We are living in a short-attention span digital visual age, and studies have shown that adding video to your eNewsletters can boost reader engagement by as much as 200-300%. So what are the content and technical considerations that can have the most impact on the performance of your eNewsletters when adding video to them?
At APPLICA, back in early 2017, we added a feature that allowed our clients to upload videos to the interactive eNewsletters that we deliver for them. Since then we have been able to observe and define what we consider to be the best practices for adding videos that seem to have the strongest impact on eNewsletter open rates and clickthroughs. These observations can be thought of in two aspects: content considerations and technical considerations.
We have seen a wide range of video styles and topics being used by clients. From a best practices standpoint, it does not seem that any particular video style or topic is what is driving the impact on reader engagement. But rather, it seems to be more a matter of how well the video is coordinated with, and compliments, the overall eNewsletter.
In other words, does the video seem to be strongly an extension of some element of the eNewsletter, such as one or more of the following:
- extension of your company logo
- extension of yourself
- extension of your content
For example, we have seen effective videos which are very "corporate," and can be thought of an extension of the company's logo used in their eNewsletter. For these, the topics tend to emphasize the unique selling propositions of the company. And the styles of these videos tend to be business-like, even when using the more casual "whiteboard" video approach.
Videos that can be regarded as extensions of yourself include, of course, "selfie videos." This is another very effective video format, even though this type of video is very different in topics and style than the other two extensions. Although most of the videos that are an extension of yourself tend to be selfie videos, we have also seen effective use of an "interview format," where the subject is being asked questions from someone either on or off camera. As you might imagine, the more sincere you come across in the video, the better impact it seems to have on subscriber engagement.
And the last of the extensions are videos that compliment the content of the eNewsletter. For example, videos that showcase knowledge about home maintenance projects are logical extensions for an eNewsletter that includes home care reminders and tips.
So if what is keeping you from adding videos to your eNewsletters is deciding what your video should be, you might want to start by considering which extension you want to use: extension of your company logo; yourself; or your eNewsletter's content. And not every video needs to be an extension of the same eNewsletter element. Changing the extension from issue to issue can be very engaging to your subscribers.
There are also some important best practice technical considerations that we have observed over the years.
Avoid embedding: The first technical consideration is to not embed your videos into your eNewsletter. Embedding the videos directly into the eNewsletters can trigger spam filters, cause subscribers to get very annoyed if it causes videos to get downloaded to their smartphones, and have conflicts with certain email programs. For our client's eNewsletters, at APPLICA we developed technology that allows clients to upload their videos, and then we place images into their eNewsletters that have a clickable video play icon on them.
Keep it short: For a video included in an eNewsletter, keeping the length to under two minutes seems to be the most effective. If you have a longer video than this, then it can be better to have a link and callout for the video. Similar to the way that you might have a link to a full article.
Consider the audio: The best videos seem to be both easy to watch and listen to. So when putting together your video, consider background noise and overall sound levels. Depending on the recording environment, something as simple as using a lapel mic can significantly improve the sound quality of your video, as compared to just using the mic on your recording device. Another consideration is adding royalty-free background music to your video, which can make even a simple video come across much more professional.