2011 Video Email Marketing Guide
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The 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide is the most comprehensive resource assembled to date on the business value and technical possibilities of video in email. It is intended for both email......

The 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide is the most comprehensive resource assembled to date on the business value and technical possibilities of video in email. It is intended for both email marketing professionals and creative teams that seek to understand video email best practices, limitations, and possibilities. Case studies, stats, charts, tables, and examples are provided throughout.

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  • 1. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide November 19, 2010 Author: Justin Foster Founder/President, Video Commerce Consortium Co-Founder/VP Market Development, Liveclicker http://www.liveclicker.com http://www.video-commerce.org 1 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 2. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Contents Introduction ......................................................................................................................................4 The Evolution of Video Email ..........................................................................................................4 Video Email Marketing in 2011 .......................................................................................................4 The Impact of Online Video in Email ...................................................................................................5 The Importance of Relevance .........................................................................................................5 Static vs. Progressive Message Consumption...................................................................................6 Example: Verizon Wireless..............................................................................................................7 Universal Video Email Best Practices ..................................................................................................8 Example: Fingerhut ........................................................................................................................9 Example: Bed Bath & Beyond .......................................................................................................10 Example: Williams-Sonoma ..........................................................................................................11 Vertical Examples of Video Email Communication .........................................................................12 Video Email Defined.........................................................................................................................13 Methods of Including Video in Email .............................................................................................13 Attitudes Toward Video in Email...................................................................................................14 Deliverability Implications ............................................................................................................14 Video Rendering in Different Mail Clients .....................................................................................15 Subscriber Experiences with Different Video Email Formats ..........................................................15 Email Client Support for Video ......................................................................................................16 Email Client Exception Cases .........................................................................................................16 Static Image Method ....................................................................................................................17 Static Image Example: Organizing for America...............................................................................18 Animated .GIF / Animated .PNG Video Method.............................................................................19 Animated .GIF Video Example: Hewlett-Packard ...........................................................................20 HTML5 Method ............................................................................................................................23 HTML5 Video Example: Discovery Channel ....................................................................................25 CertifiedVideo™ ...........................................................................................................................26 Selecting a Method for Implementing Video Email ............................................................................27 Video Email Automation Platforms ...............................................................................................28 2 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 3. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide How Video Email Automation Works ............................................................................................29 Case Studies ....................................................................................................................................32 Case Study: Holland America Line .................................................................................................32 Case Study: PGATour.com ............................................................................................................35 About Liveclicker .............................................................................................................................36 About the Author .............................................................................................................................36 About the Video Commerce Consortium ...................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. 3 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 4. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Introduction As email marketers search for new ways to build subscriber engagement and differentiate their messages in a crowded consumer inbox, integrating video stands out as one tactic that holds promise. Yet in a world where inboxes lie fragmented across mobile devices and marketers remain uncertain of the deliverability impact of video email, the majority of today’s email marketing professionals fail to effectively integrate video into their campaign strategies. The Evolution of Video Email Although video’s tenure in the popular lexicon has barely spanned a century, it quickly became a dominant form of information distribution through the rise of television and popular film. More recently, the growth of online is well documented. In October 2010, YouTube still ranked as the world’s second most popular search engine (next to Google). Among top commerce sites, the growth of video advanced 1 377% from 2008 to 2009 according to a November 2009 report by Forrester Research. Across the top 10 US online video properties, viewers averaged 863 minutes of video consumption in September 2010 2 alone, according to Comscore. Given this backdrop, it’s of little wonder email marketers are seeking to