Cinemagraph or Video in Emails – What Works Best for Your Campaign

By on December 26, 2018

As history suggests, man has always been fond of pictorial representation. Ancient cave paintings, hieroglyphics or even the modern trend of conversing using emojis, man has always shown affinity towards visual representation. While many literary geniuses have churned out volume-bound timeless classics, visual elements helped us understand more in less time. Same has been the progress in the field of email design.

Evolved from an interdepartmental mode of communication, emails nowadays rely on a balance of 80:20 text to image ratio for easy understanding. Modern advancements in email development has made pictorial accompaniment of text not just restricted to static images but inclusion of different rich media in emails

Importance of rich media in emails and types of rich media

Rich Media defines a broad range of digital media like a static image, an animated GIF, a video or even an audio snippet. The significance of using rich media in emails is that they rely on the sensory features of the viewer to convey some message. Most prominently used forms of rich media in emails are:

Static image

Photographs or still-images that speak thousand words. Paired with your email copy, they convey the message easily.

GIFs

An animated image format that is comprised of multiple layers of still images changing at a specific frame rate to give an illusion of movement.

Videos

A short clip of video that is embedded on to the email.

Cinemagraph

Newest kid on the block, cinemagraphs are animated GIF but with a difference. In a cinemagraph, the element in the foreground is still while there is a small movement in the background giving a cinematic effect to it.

Cinemagraph or Video: what works best

From a conversion point of view, Videos up to 2 minutes long get the most engagement. An initial email with a video receives an increase click-through rate by 96%.

Cinemagraph, as we stated earlier, provides a cinematic effect to the animated GIF and is a great way to capture the attention of the viewer. With a cinemagraph placed as the hero image in your email, the viewer might get mesmerized and would be inclined to read the email copy.

In order to understand what works best for your email campaign, it is important to understand the pros, cons and purpose of each.

Cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs are created by recording a clip of video, masking certain portion in foreground using image editing tools, keeping the background in a sequential loop, making certain edits and export the final product as a GIF. This way you gain two advantages:

  • Significantly reduce the file size
  • Reducing the loading speed of your email.

From the rendering point of view, 90% of email clients support GIF and non-supporting email clients such as Outlook and Lotus Notes will display the first frame of the cinemagraph. This way the user experience is not ruined.

Cinemagraphs can be used to showcase your products in an alluring way or showcase different USPs in a visual form. The drawback of a cinemagraph is the fact that it is purely for increasing aesthetic purpose. Since there is not much movement involved in Cinemagraphs, you cannot use it to convey any form of message.

Videos

Videos are the Swiss-knife for any marketer. Videos can be implemented in different ways as per your requirement. Videos are great ways to:

  • Build brand image
  • Showcase brand personality
  • Provide a great user experience

Videos can be implemented in your email campaigns in the following forms:

  1. Demo Videos: Demo videos showcase how your product works or highlight on different features of your product.
  2. Brand Videos: Build awareness around your company and create brand story around your vision, mission and history.
  3. Event Highlight Videos: A short clip showing highlights from a former event can raise the curiosity levels of your customer and boost engagement.
  4. Expert Interviews: Everyone craves knowledge and when you present an interview clip with an industry expert, you are surely going to see a spike on the click-through rates of your campaigns.
  5. Customer Testimonials: Boost trust in your customers by featuring couple of testimonials in your welcome emails. Not only this explain how your products help your customers solve their problems, it also acts as a trust-building exercise to garner faith in your brands.

While videos in emails are a great concept, there are couple of roadblocks in the journey to becoming best form of media in email.

  • Email client support for video is limited to Apple Mail, iOS mail, Mozilla Thunderbird and Outlook for Mac. For the non-supporting email clients, you need to hide the video layer with a still image or a GIF with a hyperlink for the actual video. Additionally, you can also use a cinemagraph as the fallback for video.
  • Video creation takes a lot of time from ideation, scripting, production and finally editing for end user.

Wrapping Up

Video in email is a multi-purpose content form but is time consuming process with a lot of scope to go wrong. Cinemagraphs, on other hand, are easy to create and look visually appealing but lacks a purpose. If your aim is to raise the curiosity in your customers, an occasional cinemagraph works well and if your aim is to educate your customers, you can include a video in your email with a hyperlink for those who cannot view the video in their email.

About Kevin George

Kevin George is the head of marketing at EmailMonks, one of the fastest-growing email design & coding companies. EmailMonks specializes in crafting email newsletter design templates, free responsive HTML email templates, and PSD to HTML email conversion. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes & jazz, and he breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on the EmailMonks blog.
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