Vimeo, the ‘other’ online video platform besides YouTube, is doing pretty well in the subtle email marketing department.
Here’s their recent newsletter which had the following subject line:
“Which video won $100,000? (And other cool stuff.)”
What’s good about the above email is that, even though it has a clean layout, the content is presented just neatly enough to be attractive. For instance, there’s no black in the email save for the Vimeo logo itself. Black makes content look harsh, but don’t forget there’s no true black in nature (see also Design tip: Never use black by Ian Storm Taylor). Promoting the winner of $100,000, the fact that they are now available in French and German as well as availability on Xb0x 360 makes that they’re spreading their wings without screaming for attention.
The way Vimeo communicates here is far more friendly than quite some companies do these days. Let’s hope other companies can also find a more subtle, friendlier tone of voice in their email marketing messages.
Apparently as of now Chrome supports HTML5 in Hotmail the best: after some experimenting by video-in-email company BombBomb they have found that Chrome is the cool kid: controls for displaying/running the video are shown just fine. Other browsers that should be able to show it as well are Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4 and the latest version of Safari.
Other notes on the workings:
BombBomb notes that Hotmail currently strips the <video> tag, which means you can only play the video by right-clicking it.
Here’s a handy dandy link about HTML5 and video, courtesy of Ros Hodgekiss as well. It’s an extensive page about video on the web – in particular about using HTML5, the video-tag and browser support info.
After Interactive Views I believe this is finally a step in the right direction for email clients. The odd thing is that coming from the same company there’s such a wide gap in support between Hotmail and the current Outlook version, 2010. The latter doesn’t even support some basic sets of HTML tags, while Hotmail now even supports HTML5 and all the goodies magic it allows. I think Microsoft should act quick and ramp up support in Outlook 2010 (or upcoming future editions of Outlook) for basic HTML tags as wel as HTML5, so the experience for everyone using those products will be the same across those different clients.
Furthermore current support seems to be best in Chrome, while it still is only the third browser in the market (although growing fast). Combined, IE and FF still have 71% of the market while Chrome has just over 20%. This means that using HTML5 (video) for Hotmail would have an email marketer first scan his list for email client -and- browser usage (where possible) to make sure what will work or not.
Nevertheless, supporting HTML5 is great to see coming from Hotmail: it’s an indication that the technology is on the move with the big guys, and with growing support it might finally be time for email marketers to give video in email a go for certain target groups.
Last night I came across this beautiful email promoting a new TV series called Game of Thrones: it containes a 15 sec video trailer of the series. The video is integrated using Liveclicker html5 email video tech and has an animated gif for when your webmail or email client does not support html5. Subject line: The wait is finally over…
Here’s a screenshot:
You can find the video here, and the animated gif looks like this:
The full version of the email can be found here, which is much longer than the email screenshot above.
You can guess why I think this is an email winner, right? Here’s my points:
- Using html5 video in email, -with- fallback to animated gif
- Snippet text is there: Catch this year’s must-see TV blockbuster
- Beautiful design of the complete email
- Nice balance between text and imagery
It’s good to see that new web technology is starting to have a presence: especially with html5 which imho still is one of the most crucial new developments for email marketing.
Just a few days ago, Anna Yeaman of Style Campaign posted an update on their blog about DIS tech, or Dynamic Image Server tech. This technology displays dynamic (video) imagery on the fly in a user’s email client. After viewing the demo video (available below for watching) I was highly impressed, so I got in touch with Anna and requested some more information. Below the video are some questions and answers about this new technology.
How does it work?
The technology works based on time of day, location, device used and other variables. With these factors taken into account the images are generated on opening the message in real-time accordingly. The countdown to Xmas was a nice example: each day (of 5 days in total) the imagery in the received email was dynamically generated to include a new one. Take note that the receiver’s time zone is taken into account in this example. The streaming technology is DRM compliant. There is in-built copy protection, as the video content is never cached on the client device.
Is it difficult to use or make content for?
Using it is simple and content can be created in a normal fashion. The actual sending is not done by Style Campaign, just the dynamic imagery hosting part. After the content creation, the dynamic image urls are sent to the sender who can use them in their message(s).
Info for the tech geeks
DIS is a proprietary HTTP server. It’s written in C and built specifically to serve dynamically generated images quickly and efficiently. All drawing routines are written in highly optimized C code for maximum performance (100xPHP or 10xJava) minimizing concurrency when under load. With a relatively small memory footprint it allows for maximum scalability.
More info on the technology, with extra examples can be found on the Style Campaign website here. I’d like to thank Anna Yeaman for providing the info and the imagery!
Chanel sent out an email yesterday including a 700px wide shot of a model showing off Chanel products including nail polish, makeup and more. The moment I saw the image with the inset text ‘les tentations de Chanel’ one thing hit me: if only she would move.
Here’s the email:
The center image was a whopping 332kb of data, which is not going at it lightly. However if the image sells the product, why not make sure you make it the best quality possible. Back to my previous note of ‘if only she would move’. The way this is put together and presented lends itself perfectly for using video. This could be part of a way bigger online campaign including YouTube and several other social media channels through which the product could be presented.
So hello Chanel marketing department, I’m expecting a nice play button over this image soon which will play the video inside the email. No big deal, right? I have a bet running on this, you still have about 4,5 months