WhatCounts White Paper - Seamless Video Email
 

WhatCounts White Paper - Seamless Video Email

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Best Practices for Dramatically Increasing Response

Best Practices for Dramatically Increasing Response
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WhatCounts White Paper - Seamless Video Email WhatCounts White Paper - Seamless Video Email Document Transcript

  • SEAMLESS VIDEO EMAILBest Practices for Dramatically Increasing Response Rates &Success
  • SEAMLESS VIDEO EMAILCopyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 2All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.comAtlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.comSEAMLESS VIDEO EMAIL HAS ARRIVEDBEST PRACTICES FOR DRAMATICALLY INCREASINGRESPONSE RATES & SUCCESSThanks to the enabling prevalence of broadband and the immense popularity ofYouTube and video in general, consumer interaction with the internet has changeddramatically over the last few years. According to comScore, some 139 million U.S.internet users now watch an average of 83 videos online each month. Consumers expectto see videos everywhere from news sites to Facebook pages to email. The promise ofseamless video in email has already tantalized many CMOs as a means of engagingcustomers, driving greater response rates and higher revenue from email campaigns.But until now, truly seamless solutions available to a wide audience have beenunavailable.David Daniels, a veteran of Forrester Research and expert on email marketing trends,says video in email offers a 2-3x performance leap versus traditional email. It’s a logicalleap, as we intuitively grasp the power of visual communication over simple text. Videoin email represents a significant evolutionary advance of digital media, not unlike theleap that broadcast TV represented over broadcast radio. It is a game - changing stepforward that will soon pull almost all companies in, and then separate them by howsmartly they leverage their new advantage.Just as there were those who used the new television medium as a mere extension ofradio, there will also be some marketers who fail to grasp the new possibilities that videoin email offers. And in doing so, they will be placing their brands and companies at adisadvantage. For instance, TV favored photogenic personalities and as the 1960Presidential debates proved, good looking politicians as well. Likewise, video in emailwill stimulate the aspirational side of marketing campaigns versus simply the actuarialside. Traditional text email may simply tout the low interest rate of a home loan, but a
  • SEAMLESS VIDEO EMAILCopyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 3All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.comAtlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.comvideo email can showcase the dream of a nice neighborhood. An email targeting baseballfans could present raw data or, through the use of video, entice them with a shot of theprevious night’s winning home run. Video email represents a whole new game, requiringbigger thinking, a separate set of rules, and involving more sophisticated metrics forwinning.Video email is the best of three worlds, bringingtogether the immediacy of the internet, the precisecontrol and metrics of direct mail, along with thevisual appeal of television and YouTube. At its best ithas the potential to double or triple the overallefficiency of your marketing program, but employedin the wrong way it can turn off existing customers.Video in email requires upfront planning and strategy, like any good campaign, but itdoesn’t necessitate either a large upfront production cost, or even a large marketingbudget.CREATE A CASE STUDY FOR EMAILDespite its popularity, email is still an under-allocated component of the marketing mixfor many companies. The traditional ad agencies, which have significant input incorporate marketing budgets, are still investing too many dollars in more expensive andless measurable (and less effective) broadcast and print advertising because this is whatthey know. According to research from Nielsen and the Direct Marketing Association,U.S. commercial email expenditures are just slightly in excess of $1 billion annually andrepresent only about 1% of 2009 U.S. advertising expenditures.The mathematic case for greater deployment of video email in marketing campaigns iscertainly compelling. The Direct Marketing Association has claimed that traditional“The traditional email return forevery one dollar of emailinvestment is $43.”~ Direct Marketing Association
  • SEAMLESS VIDEO EMAILCopyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 4All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.comAtlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.comemail returns over $43 dollars for every one dollar of email investment, and as notedabove, respected analysts are claiming video email can improve that ROI by a factor of2-3x. And while these numbers may seem too good to be true, they can be readily testedand validated quickly within the confines of your business or brand, via simple A/ Bcomparison testing, in a matter of days.Video email ups the ante and pressure on marketers to shift more of their budget awayfrom traditional advertising because video email co-ops the unique visual benefits of TVand print advertising in a way that traditional text-based email could not. More andmore marketers will view video email as both complementary to, and interchangeablewith traditional advertising tactics. This is particularly true in an economic climatewhere CEOs and CFOs are demanding proof of marketing ROI and where there may be agreater priority on retaining and enhancing revenue from existing customers vs. moreexpensive investment in new customer acquisition.Video email also promises to be much more viral than text-based email. End users aremore likely to forward video emails to their Facebook and social media sites thantraditional emails. And when that does indeed occur, a marvelous chain reaction takesplace. According to Nielsen, social media use makes people consume more emails notless.VIDEO EMAIL IS A GAME CHANGER FOR ANY VERTICALTRAVELImagine you’re an airline and you are starting a new non-stop route from Seattle toRome. Your best prospects are those existing customers in the Pacific Northwest thatalready use you for business and vacation travel but are intrigued, like most of us, byspending time vacationing in Italy. With an integrated video email capability, you can letshort video clips of famous Italian sites tell the story for you in a progressive series of
