Keeping Video in Email Accessible

Our last post covered how we use email to get our best video content to new audiences (by focusing on our already-existing audience). Now, we'd like to spend a bit of time explaining how to keep video and email happy together -- and accessibility is a huge part of that.

Those of you who've used the Email Marketing tool in the Wistia app may have noticed that when you embed a video in your email, there is, in fact, no video embed -- instead, we create a thumbnail within your email which then links to a page of your choice where the video is hosted. 

For the viewer, the experience is nearly seamless. They click a play button, a browser pops open and their video is playing (we set our videos to autoplay when coming through the email link). It sounds a little bit like trickery, but test it out for yourself and you’ll see that it feels pretty natural.

On the technical side, large file sizes, spam filters, and security threats are all reasons why embedding a video directly in an email is not the best idea and are, in general, why videos don't work inside email explicitly. YouTube has gotten around it to some degree because they're so big, and there are people out there working on adding additional functionality to email (so you can watch videos, update your Facebook status, and so on) but the technology is still developing with no clear winner just yet.

The good news is, having a video open on your own page has its strategic advantages -- getting views on your own website is critical strategy-wise, for a number of reasons. We'll continue looking at connectors to build in for email, but for us and other customers, we've seen tremendous value in getting people to our website. It's a similar experience from the recipient's end, but gets them into the context of the rest of your content (such as your sign-ups forms), something you couldn't pull off with email alone. Video is a great hook that gets people to leave their world of email and enter your world. You lose some power if the video is just embedded in the email -- such as the ability to track the analytics on the video as well as Google Analytics, marketing automation software, etc.

Bonus points - track how each prospect watches the video!

If you're using Wistia and one of our supported email providers, you can track how each individual prospect watches the video with a personalized heatmap! The prospect’s email address automatically appears in the Wistia stats page instead of the anonymous IP address. Now besides just clicks you can tell how much of the video your prospect watched, including parts of the video that he/she rewatched!

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