You’ve just spent weeks, maybe months finalizing a video about your product, service, idea, or event. The piece weaves an engaging narrative with beautifully shot or animated visuals. Now you’re getting ready to send it to someone you want to take action; someone who will positively impact your organization.
But chances are, your email will read and look something like this:
“Take a look at our video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb$Eew%JL:LAnlkjd;lskjs”
Oy. Just look at that. What a mess of nonsensical characters!
Have you no shame?!
Kidding aside, it may seem like a small thing to fuss over. After all, you’re not greeting someone at the door of a movie theater: you’re sending someone a URL to a digital video file (which is likely hosted on a server you don’t even own.)
Little details add up in the minds of your clients and customers. Think of this moment like buying a diamond necklace. You would expect to carry it home in a beautiful box, but what if the clerk handed it to you wrapped in dirty newspaper? Considering that premium videos cost as much – if not far more – than a diamond necklace, your video deserves the same level of care as fine jewelry! You just have to wrap it in a different box.
It is not possible to embed and play videos inside an email. You will always be tasked with creatively sending a link that will take your viewers elsewhere to watch your video. As such, there are a lot of tiny creative decisions to consider when sending a video over email. Below are a few best practices for giving your video a premium, informative, thoughtful handoff over email.
We’ve already established that simply pasting a hyperlink in your email is bad form. But even dressing it up like this won’t cut it. If pictures tell a thousand words, then you shouldn’t link just text: link a picture, aka the video thumbnail.
Ask any professional YouTuber and they’ll tell you that their videos will often live or die based on the design of the thumbnail. It’s the elevator pitch for the video, even more than the title of the video itself.
At Flow Video, we take care of this process for our clients and design all the thumbnails for their videos. But if you’re designing one your own, here are some things to consider:
People may potentially only see the thumbnail from your video, so if that’s your one chance to make a visual impression, make it a good one.
But here’s another pro tip: don’t use a single, static image. Use a GIF!
Another fantastic way to get around not being able to play videos inside of emails is to use a GIF. This allows you to use several seconds from your video, or even a rapid montage that quickly shows off key, enticing moments from the video. The human eye is drawn to movement and color, making GIFs a superior way to attract attention and entice people to hit play.
Like static thumbnails, Flow also provides GIFs to all of our clients. Sometimes we design them ourselves using our typical post-production tools used to edit our videos. But a handy feature we’ve discovered recently comes from Vimeo.
On Vimeo, you can go into the settings of any video you upload and tap the “GIF” button. From there you can grab anywhere from 1 to 6 seconds of video and turn it into a GIF. Not only can you download the raw GIF file and place it wherever you’d like, but you can also get embed codes specifically for email (and even choose which email service you use, like Gmail or Outlook)! This also automatically places a play button overtop the GIF, as well as links it to the video in question. It’s extremely useful and efficient, and we’ve become kind of obsessed with it…
No matter what path you take, we think the most important advice is to package your video (whether it’s with an email, social media post, or however else it’s being sent into the world) with the same level of thought and care you put into making the video itself.
Former Creative Director