Video on your site and your emails: A primer

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videos in email

Here is a question we’re asked very often, “I want to embed a playable video in my email blasts” No. Can’t do it.  Thanks to the spammers, phishers and miscreants of the internet, nearly all of the email providers  and email clients block embedded video. Apple Mail is the only email client that allows embeddable (and playable) videos in the body of an email. So your only realistic options are to add a link in the email blast that leads back to a web page with the video, or incorporate a low-tech animated .gif file. While they do not allow sound, you can send a short video clip in an email blast with animated .gifs.

If you want real video on your site, here are your options:

You can embed the video directly in the web page.
This is generally not a best-practice for four reasons:

1) You limit the viewbility. If the viewer does not have the player that you set up (QuickTime, Flash, HTML5, etc), they will not be able to see the video
2) Many embedded videos are not set for streaming, so the entire video has to buffer before it begins to play. Your viewers may have to wait a long time before something happens on screen
3) If more than a few visitors try to view the video at the same time, the video may slow down or stutter
4) The video won’t be responsive. It does not dynamically adapt for the bandwidth available or the device being used to view it (phone, tablet, desktop, etc.)

You can host the video on YouTube or Vimeo for free.
Generally acceptable because the videos play anywhere, anytime and are responsive. But there is:

1) Limited privacy
2) Plenty of advertising
3) Not much control over how the video player looks, so integration with your website is limited.

You can host the videos with a private video hosting company.
Now we’re talking. You get the anywhere, anytime, any device functionality but with near total control over privacy, appearance and distribution. You can brand the video as you see fit and decide how it is shared on the internet. There are many companies out there: Brightcove, Wistia, Ooyala, Sprout Video, Vzaar, Vidyard and others. Each has its advantages and limitations.

The downside: They all charge a fee.


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