incorporate video into their communications. Whether used to convince a prospective customer of the merits of a new product or offer, humanize a brand, generate excitement, or emotionally connect with an audience, video offers a powerful medium for expression and persuasion. st Yet email in many respects was held back during the first decade of the 21 century. While online video flourished across the rest of the web, email marketers were left to deal with a host of pragmatic issues in the areas of deliverability, compatibility, rendering, production process, and lack of video knowledge. These issues hampered video email marketing efforts in the last decade, and still mark marketers’ attitudes toward video email. Video Email Marketing in 2011 Today, many of the technical hurdles that prevented email marketers from using video are no longer relevant. New and repurposed technologies enable video delivery directly within email messages for the vast majority of email recipients, while other email marketers use tried and true approaches of integrating static images in email that link to videos on campaign landing pages. But simply because it is now possible to incorporate video in email, the larger question of whether it is a good idea remains. This whitepaper addresses the question by taking an analytical approach, examining the attributes of video consumption that are important for email marketers to understand before deciding whether using video in email makes sense. “US Internet users spent an average of 863.7 minutes watching video across the Top 10 online video properties in September 2010.” - comScore September 2010 Video Metrix 1 Online Retailers’ Adoption of Online Video Content is Ahead of Consumer’s Preferences, Patti Freeman Evans (Forrester Research), Nov 24, 2009. 2 comScore Video Metrix, September 2010 4 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 5. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide The Impact of Online Video in Email Experienced email marketers are aware of the fierce competition for subscriber attention in today’s marketplace. In June 2009, Forrester Research estimated that US consumers would receive more than 9,000 commercial email messages per year by 2014. With so much competition for recipient interest, email marketers need to stand out by focusing on meeting the needs of their audience with relevant, impactful messages. In email, the use of video exacerbates the need to focus on relevance. Viewed by one subscriber, video can deliver a rich, valuable in-email experience. Viewed by another subscriber, the same video could be a distraction or nuisance. Video should only be used in cases where it contributes to the experience of email consumption, rather than detracting from it. Improper use of video can drive up negative performance indicators such as complaint rates and unsubscribe requests, while targeted use of video can drive positive performance. “By 2014, US consumers will receive more than 9,000 commercial emails per year.” - Shar VanBoskirk, Forrester Research The Importance of Relevance Video is subject to the same relevance ‘litmus test’ as other email content; video content should be served only to the subscribers that value video. Identifying subscribers that value video email can be accomplished in many ways. For example: • Segmenting subscribers based on previous video email opens • Segmenting subscribers based on previous video email clicks • Segmenting subscribers based on how much video the subscriber previously consumed • Segmenting subscribers based on the level of support for video email in the subscriber’s preferred mail client. Segmenting based on open, click, and view activity requires access to metrics from prior video-enabled campaigns, but segmenting based on mail client limitations does not. Many ESPs now allow marketers to segment based on this capability. Using mail client segmentation, email marketers can choose to send video email only to those subscribers who are able to fully support video in email, as opposed to subscribers who are only capable of viewing static images in email. “Email marketers need to focus on using video to add value to the subscriber experience, not just as a new ‘toy’ to experiment with.” - Brian Wild, Creative Director, Experian Cheetahmail UK 5 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 6. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Example ESP report on mail clients used by subscribers in an email campaign. Mail clients highlighted in red support HTML5 video (November 2010) Static vs. Progressive Message Consumption With traditional email marketing messages, a subscriber can quickly glance from place to place within the message body, choosing where to interact while ingesting information at his own preferred pace. With video, information is consumed in a linear fashion, from beginning to end, and [usually] at the same pace by all viewers. Marketing effectively with video therefore requires understanding how to harness the linear, or progressive, nature of message delivery to one’s audience. With progressive delivery, it is the marketer that controls the timing and pace of the message, forcing the viewer to remain tuned in to consume the entire message. The opportunity of progressive message delivery lies in its ability to more effectively persuade or influence the viewer through storytelling. Yet in an era where consumers are used to taking more control over their interaction with brands and messages than ever before, marketers that fail to deliver relevance and value with their videos risk irritating and isolating their subscribers. To cite a positive example of progressive message delivery in email, Responsys/Verizon Wireless used interstitial text in a video to develop an emotional connection with its audience in an email promotion to add a line of service. The video on the following page depicts a mother and daughter who are able to stay in touch as a result of adding a new line. While this message could be presented in text and images rd alone, video allows the story to take on this progressive “3 dimension,” deepening its emotional impact. “Email marketers that use video need to understand the progressive nature of video delivery in order to effectively persuade and connect with their audience.” - Lisa Harmon, VP Creative Services, Responsys 6 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 7. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Example: Verizon Wireless 2s, “Meet Linda” 3s 7s, “Meet Alex” 8s “It makes sense to us that Verizon customers 18s are the most loyal in the industry…” 7 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 8. