As the Founder of a video hosting provider, I am often asked if we'll ever see support for video within an email. It's an interesting question without a safe answer. We view our email on desktop and laptop clients like Outlook and in browser-based clients like Gmail and GoDaddy, and on our smart mobile devices. While there is some limited support on some mobile devices and perhaps on AOL, there is little to none on everything else.
Video support in email has often been a hot topic in email marketing circles. Many years ago most desktop and web-based email clients actually supported video in email. As security tightened and spam became a bigger problem, the belt was tightened and video support became a thing of the past.
With the proliferation of video on the web the past few years through improvements in software, bandwidth and available content, many are again begging the question: can it be done? For now, the answer is no. And perhaps for good reasons.
If the purpose of an email is to encourage the reader to take some action, a simple link to a web page where more information can be found or where there may be an embedded video is probably more productive than having the reader watch a video in a place typically reserved for reading and disseminating information.
One of video’s drawbacks is that it’s slow. It controls the pace at which you’re absorbing the information. So if the information can be conveyed just as easily in writing, then you’re probably better off going in that direction because people can read faster than someone can talk at them. In an email, words work best. On a web page, it's a different story.
I'm sure there may be a compelling case for in-email videos. If you've got one, I'd encourge you to comment here.
So, will video be coming soon to an email near you? Probably not. Then again, with the ever increasing rate at which technology changes, I wouldn't bet against it.