Video In Email Goes Back To The Future

By Tink Taylor

A subject that I’ve blogged about before is the minefield of embedding video into email campaigns.

I’ve always argued that until a technology or ISP solution comes along that deals with all the deliverability issues currently associated with video, the safest way for marketers to treat video in email is to include a link to a web page.

Which is why I was really pleased to learn before Christmas that Goodmail are partnering with a technology company in Silicon Valley to allow direct insertion of video into email.

The system will be called ‘Certified Video’ and last I heard was due for distribution in early 2009 in partnership with AOL, Yahoo, Cox, Comcast and others. Goodmail’s technology uses coding to ensure that ISPs allow the video emails to pass through and land in the inbox.

The plan is that the video will start streaming when the email is opened, but with the sound turned off (recipients will have to click to activate the sound – a relief all round for any B2B recipients in very quiet offices with very twitchy bosses!)

The opportunities for marketers are endless. At dotMailer we’ve already seen how adding video to our own homepage and resource centre content has really boosted user engagement. Being able to add, for example, video tours and feature demonstrations to our emails will really help us to help clients and users get the most from dotMailer – and in turn drive usage.

According to Goodmail, there will be no limit to the length of clips that can be shown and there are no limits to where e-marketers can go with this new medium. But there’s going to have to be a lot of testing and experimentation before we begin to find out what works and what doesn’t.

As an industry, we’ll need to discover and develop a whole new set of best practices for making video in email work for marketers (not to mention development work by the ESPs to deliver this facility to their users).

As always, technology in email and digital marketing is leaping forward and keeping the job of marketing with new media a really interesting and creative role to be in. Goodmail have said that in respect to streaming video, as the web has gone forward, email has actually gone backwards.

Fortunately, I think it’s now a case of ‘back to the future’.