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Universal Video Email Best Practices Regardless of the specific method that is used to integrate video with email, several universal best practices apply to all video email. Marketers that follow these best practices are more likely to drive key metrics such as open, clickthrough, and conversion (completion) rates. Tactic Benefit Use the word “video” in the Subscribers self-select viewing the content after the expectation for subject line. consuming video is set, ensuring a more receptive audience. Segment subscribers that Certain subscribers are more receptive to video than others. Drive up have previously watched segment performance by targeting video to those subscribers most video or opened emails likely to view your content. featuring video. Sound for auto-play videos is While some subscribers may not mind a video that auto-plays in ‘off’ in the email by default. email, auto-playing video with sound on can drive higher complaint and unsubscribe rates. Use appropriate length video If your video is promotional in nature, most successful product videos content are 1:30 or less. Products vary, and your results might too. With video, stick to the rule of thumb, “less is more.” Many of the most effective promotional videos are a minute in length or less. Make it clear what happens If you are using a static image in email to suggest video, the static when a video is clicked in the image should include clear player callouts such as “play” buttons that, email. when clicked, cause the video to auto-play on a landing page. If using an animated .GIF or animated .PNG video in the email, use a callout such as “watch with sound” that, when clicked, launches a full player that auto-plays the video with sound on a landing page. If using an HTML5 video, ensure the player controls are visible and a poster image appears in the default player frame (covered under “HTML5 video”) Highlight the nature of the By setting the subscriber’s expectation for what is featured in the video content in the subject video, the likelihood of engaging with a receptive audience increases. line. Highlight the value of video State explicitly in the email copy why the subscriber should choose to within the email copy. watch the video. For example, “click to learn more about product XYZ” or “Click to watch the upcoming preview of TV show XYZ” or “Click to see a special message from our CEO.” Subscribers that have clear expectations of their upcoming video viewing experience are more likely to have a positive brand interaction. Encourage the sharing of While sharing video is often not the primary goal of an email video campaign featuring video, video is the most shared media online. Viewers that share your video to Facebook or other social networks can expose your message new influencers, customers, or subscribers. Offer sharing options in your landing page video player. 8 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 9. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Example: Fingerhut • Highlights in the email what happens when the video is clicked through, “Watch the video and explore more online only items!” • Video is featured prominently within the email • It is clear the video is “video” through the use of a play button and the presentation within the television set graphic. • Sound is off by default 9 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 10. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Example: Bed Bath & Beyond • Video is used where it makes sense: to illustrate the motion of a product that would be impossible to visualize with imagery alone. In the example below, the retailer launched a campaign announcing availability of the Dyson Air Multiplier ‘blade free’ fan. The video shows the movement of air as it travels through the fan. • Video is called out at the top of the email to ensure visibility in the preview pane • Video is highlighted in blue, suggesting the video is hyperlinked. • Sound is off by default, preventing distraction and possible negative impact on unsubscribe and complaint rates. • When the video is clicked, the viewer is routed to the product detail page. 10 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 11. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Example: Williams-Sonoma • Play button used over video callout, signifying video • The words “Video Demonstration” set the subscriber’s expectations for video content • The video content is further explained, ensuring a satisfied, ‘self-selected’ audience: “Make our Charred Corn Salad using the OXO Corn Stripper” 11 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 12. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Vertical Examples of Video Email Communication Despite the many accepted video email best practices, communicating effectively with video requires more than adhering to a simple checklist of “do’s and don’ts.” The best marketers and creative teams use video as a platform to deepen subscriber relationships and connect with audiences in new and meaningful ways. Below are examples of how different types of marketers use video to communicate with an audience. Segment Video Automotive Promotional video of a car driving down a deserted highway, showing overlay text within the video highlighting key selling points. Video adds a sense of realism and depth while providing the marketer with greater control over the delivery of content tied to an emotional purchase. B2B Animated video of a company’s product in action; personal video message from the recipient’s primary sales contact at the organization, video of the company’s CEO highlighting upcoming product features or company direction. Media Trailers for television shows, movies, or artist performances; video ads layered within text content for publishers. Consumer Brands/Mfr/CPG User generated videos from brand community; video contests; product videos; event information. E-Commerce/Retail Video highlighting benefits of a product being launched, featuring the product from multiple angles with host; video featuring return policy, customer service options, highlights of service such as fast delivery or broad product selection. Political/Not-for-Profit Videos highlighting recent projects/activities; mission videos; pleas for donations. Sports Highlights clips; event previews; promos for paid video services “The email marketers that succeed with video email never forget that relevance is still the most important consideration in the success of a campaign.” - Loren McDonald, VP Industry Relations, Silverpop 12 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 13. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Video Email Defined What is a “video email?” Should one pose this question to a roomful of email marketers, a diverse array of responses would likely result. For some, “video email” is simply the act of using video alongside an email campaign. For others, “video email” is the act of placing video within the email message itself for playback. No matter your definition, the term is almost always used to at least suggest video within email, even if the video is not present in the email message itself. Methods of Including Video in Email - Reach As of November 2010, no universal video format can penetrate all email clients such that video plays within the mail client directly. However, email marketers can still deliver video in email at up to 90% of their audience using one or a combination of several methods. For the remaining subscribers unable to view video in email, methods now exist to safely fall back to static images, without requiring the marketer to manually create different campaigns or sets of creative. When considering the potential reach of each video format in your messages, consider that your results may vary due to your list composition and market. Inclusion Animated Certified Static Image HTML5 Video Method .GIF/.PNG Video Video™ Mail Client 100% 75% - 90% ~5% - 25% ~10% - 20% Support % Video Plays in NO YES YES YES Email In almost all cases, the use of Flash video in email is ill advised due to rendering issues that prevent Flash from being displayed in ~95% of mail clients. Flash video has been largely unsupported in email clients since the early 2000’s due to potential security issues that could allow Flash to be exploited by unscrupulous senders to pass along computer viruses or Trojan horse programs to mail recipients. The exception to the rule of ‘don’t send Flash’ is when marketers send to certain versions of Apple Mail, and when using Goodmail’s CertifiedVideo™ service, supported at AOL as of November 2010. 