Video traffic comprised more than half (52%) of all wireless data usage in 2011, according to the “Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2011-2016,” which technology provider Cisco Systems released this month. Going forward, that number is expected to shoot up significantly, according to the report, with video accounting for more than 70% of all mobile data traffic by 2016.
Meanwhile, email access via mobile devices continues to grow, according to a report released in December—“Mobile, Webmail, Desktops: Where Are We Viewing Email Now?”—from email reputation company Return Path. According to the report, email opens on mobile devices grew by 34% between April and September over the previous six month period.
These two trends may have many marketers looking to expand their use of video within their email programs, which is a smart move, said Shawn Naggiar, customer revenue officer at marketing automation company Act-On. However, there are some things every marketer should consider first, he said.
Don't embed the actual video in your email, Naggiar said. Instead, post it to your own site or, even better, upload it to your company's YouTube channel so you can leverage your videos across an integrated marketing program.
In addition, there are four other strategies that can help build the effectiveness of video in email marketing:
- Watch your length. Videos should be short and to the point—typically between 30 seconds and two minutes. “The attention span of prospective clients is short. Be sure to deliver your core marketing message within the first minute of your video just as you would with an email marketing campaign,” Naggiar said.
- Don't get too wordy. The primary reason a marketer links to video content is to get the prospect to click through and watch it. Unfortunately, some marketers end up dropping video into a regular email newsletter, while others feel the need to bolster the video with plenty of text. “Typically, I like to see the link to the video prominently displayed and a few sentences that are very direct and to the point. [For example,] "This is what you'll see if you click through.' Too much text will turn people off,” Naggiar said.
- Create a transcript. Although video can be a compelling option, there will always be some recipients who are too busy or distracted for video collateral. Rather than losing those people all together, marketers may want to consider creating a transcript of crucial video material, Naggiar said. You can place the transcript on a landing page and put the link below the video link in your email. And there is an added benefit to this as well, he said. “Even those who watch the video can use that text to share the content with other decision-makers in their company,” he said. It also provides a boost to your search engine optimization and can help your search team create integrated ad buys.
- Review and use analytics to shape future campaigns. You wouldn't launch an email campaign without consulting analytics, nor should you when it comes to videos referred to in emails, Naggiar said. “Video allows marketers another avenue for effectively tracking engagement,” Naggiar said. “Video links within email messages allow you to track open rates, play rates and references to friends.” With this data, he said, marketers can make more informed decisions regarding future email marketing campaigns.