIF image with a play button over it. More on this below.

Experience across email platforms

Email apps—or clients—are not created equally. They all have different ways of displaying emails and attachments. For best results, you have to try to give every recipient, no matter what client they use, the same email experience.

Here is a comprehensive resource on how email apps display content differently, and which types of video content to avoid.

By thinking about “clickability” and compatibility, you can evaluate the best way for your business to send video emails.

4 ways to email a video

Choosing your method for emailing a video depends on what’s most important to you. Do you care more about a seamless video-watching experience in the email, or are you more interested in getting clicks to your site? How much time can you spend on adding videos to email? Do you know how to use HTML?

how to send video through email

A video email example from Wistia

Here is a breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of four ways to add a video to an email:

Link + image 

Our checklist for videos in email:

  • An engaging visual preview ✅
  • Support across email clients ✅

Our recommended way to email a video is through linking an image or animated GIF. It offers email recipients an engaging preview of the video while still enabling them to click, watch your video, and continue exploring your site.

This method works really well for recipients who are reading the video email on their iPhone or other mobile devices.

It works by including an image—either a thumbnail image or an animated GIF—of your video in an email that links to a landing page. Be sure the video described in your email is at or near the top of the page you’ve linked.

Here’s how you can share a video through email with this method:

  • Upload your video to a video hosting site like YouTube.
  • Add the image of your video thumbnail to an email.
    • Take a screenshot of your video thumbnail or by creating an animated GIF of your video and adding a play button to it.
    • Vyond Premium, Professional, and Enterprise account holders can create custom animated GIFs or turn portions of a video into an animated GIF for this purpose. Giphy is also a free and easy mp4 to GIF-creation tool.
    • Here’s how to download an animated GIF in Vyond Studio:

how to send video through email

  • Insert the image or animated GIF into the email body.
  • Link the image to your video.
    • Here are instructions for linking an image in Gmail and Outlook.

A GIF is effective, because the animation will capture your reader’s attention. Be careful, though: some clients like Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013 won’t play the GIF.

Embed with HTML5

Our checklist for videos in email:
An engaging visual preview ✅
Support across email clients ❌

Another way to email a video is to embed it in the message so recipients can play it right from the email. You can embed a video in an email by coding it into the message through HTML5.

how to send video through email

To embed a video in an email, you or a developer at your company will need to adjust the HTML5 code of your email using these instructions.

When a video is properly embedded in an email, it’s an ideal user experience—the recipient can watch the video right from their email without needing to go anywhere.

There are, however, a few downsides to this method. Not all email platforms support HTML5 videos:

how to send video through email

Emails with embedded videos are sometimes marked as spam, which makes the message unreadable for recipients.

It’s also more difficult to drive email clicks with this method because a video that you can play in the email can’t be linked to another website. The viewer might watch your video, but might not visit your website.

Attach an mp4 file

Our checklist for videos in email:

  • An engaging visual preview ❌
  • Support across email clients ❌

Instead of including a video preview or the video itself in the email, you can opt to send the video as an attached file in your email.

The process for attaching a video to an email is easy—simply click the “attach” button (typically, the icon is a paper clip), and select the video file that you want to attach.

how to send video through email

This method is nice and simple, but it doesn’t offer an engaging visual preview or drive clicks.

A single attachment doesn’t easily capture the attention of email recipients—they could easily miss the video unless they scroll to the bottom of the message and see the attachment. If you’re using this method, be try to include visuals of the video in the body of the email as well to engage recipients.

Email marketing platforms do not support attachments, so emails with mp4 attachments must be sent from individual accounts. This method is not a good way to send large video files, as the typical limit for a video file across email clients is 20 to 25MB. To send large video files to a small number of people, try a file sharing platform like WeTransfer.

One work-around is to send a large video file as an email attachment through your client’s Drive. Gmail, for example, offers the Google Drive suite; Outlook has OneDrive.

example of how to send video through email

While emailing a video as a drive-file attachment will allow you to send larger videos, this tactic will work only for recipients who use that drive service—so the method is still limited in support across clients.

Attaching a video file doesn’t really encourage recipients to continue exploring your brand, either. Instead of visiting your website, they are opening an attachment.

With these limitations, the attachment method may work for communication with a small number of people who have the correct drive system for opening up your video file. But attaching a video to an email is not recommended for reaching out to a large number of customers, considering the file-size restrictions across clients.

Include a YouTube link

Our checklist for videos in email:

  • An engaging visual preview ✅
  • Support across email clients ✅ & ❌

If you include a YouTube URL in the body of a Gmail message, the video will appear as a playable attachment for Gmail recipients. The URL will work for everyone, but only Gmail users will be able to play the video in the email. For those readers, this is a useful way to get your video played right away, in the email itself. It won’t work as well for people using other platforms, like the Mail app on their iPhone or other mobile devices.

On the flip side, this method doesn’t encourage traffic to your site. Recipients who click on the attachment will be directed to the YouTube video page, so they may explore your brand more by poking around your company’s YouTube channel. But it’s unlikely that the video page will bring traffic to your site unless the video itself has a CTA button to your site.

This method isn’t recommended for a large number of recipients, as anyone using another email platform will see only the plain URL and most likely won’t be motivated to watch the video.

how to send video through email

Email videos with your viewer in mind

Adding video to your emails is a reliable way to increase engagement from recipients. Marketing research shows that including videos in emails consistently leads to greater open, click-through, and conversion rates.

These results, however, happen only if your videos are emailed with the viewer in mind. From your video display to support across email platforms, you have to weigh quite a few factors to send a video that engages readers. Using this guide, you can find a method for emailing videos that is accessible and engaging and encourages viewers to connect with your content.

Create Your Own Videos for Email