13 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 14. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Attitudes Toward Video in Email During August 2009, 287 email marketers with an interest in video in email were polled to understand the prevailing attitudes toward video in email. Most email marketers in the poll were open minded toward the possibility of including video in email, but many felt video in email was still too limited. Marketer Attitudes Toward Video in Email Open-Minded 14% Not Possible Too Limited 32% 51% Seeking Optimization 3% Deliverability Implications For marketers seeking to include video in email, deliverability remains a top concern. According to a panel of 548 email marketers polled between August 2009 and April of 2010, the majority of respondents curious to learn about the possibilities of adding video in email responded as follows when asked the following question, “Which of the following would you cite as your top concern about including video in email?” Only one answer could be selected. Top Video in Email Concerns Hosting/Streaming 4% 9% Other/Don't Know Poor Subscriber Experience 20% 59% Producing/Acquiring Videos 8% Spam filters/Rendering Issues n= 548 email marketers, polled via Liveclicker web survey August 2009 – March 2010 14 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 15. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Fortunately, there are now several ways marketers can launch video email that do not impact deliverability. For example, by using image referencing, animated .PNG and animated .GIF videos can be displayed in supporting browsers without causing email sizes to increase or forcing subscribers to wait for the video to download. Likewise, mail clients that support HTML5 video can display the video player directly in email without forcing the subscriber to wait for a download. Video Rendering in Different Mail Clients Since there is no universal video in email format, creative teams and email marketers seeking to integrate video in email need to consider that various clients/browsers may display video differently, according to their inherent limitations. Video email automation software such as Liveclicker’s Video Email Express can help automate the presentation, making the video email experience as consistent as possible while enabling each mail client to display video at the limits of its capacity. Subscriber Experiences with Different Video Email Formats Before crafting an in-email video experience, creative teams need to understand how the different in- email video formats function and render within the inbox environment. What works well using one format might not work well in another format. By understanding the limitations of each format, creative teams can develop videos that work well regardless of the mail client in use by the subscriber or the format that renders in the subscriber’s mail client. The use of video email automation software can further automate the creation of video assets for each mail client. Inclusion Animated Certified Static Image HTML5 Video Method .GIF/.PNG Video Video™ Player Controls NONE NONE PLAY/PAUSE EXTENSIVE (Play/Pause) Frames Per 0 Generally 8 – 16 FPS Full Motion Full Motion Second (30 FPS) (30 FPS) Plays POSSIBLE Immediately on NO YES NO (w/sound off) Email Open Number of True Color 256 True Color True Color Colors (16.7MM) (Global Palette) (16.7MM) (16.7MM) Supported Linkable to YES YES NO NO Landing Page In-Email Player Customization N/A N/A NO YES Support Displays if Subscriber has NO NO NO YES Disabled Images Subscriber must wait for video to download before N/A NO NO NO playback initiates Practical Size Limitation N/A 320x240 N/A N/A (Pixels) 15 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 16. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Email Client Support for Video HTML5 Video Animated .GIF Video iPhone All webmail clients iPad Outlook Express – 2003 Apple Mail 4 Lotus Notes 6.5 – 8.0 Entourage 2008 Windows Mail nd Thunderbird Many 2 Generation Phones Some Android Phones AOL client Email Client Exception Cases Video Not Supported Special Encoding Requirements Lotus Notes 6.5 – 8.0 requires content-type Outlook 2007/2010 - static image only. change to .JPG Webmail clients in IE6 require Apple Mail 3 – static image only. uncompressed animated .GIF Thunderbird requires Ogg Theora encoding for HTML5 video assets Slow bandwidth connections – serve static image or low bandwidth video Chrome, Firefox capable of higher throughput for animated .GIF videos than IE or Safari. 16 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 17. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Static Image Method Since Flash was disabled by most mail clients and/or receiving ISPs, the generally accepted method of using video in email was to link a static image, often appearing as a video player, within the email. When clicked, the user is routed to a landing page containing a Flash video player, often set to auto-play the video. Pros • Using a static image can initiate video playback with a single click by linking a user to a video player on a landing page. • Static images are also universally supported in HTML capable mail clients, and display so long as the receiver has enabled images for the sender. • Implementing static images in email is also the easiest video email method for senders because it requires the least amount of deviation from existing campaign production processes. Cons • If the email marketer desires to enable video playback directly within email, this is not possible using a static image. • If the email marketer is unable to add a video to the desired landing page (for example, due to the email marketer not having design control over the landing page) this method would not work. Best Practices • Superimpose the words “play video” or “watch video” on the image itself • Use a play button callout superimposed over the static image • Make it clear that clicking will start a video by modeling the image to look like a video player • Use dynamic A/B testing to automatically choose a “frame” from the video that drives the highest clickthrough rate to the landing page. 17 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 18. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Static Image Example: Organizing for America In the above example, several universal and static image specific video email best practices are followed: • The message is clearly a video, as called out in the subject line. • Messaging specific to video is included, helping to reinforce the expectations of the subscriber, including “…recorded a message,” “…watch it,” “once you watch…,” “Watch the video here.” • The static image contains a superimposed play button, setting the subscriber’s expectation for video • The video is accessed by clicking an image that resembles a video “player” which also contains a secondary play button. • The message itself is best conveyed through a video, by utilizing Obama as the messenger • The message is of a complex subject (health care reform) made simpler and easier to understand through video. 