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Videos in email marketing – what are the metrics?

A recent Forrester Research report suggests that embedding video links in email marketing messages can double or triple click-through rates.

I have started to get email messages with embedded videos in my inbox. At this point, they all come from one source, my alma mater, Princeton University. In June, I received three email-with-video messages, one from the alumni association, one from Annual Giving, and another from Princeton Project 55 a separate alumni organization that gave me a public interest fellowship the year after graduation.

Inbox screenshot showing email messages

I’m not sure if they’re all using the same technology. Two are hosted on Princeton’s Annual Giving campaign site. The Project 55 one is a link to a video/slideshow on YouTube. So, although they’re all from Princeton, they are different in detail.

Each of the videos is a few minutes: the Project 55 one is 4 minutes long, the Project 55 one is about 4 minutes, the Princeton pause one is 2 minutes long. For this reason, they sat in my inbox for a while, waiting for the time I have a couple minutes of idle time and want to stay in front of my computer.

Princeton University's email marketing with video embedded

My connection to my alma mater is a deep one, with fond memories and deep friendships, and so these videos are actually quite compelling reminders of that experience. Surprise, at the end there’s a request to continue my support of the University’s work, of Project 55′s work, building on the positive experience recapitulated in the brief video.

So, even though I did not watch the videos immediately, I bet these emails are worth it for Princeton. Perhaps clickthrough is less prompt because the “investment” of time to view the video is greater. But, I’m not sure how extensible this model is. For instance, if I got an email with a video link from another organization, to which I was less strongly connected, I’m not sure I’d open it. If I got a video email from a business, I’m not sure I’d open it.

I’m curious if the stats hold this up – how people respond to these video messages. Forrester’s research suggests that the videos are compelling. I wonder if it is just because they’re new? I also wonder if Forrester’s statistics will hold by the time that everyone is mailing everyone else links to their videos, if this will just saturate. And, I’m curious if your gut on this is like mine, that these videos are suited well to applications like University alumni giving, but not from strangers.

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About Dunrie Greiling

Dunrie Greiling is the Chief Operating Officer at Pure Visibility, but her favorite job title at PV was Director of Happiness. She co-authored the book Internet Marketing Start to Finish, published by Pearson Education, Que Publishing. At her personal blog, Scientific Ink, she writes about things like yoga, knitting, and travel. She can be found on Google+, LinkedIn, and microblogs on Twitter as @dunrie.

2 Responses to "Videos in email marketing – what are the metrics?"

  • Chris Davis
    June 17, 2009 - 5:15 pm Reply

    I agree. If I received an email with video embedded from a source I don’t know or trust, there is no way on God’s green earth I would open it. The fear of viruses and identity theft is still there even when I know and trust the source. I would click a link to watch a video on a website though… maybe even from a stranger if it was something I was interested in.

  • Dunrie Greiling
    dgreiling
    June 24, 2009 - 6:02 pm Reply

    Hi Chris,
    I like what you said about the perception of risk based on the source. So, maybe these videos cement an existing relationship but might not start a new one?
    D.

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