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How Much is Too Much?

The Current State of Video in Email

David Greiner was wondering if video in email could actually be done, so he decided to test it and wrote up this report on video support in email which I highly recommend you to read. Here's what he found:

The results are quite conclusive - the only reliable way to embed video in email is an animated GIF. While it does render across almost all environments, there are (unfortunately) considerable downsides:

  • Image blocking in most email clients means that it won’t be displayed by default.
  • No support for sound
  • Much larger file size and poor image quality.
  • High CPU load (especially on Macs), so you can’t have a frame rate much faster than 10/second.
  • Plays on load, user can’t control playback.
  • Doesn’t work on mobile email clients because of significant CPU load.

Because of the large file size, we also had some deliverability issues related to the embedded animated GIF we tested. ISP’s such as AOL and Yahoo wouldn’t load the original animated GIF because of its file size. Externally referenced is certainly the way to go if your animated GIF runs for more than 5-10 seconds.


In the end, it comes down to a simple question. If you desperately need some kind of video in your email, animated GIF is the most reliable way to do it. If you require sound or decent video quality however, a link from your email to the video in question is certainly a better alternative.


image MarketingSherpa recently released a report called "Marketing With Video Report: Online, TV & Mobile" that provides you with practical data and how-to guidance in the rapidly changing video marketing landscape.

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