18 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 19. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Animated .GIF / Animated .PNG Video Method Until recently, it was not possible to deliver video through animated .GIFs or animated .PNG files because the files required too much bandwidth to play back smoothly for most subscribers. Today, with many Internet users accessing the Internet through high speed connections, these files which were once doomed to the remnant bin from the Internet’s pre-Flash era have found new life as video delivery devices in email. Pros • Like static images, animated .GIFs are supported nearly everywhere. • Unlike static images, these files display video directly in the inbox and therefore can capture a subscriber’s attention with video in the email without requiring the user to click through to a landing page. • Like static images, animated .GIF videos or animated .PNG videos can be made clickable, so users can click and be routed to a landing page of the email marketer’s choosing. • Animated .GIFs and animated .PNGs can be used in email without risk to deliverability, when used properly (with image referencing, rather than embedding). • Marketers can configure some parameters of the files in advance, such as whether they loop, and include custom callouts within the videos such as a “watch with sound” button. Cons • These file formats do not support sound. • The quality of animated .GIF or animated .PNG video is lower than with other in-email video delivery methods (including HTML5 and CertifiedVideo). • These videos always auto-play in email, regardless of the subscriber’s (or marketer’s) preference. • Because these files are really very fast image animations, they are not delivered through a video player and therefore do not support standard video player controls such as “play” or “pause.” • Animated .GIF support is not consistent across all mail clients, requiring the use of video email automation software or manually creating different animated .GIF versions to support a consistently high quality experience across mail clients. Best Practices The most successful animated .GIF/.PNG videos embrace the limitations of the file formats by drawing the attention of subscribers via in-email video through a short video message, and allowing subscribers to click through to learn more, usually via a full video on the landing page. Best practices include: • Limit the in-email video length to 45 seconds, unless it is possible to deliver an effective message without sound in a longer clip. Many of the most effective clips are 20 seconds or less. • Use a callout “button” that displays within the animated .GIF video (e.g. “Watch with Sound”) so the subscriber knows what to expect upon clicking through. • Use overlay or interstitial text in the animated .GIF video to communicate a message to subscribers without using audio. 19 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 20. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide • For playback performance considerations, it is generally recommended to limit the size of animated .GIF videos in email to 320x240. This is a rule of thumb, not a hard and fast rule. Larger videos may playback may playback more choppily when using animated .GIFs or animated .PNGs. Animated .GIF Video Example: Hewlett-Packard 20 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 21. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide 1s, “HP” 6s, “Style, Precision” 8s, “Possibility” 14s “The HP Pavilion dv4 Series” 18s, “Go Farther” 20s, “A Smart, Mobile Design” 22s, “Stand Out” 24s, “With an Espresso Black” 26s, “Or Moonlight White” 27s, “HP Imprint Finish” 29s, “See Clearly” 33s, “On the High Definition Display” 36s, “Talk Online” 38s, “With a Built-In Webcam” 41s, “Stay Connected” 42s, “With Built-In Wireless” 44s, “Have Fun” 45s, “HP MediaSmart Software” 46s, “Play” 55s, “Your Favorite Music” 57s, “Share” 21 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 22. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide 59s, “Your Favorite Moments” 61s, “Enjoy” 62s, “Your Favorite Shows” 65s, “Exquisite Design” 68s, “Meets Flexible Mobility” 74s, “The HP Pavilion dv4 Series” 76s, “The Computer is Personal Again” 80s, “HP” While the example is longer than the recommended maximum length of 45 seconds, HP manages to play off the soundless nature of animated .GIF videos with liberal use of overlay text throughout the message to create a polished impact with progressive message delivery. In addition to the overlay text, the following video email best practices are used: • Subject Line uses the word “video” to set the subscriber’s expectations prior to opening the email. • Video is featured prominently in the email message, above the fold • The expectation for what happens upon clicking through the email is also is set contextually within the email: “Video Tours” • The expectation for video in the email is set at the beginning of the email • Play button is set in the video • Sound is off by default • Video adds to the email by sharing a message best served as a progressive presentation, making the message easy to digest while calling out the product highlights. “When using soundless video .GIF clips, creative teams can use overlay text within the animation to help tell a story." - Matt Caldwell, Sr. Director, Creative Services, Yesmail 22 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 23. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide HTML5 Method HTML5 is the next standard of HTML. As of November 2010, this standard is already supported in major email clients such as the iPad mail client, iPhone client, Thunderbird, Entourage 2008, Apple Mail 4, and some other mobile device mail clients. Using HTML5 video, email marketers can embed video directly in email through the use of a <video> tag without causing deliverability problems. Pros • HTML5 is supported in email by a growing number of email clients, including the iPad mail client, iPhone mail client, Thunderbird, Entourage 2008, and Apple Mail 4. For many B2C marketers, this may represent 5% - 15% of the list. For B2B marketers, it could represent 10% - 25% of the list (depending on list composition) • It is the only format capable of delivering video in email to the iPhone and iPad. • HTML5 video is full video (full motion video at 30FPS, with audio). • Since it is full video, it can be played in a video player in email, including player controls such as play, pause, and volume. • HTML5 video can be delivered in email without causing deliverability issues since it relies on neither Javascript or Flash, two technologies widely disabled by email clients. • Safe fallbacks are available so HTML5 video can be safely sent to an entire email list, and nonsupporting mail clients can still display a static image or animated .GIF video in place of the HTML5 video. 23 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 24. