By Andrew Angus on July 7, 2009

Embedding videos in email can either help to gain your audience’s attention or it can cause deliverability problems. This post is about how a marketer increased their conversion rate more than 50% by embedding video in email.

A UK company, Haven Holidays, were experiencing a plateau in email campaign conversion rates. So Carolyn Jacquest, Online Marketing Executive for Haven Holidays, and her team “wanted something new and exciting that would bring the Haven experience to life”. They decided to improve conversion rates by embedding a video in the body of their email campaign message – something frowned upon by many email marketers.

The Haven Holiday’s concept was inspired by data found in MarketingSherpa’s Email Benchmark Guide 2008 which says that online consumers react positively to video, which achieves almost twice the clickthrough rates of static images. Haven Holidays’s email service provider convinced Jacquest and her team that an embedded video can be delivered successfully and will catch people’s attention

Here is a summary of the 5 steps taken by Haven Holiday, as laid out by Santhana Naidu, at Marketing Analytics:

  1. Improve reputation – To improve their sender reputation Jacquest and her team got rid of the addresses on their list that were bouncing in the months leading up to the test
  2. Produce video – They decided to produce a video which revolved around the parks’ amenities. Jacquest said, “We focused on entertainment and the varied activities that can be experienced. Things like our indoor and outdoor pools, our live bands, pantomimes for the children, etc”.
  3. Test video clip size – Jacquest and her team tested the length of the promo video to make sure email systems wouldn’t bounce the email because of the file size and that downloading the video email wouldn’t take forever. To test the best size they sent clip sizes to in-house accounts for the top 10 most popular Web mail providers of the UK-based audience. From the test results it was determined that the best length for delivery was about 20 seconds.
  4. Create test design – They picked an Easter holiday email for the test. A 320×180-pixel video automatically started playing inside the preview pane when the message was opened. Regardless of testing, they were aware that some user would not see the video, for example, Gmail users would not see the video unless they have the HTML images turned on. To account for this issue they included a link “If you can’t see our video… Click here” to a page where a 60-second version of the clip could be viewed.
  5. A/B test subject lines – The Holiday Haven team tested the word “video” in the subject line, which did make the subject line a little longer than they usually preferred. The two subject lines they tested are:
    1. “Picture yourself at Haven this Easter, watch our video now” (58 characters with spaces)
    2. “Come and enjoy the Best Easter Holiday ever!” (45 characters with spaces)

For the Holiday Haven team, embedding a video in emails worked! The Easter campaign experienced a 3.38% conversion rate which was 50.2% higher than prior non-video campaigns and their email campaign had a deliverability rate of 96%! They were not able to track how many of the buyers viewed the email in the body or on the web page but they were still happy with the increase in conversion. This proves that video in the body of a message can work. The subject line containing the work “video” experienced a higher clickthrough this indicates that people are interested in video.

Creative samples from Haven Holiday’s email campaign

Haven Holidays website


 

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