  • SEAMLESS VIDEO EMAILCopyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 5All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.comAtlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.comvideo emails. And to ensure optimal response, each video email would include apromotional offer such as an additional number of frequent flier miles for those whotravelled within the next 90 days.RETAILFor retailers, video email can be a dream come true. Imagine you’re a merchandiser andyou received late word of the initial arrival of Copper River Salmon. Instead of usingexpensive print magazine advertising with long lead times and inexact returns, you canquickly and visually showcase the “cold waters” story for this highly prized, tastydelicacy.MEDIA & PUBLISHINGVideo in email holds special promise for news andmedia organizations as well, which are often visual bynature. Now an online newspaper can, with userpermission, send a breaking news video on a topic ofparticular importance such as business, sports ornational politics.Video in email also holds special promise for marketers of transportation products likecars, tires, strollers, and bicycles that are best demonstrated in motion. And majorcollege and professional sports teams can enhance their standing with season ticketholders and fans by sending game highlights using video.“Video in email can increaseclick-through rates by as muchas 2-3x.”~ Forrester
  • SEAMLESS VIDEO EMAILCopyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 6All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.comAtlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.comBEST PRACTICES FOR NEW VIDEO EMAIL CAMPAIGNSVideo in email, like any new breakthrough medium, has pitfalls if not used correctly.Generally speaking, it is better to use with prospects who have a high level of interest inthe product category or for existing customers.FREQUENCYResearch shows that 78 percent of existing customers look forward to receiving emailsfrom companies they do business with. But even here the rule of thumb is no more thanone email a week unless there is some educational, entertainment or news value, orspecific transactional email requirements such as shipping notices and account changenotifications.DURATIONLength of video is also an important consideration. Generally speaking, video emails toexisting customers should be no more than 15-45 seconds, but this varies depending onproduct and customer engagement. Experiment with different lengths and use yourusage and click-through reporting to determine the optimal length for your video beforethe user breaks off.CLICK-TO-PLAY VS. EMBEDDEDThere are two basic ways to deliver video to emailrecipients: click-to-view and embedded.The one that most people think of first, embedding(where the video appears and plays directly inside ofan email message), is also the one that’s least com-patible with most email clients and environments.“139 million U.S. Internet usersnow watch an average of 83videos online each month.”~ ComScore
  • SEAMLESS VIDEO EMAILCopyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 7All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.comAtlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.comIf embedded video is used, it’s important that audio be set to “mute” so that the simpleexperience of opening a mail message isn’t met by the recipient with an unexpected andpotentially jarring interaction.The recommended method of delivering video that also happens to have universalcompatibility is called click-to-play. It’s typically implemented by using a static oranimated image with markings that encourage the email recipient to click on it. Thataction automatically launches a web browser where the video can begin playing. Optionscan be set to control whether the video and sound begin automatically.Animated images are implemented using the GIF89a format and can be produced usinga variety of tools. Design professionals will likely find the use of Adobe Flash acomfortable tool for creating these animations. There are also specialized applicationsfor both PCs and Macs that can be used to create them, as well as open-source utilitieslike ffmpeg and ImageMagick.If animated GIF images are used, be careful that they’re not too elaborate (duration anddimensionally) because that can cause unnecessary download delays for your users.Simply compositing a play icon (which is often represented by a simple right-facingtriangle) may be all that’s necessary to encourage users to click on the image which leadsthem to view your video.KEEP IT RELATIVEVideo in email, like any new breakthrough medium, has pitfalls if used improperly.While it makes a bigger “splash” by appealing to more senses, it also necessitates ahigher level of engagement. Make sure the video content adds value to your subscribers’experience. Consider testing, initially, with your brand’s more passionate customers andwarmer prospects. Utilize customer data to create content that is of interest to yourcustomers.
  • SEAMLESS VIDEO EMAILCopyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 8All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.comAtlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.comEMAIL BEST PRACTICESMake sure your campaigns are CAN-SPAM compliant and that you continue to follow asmany of the email industry’s recommended best practices as possible.Your effectiveness with any marketing tool such as video email ultimately depends onhow relevant your message is with your customers’ needs, lifestyle and attention span atthe moment. Because it includes compelling visual elements, video email campaigns arebetter able to engage the interest of your target audience. Testing and the assistance of aknowledgeable email marketing partner can help ensure that you and your company aretaking full advantage of this exciting new medium.THE ARRIVAL OF TRUE SEAMLESS VIDEO EMAILRecently, WhatCounts introduced a pioneering advance in video email technology witha fully integrated, enterprise level video email platform. The product conforms withproven industry standards and is tightly embedded with the existing WhatCounts emailplatform. And because there are no attachments, there is minimal risk of being blockedby spam filters.AUTOMATED CLIENT DETECTIONWhatCounts uses both Flash- based and HTML5/H.264 videos with smart tags toautomatically deliver the highest quality video possible to the broadest possibleaudience. Video files are stored in the “cloud” and managed by WhatCounts servers soinboxes are not clogged with large attachments.
  • SEAMLESS VIDEO EMAILCopyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 9All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.comAtlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.comABOUT USWhatCounts, a private Atlanta-based companyfounded in 2000, is a leading email technologyinnovator offering a fully integrated lifecyclemarketing platform supporting dynamic and targetedcontent delivery, robust segmentation, API andtransactional capabilities as well as integrated videoand social media tools.WhatCounts offers deliverability management,strategic coaching, best practices benchmarking,CRM integration and advanced analytics facilitatingROI maximization.The robust WhatCounts platform is delivered as ahosted Web-based SaaS application and as part of theunique Broadcaster on-premise appliance line.WHATCOUNTS, Inc.3630 Peachtree Rd. Telephone: 404.995.8600Suite 900 Toll Free: 866.804.0076Atlanta, GA 30326 Fax: 404.995.8611www.whatcounts.com Email: sales@whatcounts.comATLANTA • BALTIMORE • SEATTLE • SYDNEY • WASHINGTON DC.