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Cons • While HTML5 video may be supported at up to 25% of an email marketer’s list (depending on list composition), adoption is still limited. None of the major webmail clients, even when opened in an HTML5 compliant web browser, currently support HTML5 video as of November 2010. • There are also technical issues that can make use of HTML5 video problematic unless email marketers use video email automation technology such as Liveclicker’s Video Email Express. For example, HTML5 video is an evolving standard, requiring different codecs for Thunderbird (Ogg Theora) and Apple clients (iPhone, iPad, Entourage, Apple Mail 4) • Although HTML5 video supports a full video player in email, the player cannot be customized by email marketers, meaning an HTML5 video player might look different in web browsers/mail clients. • HTML5 video can not be “clicked through” in email. Player controls function, but it is not possible to click through an HTML5 video to a landing page. HTML5 video player in Chrome HTML5 video player in Firefox HTML5 video player in Safari 24 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 25. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Best Practices HTML5 is one of the least encumbered of all the video in email formats since it enables full video within a player, directly in the email message. However, since HTML5 video is only supported in a limited number of mail clients, special care must be taken when using this format to ensure broad compatibility. • Always ensure that if the mail client does not support HTML5 video that you have implemented a “fall back” to a static image or animated .GIF video so the space does not show up blank in email. • Ensure there are other prominent calls to click through the email if the intent of the message is to have the subscriber click • While there is no practical limitation to the dimensions of HTML5 video in email other than width that would constrain typical email design, consider making your HTML5 videos no larger than 320x240 if falling back to an animated .GIF for non-supporting mail clients to ensure the best performance. . • Select an HTML5 “poster image” to populate in the player before the user clicks on the “play” button, or an animated .GIF video to render in place of the HTML5 video if the subscriber’s email client does not support HTML5. HTML5 Video Example: Discovery Channel • Video is a primary callout • The video ties in with the product itself (which is video) • Play button clearly presented • Adds a new dimension allowing the audience to experience a preview of the show without leaving the email 25 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 26. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide CertifiedVideo™ Goodmail Systems has developed a technology that allows marketers to enable Flash video in email at ISPs that participate in their CertifiedVideo program. As of November 2010, AOL participates in the program, enabling B2C marketers to reach up to 20% of their audience (depending on list composition) using this method of video email. Pros • The only format that allows for different, custom video players and interactive video in email • Full motion video in email, with audio, at a full 30 frames per second • The only reliable way to support Flash video in email • Full player controls possible, including play/pause, full screen, rewind/fast forward Cons • Limited reach (currently only supported at AOL) • Requires an additional fee • Will not render on devices such as the iPhone and iPad Best Practices • Sound defaulted to ‘off’ in auto-playing videos • Include clear calls to action within the video player to click through, if that is the intent of the video • Only send CertifiedVideo to participating ISPs. 26 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 27. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Selecting a Method for Implementing Video Email Video email among mail clients is still in a state of transition. Until recently, marketers who wanted to integrate video into email really only had two choices: 1. Forego adding video to email, and instead link from within email to a video that plays in the web browser. Some of the advantages and drawbacks to this approach are presented in this whitepaper. 2. Add video to email using one of the other formats (animated .GIF, animated .PNG, HTML5 video, or CertifiedVideo). The first option was generally accepted to be the most straightforward approach to video email. It required the least amount of deviation to standard campaign planning, and universal support was assured. The second option required some deviation from standard campaign production processes, and resulted in different problems depending on the approach chosen. For example: • Creative teams implementing an HTML5 video email approach needed to create two separate HTML5 video assets: o One encoded using Ogg Theora (supported in Thunderbird) o The other encoded in H.264 (supported in the Apple mail clients). o Then, to ensure recipients would receive the correctly formatted video, the list would need to be segmented by the mail client in use by subscribers, to ensure the proper video asset could be deployed to the correct segment. o Two emails would then need to be manually deployed to each segment. o This approach is problematic because a subscriber’s historical use of a mail client does not ensure the same mail client will be used for the video email campaign (some subscribers will read email in a web browser in one session, then on an iPhone in another session, for example). • Creative teams implementing an animated .GIF approach would need to accept degraded performance in certain mail clients and web browsers, or instead create multiple versions of the animated .GIF to optimize performance. For example: o Firefox supports the use of animated .PNG videos, which can be produced with a higher quality output than animated .GIF videos. Webmail clients using Gmail, Windows Live Mail, and Yahoo Mail, among others, would receive a degraded animated .GIF even if their browser was capable of rendering the higher quality video. As of November 2010, Firefox held ~35% of the overall web browser market share. o The use of layer transparency with animated .GIFs, a technique that when used with animated .GIF videos can result in smoother videos and better performance, is not supported in older versions of Internet Explorer, forcing the video creator to either reduce 27 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 28. