100% Increase In Email Click Through Rate (CTR) With Video

…and 4 other ways to boost Open Rate and CTR

If you had to pinpoint the greatest challenge in email marketing it would be increasing viewer “engagement.” This is not a new concept since advertisers have had to deal with media saturation and viewer over-stimulation since the dawn of advertising itself.  While we are all inundated with email spam every day, email is still a cost-effective way to drive traffic if you have a well-qualified email list and plan each campaign around a promotion or powerful call to action. If you are looking for a nice boost in response rates, lead conversions, or inquiries via email, we have sent millions of emails and can say without a doubt that incorporating video into the strategy improves results appreciably. Here are 5 different ways to improve Open and Click Through Rates.

Subject and From Line

The challenge of engagement begins with the email subject line and the “from” name and address. The two of these elements combine in the email inbox to create the first impression of the email. Creating a powerful and effective subject line is a real art form. Changing a single word can double open rates, so the subject line is not something come up with right before sending the email. In contrast, the subject line is probably the most important single element. If the subject line doesn’t engage the audience, the game is already over. Although there are entire books written about how to create effective headlines, for the sake of brevity I will only say that you should write five to ten competing headlines and then hand them to several friends, office staff, or next door neighbors. Have them pick the top three from the list. Tally the votes and test the top two against each other if your email program allows for split testing. This is a minimum level of testing and if you have spent money or time (or both) gathering a list, then you are wasting it all if you do not test the subject lines.


Headline Inside The Email (lining up the mirrors)

This seems like a rather simple bit of advice, but we’ve seen dramatic increases in clickthrough rates (engagement) when there is a headline in the email that very closely matches the intent and message of the email subject line. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. The email subject line acts like a filter for an audience with an interest in that subject line. It’s no shock then that the audience would be more motivated by seeing the same message displayed prominently at the top of the email piece.


Video Player Skin Graphic

Since most email platforms do not play video in an email, when we use video with an email campaign we always opt for a clickable element that leads to a page where we show our video to the audience. We use a 


URL variable that toggles on specific videos based upon demographic and other database features so that the audience sees targeted messages rather than a single generic sales pitch. To get the highest clickthrough rate, we have found that the image of an actor with an obvious play button within a standard video player skin gets the most clicks. The image of a video player can increase the click through rates over an email with a simple “click here” link or button. The viewer clicks the image thinking they might see the video right in their email, but their viewing experience is not much different. Instead the click opens a browser and a video starts playing, which is what they expected. This approach can literally DOUBLE the CTR.


Data from 12 different email campaigns (total of 75,000 recipients)  within the
same exact industry within the same 30 day period.


Animated Images in Email

Even though a major email program like Outlook doesn’t play animated GIF files, a large portion of email platforms will play the animation. We have found that a simple flashing element will catch the viewer’s attention and cause an increase of 10%-15% in click through rates for the email. A flashing “Play” icon works well, but you can be creative here and highlight something related to the campaign. The simple flashing play button works better than an animated looping video simulation.

Mobile Solution

In the past few years, smart phones have changed the place where many of us first encounter an email. If you don’t have a mobile version of your website landing page and video, then you will be missing out. Since Flash is no longer supported by the latest Android OS (and of course not by Apple either), you must use a HTML compliant video format and player. Flow Player is a free cross platform player that is very easy to use. However, you should remember that all Apple devices will require the viewer to open the video in a separate video player and will then have to click on “Done” to return to the website. This might change the scripting of your video content somewhat. For example you would not refer to landmarks on the site by pointing or saying “right up there” since the website will not be visible from within the video player on a smart phone. We recommend that you use an element of the site artwork as a background to the video and embed it in the mobile version so the artwork is continuous with the surroundings. When a smart phone user watches the video it will appear to have simply zoomed in closer to the site to see the video, since the background will be a piece of artwork from the website.