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Coming to an Inbox Near You

Are you interested in using video as part of your e-marketing plan? You’re not alone. A lot of our clients are calling with questions about it. With recent advances in technology, it is becoming more viable, but there are still some drawbacks. We thought it would be helpful to provide an update on the where things stand.

Video email always used to mean a message with a link to a site: click on link, wait a few seconds and then see the video referenced in the email. Roundabout, but industry norm, right?

Things are changing.

There are now two categories of video email: click-to-view video (as described above) and video in email (video is embedded to play within email; no click-through).

But, neither Flash, Java or any of the other traditional video-playing technologies work with video embedded in email. There are some alternatives, however.

An animated GIF sometimes approximates a video-like experience but without sound. Animated images/videos work everywhere except Outlook 2007; are subject to image blocking and are problematic when viewed on mobile devices.

For now, animated GIFs are the only realistic choice for getting videos to “play” in email. But new options are on the way. For example:

Google just announced a new feature in which Gmail identifies YouTube links to allow users to view the video without click-through. This suggests that inboxes may eventually open up to embedded video content where either the sender or the video source is clearly identifiable and trusted.

As certification and authentication processes evolve, we might soon see wider availability of “true” video email…But maybe the important question is not how to put videos in email, but whether you should put videos in email. We’ll discuss that topic in our next entry.

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