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide the quality of .GIF output for the entire audience to ensure compatibility, or risk incompatibility for some readers. o Some mobile devices technically support animated .GIF, but are unable to deliver a video-quality experience due to bandwidth limitations or processor speed issues. Unless a special file is served to those users, quality of the subscriber experience will suffer. o Nonstandard mail clients such as Lotus Notes require the content-type of animated .GIF videos to be changed in order to properly render animated .GIF videos • Creative teams that sought to integrate HTML5 video and animated .GIF video in the same campaign faced even more problems. o Not only did the problem of creating multiple HTML5 video files need to be solved (2 HTML5 videos), but several animated .GIF videos also needed to be created (to ensure performance), and a static image for email clients like Outlook 2007 that do not support any video format might also be created. o Then, those different video files needed to be managed o The correct version of the video needed to be delivered to each recipient, a process involving manual list segmentation, creation of multiple versions of the email campaign HTML, and manual deployment. Video Email Automation Platforms Due to the difficult challenges of supporting in-email video reliably, many email marketers have assumed that the only way to reliably approach video in email is to link a static image from the email to a video that plays in the web browser, on a campaign landing page. But recently, a third alternative has emerged with the introduction of the video email automation platform. A video email automation platform automates the process of video serving to each subscriber based on the limitations of the mail client she uses (e.g. Lotus Notes, Outlook, iPhone). By using a video email automation platform, email marketers and creative teams can completely bypass the complexity of serving video in email by automating the process of creating multiple video assets, managing those assets, bypassing segmentation requirements for compatibility purposes, and video delivery. Such a process, performed manually, could take days to weeks (or more) and produce less reliable results. Still, video email automation platforms do not remove the inherent limitations of the video formats they support (for example, HTML5 video or animated .GIF video). They only automate the process of deploying all the correct files to subscribers on an email list. “The video email automation platform fills a significant gap in the evolution of video in email, allowing marketers to reach both a wide audience with video while preserving the integrity of the subscriber experience in the message." - Ryan Phelan, VP Strategic Services, BlueHornet 28 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 29. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide How Video Email Automation Works Using a video automation platform such as Liveclicker Video Email Express generally requires little deviation from an email marketer’s normal campaign production process. To use a video email automation solution, all one needs is access to a video asset to use in email. 1. The first step in using a video email automation platform is to upload a source video. 2. Next, the video email automation platform generates all the different versions of the video that are required to deliver the optimal in-email video experience across mail clients. 29 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 30. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide 3. The video email automation platform then generates a piece of production-ready HTML code for copying and pasting into the campaign HTML. The copying and pasting of the HTML code is all the email designer/coder needs to do to ensure the correct video format is delivered to each mail client. 4. The campaign is deployed per normal production processes, using the email marketing software, appliance, or ESP of the marketer’s choice. “Marketers are looking to incorporate in-email video to deepen their connection with subscribers - and increase ROI. However, email senders are looking for ways to easily embed videos without getting locked into a proprietary system. As the use of in-email video continues to increase, our partnership with Liveclicker offers email senders the video [email automation] solution they're looking for to take their email from good to great." - George Bilbrey, President, Return Path 30 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 31. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Pros • Video email automation completely automates the process of serving the best possible video asset to every subscriber based on the limitations of his mail client. This can shave days, weeks, or even months of time compared to manual video email campaign deployment. • Relatively easy to integrate into an existing campaign production process; does not require any specialized technical video knowledge or custom coding. • Supports HTML5 video, animated .GIF video, animated .PNG video, and static images • Reporting on video consumption in-email • Reporting on % of subscribers that received each video (e.g. HTML5, animated .GIF video) Cons • Video email automation does not eliminate the inherent limitations of email clients or the video formats they support; it only ensures that every subscriber is able to experience video in email to the extent his mail client supports it. • Requires an additional fee • Use of video email automation may require educating internal stakeholders about the limitations of in-email video prior to campaign deployment (for example, the CEO may wonder why she is able to see video with audio on her iPad, but only an animated .GIF video when using Yahoo Mail in Internet Explorer) Best Practices • Create video assets that will render well when presented either as full HTML5 video or animated .GIF/animated .PNG video. • Choose an appropriate static image to display from the video for display in mail clients that doe not support HTML5 video or animated .GIF video (e.g. Outlook 2007/2010, Apple Mail 3) • Internal/client education is key when using video automation. While the problem video email automation solves is complex, automation alone does not solve the inherent limitations of video formats or email client capabilities, it only automates deployment and helps ensure the widest possible audience in the list is able to receive video in email. Take the time to educate important stakeholders prior to campaign launch to manage expectations 31 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 32. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Case Studies Case Study: Holland America Line 32 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 33. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Goals • Provide a differentiated inbox experience • Increase email channel click-through rate • Deliver compelling value to the brand • Increase audience engagement Challenges • In-email video was unproven • Deliverability concerns • Higher per-campaign costs Situation With 136 years of experience, Holland America Line is recognized as the undisputed leader in the cruise industry’s premium segment. The company’s fleet of 14 ships offers nearly 500 cruises to 320 ports of call in more than 100 countries, territories or dependencies. Parent company Carnival dominates the global cruise industry with an $89 billion market cap worldwide. Holland America Line has long maintained a strong offline direct marketing program and notes how important its network of travel agents and direct mail activities are to its overall success. “Our guests are generally 55+ years old but are technically savvy and engage with us in multiple channels,” says Mari Ström, eMarketing Manager. “Guests booking a cruise with Holland America Line are seeking a once-in- a-lifetime experience. We are committed to delivering on this expectation regardless of the channel.” Unfortunately, providing guests with a compelling, rich experience in the email channel remained a perennial