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Wistia and Litmus Talk Video and Email: Webinar Follow Up

A couple of weeks ago, we hosted a webinar with our friends at Litmus. They're experts in all things email, so we teamed up to discuss video and email.

I was joined by Justine Jordan and Kevin Mandeville for a discussion on what works, what doesn't, and what to measure.

There's one thing that both of our teams are pretty passionate about: the power of using email and video together. We're firm believers that email is one of the most personal ways to reach people. After all, people are letting you into that most sacred of spaces: their inbox—often the first place that many of us look, upon waking up or before going to bed (despite the guidance of sleep experts!).

Using video and email together makes communication in the inbox that much more personal and authentic: suddenly, there's a face and a voice behind the message you receive.

Video in email vs. video with email

My favorite part of the webinar was the distinction Justine made between using video in email, versus using video with email. It may seem like a mere semantic difference, but in fact, the implications are huge:

  • Using video in email is dicey at best: many email clients don't support it, so you're giving some of your recipients a poor user experience. There are ways to mitigate this, such as specifying a fallback image, but this can force you to water down the CTAs that you use elsewhere in the email. And even when it is possible, using video in email can get you (unfairly) blocked as spam.

  • Using video with email works like a charm. The workflow is a little different: rather than embedding the video in the email itself, use a video thumbnail image that redirects to the page where the video lives. More on this below!

 

Now for some questions (and our answers!)

Attendees asked some great questions, some of which we didn't get to answer, so we're posting them (and our responses) below. We appreciate hearing your feedback and questions, so we can refine the way we teach people to use video.

1. I know you can do both, but do you feel it is better to use video with email to drive clients to a landing page or to your website? What is your preference?

 

2. Does video work on iOS?

Yes. In fact, Wistia videos work particularly well on iOS because we've implemented HLS (HTTP live stream) which makes it much quicker to load and play long videos. It’s worth noting that annotations don't work on iOS—for Wistia videos, YouTube videos, or any videos you view natively on an iPhone or iPad.

Our Turnstile email collector and CTAs do work on iOS, but the viewer is taken out of the player. In my humble opinion, video on iOS is a pretty nice user experience because people so often have their earbuds in already, so they’re in an optimal position to view video.

3. What is the best online source for creating a gif?

Folks from both the Wistia and Litmus team love GIF Brewery. They make it super easy to create and use GIFs. If you're interested in learning more about how to use GIFs, read Litmus' guide all about using GIFs in email.

4. Do you have blog posts that talk about how video is helpful from an SEO perspective?

Absolutely! We love this topic, so we've written about it a lot. The short answer is that video can be very helpful from an SEO perspective, provided that you're embedding the video sensibly and making it easy for Google to recognize the video content on your site.

If you're using Wistia to embed videos on your site, video SEO is an easy (and automatic) part of the embedding process, so you don't even have to think about it. Curious how Wistia stacks up against YouTube? Or how video and duplicate content can impact SEO? We've covered that too!

5. Is it becoming more common to use a video thumbnail image in email?

Yes! This is the best way to implement video in email. It makes the user experience as intuitive and positive as possible and decreases the risk of getting blocked as spam. You can even use selective autoplay for those coming from the email, so that the viewer has to perform no additional clicks to see the video.

In order to make your CTA crystal clear, we suggest using a thumbnail image that includes a play button. Using video in this way is likely to yield a much higher click-to-open ratio than any other CTA you can choose for your email. Not to mention that this strategy will give you data on who, what, and where people are watching, re-watching, and skipping: analytics that would be lost, were you to embed the video in the email directly.

Watch the live recording

If you happened to miss this webinar, you can watch the entire recording along with some special bonus footage that wasn't available during the webinar itself. We recorded it live, so you'll see us discussing video and email live from the Wistia studio.

Plus, our video producer, Chris Lavigne, shot some 360 footage during the webinar, if you want to check out our recording space. We're excited to push the boundaries of how we do webinars by leveraging this live footage, so please let us know what you think in the comments below if you watch it!

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