challenge due to ongoing deliverability and rendering challenges. “Before using video email automation software, we were unable to deliver video in email. Instead, we relied on providing a rich experience only on campaign landing pages and elsewhere on our web site,” says Ms. Ström. “Now, we are able to deliver video in email to over 75% of our HTML-enabled audience, with smooth fallback for those unable to see video directly in the email. We have seen higher audience engagement and clickthrough.” In addition to the increase in hard channel metrics, video in email provided other unforeseen benefits to the email program. “Within the company, there is a lot of buzz that goes on when we use video with our campaigns. People across the organization are giving the channel much more attention now that they see the possibility of what email can do from an experience perspective.” After making the decision to experiment with in-email video and experiencing the early results, Holland America Line quickly decided to roll video out across a broad suite of its email marketing programs. Today, videos are included in product emails, trade emails sent to travel agents, and branding emails. Because standard video email techniques can integrate seamlessly with any Email Service Provider or in- house email marketing software, Holland America is able to launch new video email programs immediately without impacting IT resources. To support its ongoing video email efforts, Holland America Line relies on a rich library of video content including destination video footage and professionally-produced footage of guests onboard ships. “It is much more compelling to show people on the ship, in the spa, in the dining room, or otherwise enjoying the Holland America Line experience when using video,” says Ms. Ström. Access to video email 33 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 34. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide engagement reports precisely track subscriber engagement over time, yielding metrics that inform the email program well beyond video. Holland America Line recommends keeping in-email videos short (no longer than 30 - 45 seconds) and to focus on driving clickthrough by using engaging, creative video content. Additionally, testing audience segments to see how different sets of subscribers react to video is encouraged. Today, Holland America Line is aggressively using video across an increasing number of email programs. Now that the initial concerns about deliverability and engagement have been laid to rest, the company is focused on driving innovation within its email programs through video. Results Drove 100% increase in the number of subscribers clicking on in-email video elements vs. static images in controlled A/B tests Observed higher clickthrough rates and higher click-to-open ratio for video email vs. static email in broad consumer segments Achieved deliverability parity for video-enabled email vs. static emails Generated positive internal buzz around the email channel, which helped support an increase in the overall email marketing budget “Holland America used video in email to drive CTR, measured in A/B tests increases of 100% relative to when we used static images in email.” - Mari Strom, eMarketing Analyst, Holland America “Video in email can increase click-through rates by as much as 2X – 3X.” - David Daniels, former Analyst, Forrester Research 34 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 35. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide Case Study: PGATour.com PGATOUR.COM used Goodmail's CertifiedVideo service to deliver live, embedded streaming video within the body of an email. The intent of the message was to provide a compelling and highly differentiated user experience. The campaign offered thousands of fans a sneak peek of live coverage of the TOUR Championship during the 2009 PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedexCup. The message itself guided users to the PGATOUR.COM website to watch more live videos. The initial results of this first-of-its-kind campaign were measured by the number of click-throughs from the video creative to a PGATOUR.COM landing page. The campaign's success was measured by comparing the click-through rate of the video campaign against the click-through rate of a similar campaign which did not feature embedded streaming video. Goals • Provide a differentiated inbox experience • Increase email channel click-through rate • Deliver compelling value to the brand • Increase audience engagement Challenges • In-email video was unproven • Deliverability concerns • Higher per-campaign costs Results Fans favored video emails over the static message 34% clickthrough rate v. 14% clickthrough rate for the email messages without the embedded streaming video (142% improvement) Plans to integrate video into additional fan- focused campaigns Datran Media, the PGA Tour’s Email Service Provider, won the Internet Advertising Competition for Best of Show: Email Message Campaign and Best Email Marketing Campaign for the Digital Publishing and Advertising Awards. 35 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.
  • 36. 2011 Video Email Marketing Guide About Liveclicker Liveclicker has developed the world’s first video email automation platform – one of the signature components of its comprehensive video commerce solution. Dubbed “Video Email Express,” the system enables creative teams and marketers to reliably deploy video in email across up to 90% of their subscriber lists, safely and effectively, in the process eliminating complexity and manual processes that previously made achieving pervasive video in email nearly impossible. With Liveclicker, any company can include video in email in a matter of minutes. Whether delivered through HTML5 video or optimized animated .GIF or animated .PNG video, Liveclicker is smart enough to know where video works and automatically fall back where the industry is still evolving. Support for certification services offered by Goodmail Systems and Return Path broaden the possibilities for in-email video including automated rendering of video in mail clients where images are disabled by default. To learn more about Liveclicker and Video Email Express, watch the video. About the Author Justin Foster is Co-Founder and VP Market Development at Liveclicker, the leading video commerce solutions provider, where he is responsible for developing the overall market for video commerce. Additionally, Justin is Founder of the Video Commerce Consortium, the largest online trade group devoted to video commerce. Justin has extensive experience in the online marketing industry, especially as it pertains to commerce and email. Prior to Liveclicker, Justin founded the Email Marketing Best Practices Roundtable, an industry discussion group that represents over 1,500 email marketers worldwide including many of the largest online consumer brands in North America. He is also the author of “Creating E- Commerce Videos that Sell,” “Building an Effective Video Commerce Strategy,” and “Video Commerce: A Disruptive Innovation in E-Commerce.” To contact Justin about speaking engagements, or for more information, send email to justin@liveclicker.com or call him directly at 253-988-3183. 36 Copyright © 2010 Liveclicker, Inc. – www.liveclicker.com –All Rights Reserved.