Rich Media in Email Marketing

Does rich media mean that you’ll get rich as an email marketer?  Well..maybe.  

Rich media is a type of advertising technology that includes audio, video or animation within the advertisement. Rich media enables users to interact rather than just view static display, and is becoming increasingly popular in email marketing. 

According to David Daniels of Forrester Research,  “video in email offers a 2-3x performance leap versus traditional email.  It’s a logical leap, as we intuitively grasp the power of visual communication over simple text.  Video in email represents a significant evolutionary advance of digital media, not unlike the leap that broadcast TV represented over broadcast radio.  It is a game-changing step forward that will soon pull almost all companies in, and then separate them by how smartly they leverage their new advantage.” 

Implementing a rich media strategy, however, is still a “professional’s” game.  Creating quality media, and ensuring its delivery is a challenge.  It involves a separate set of rules and more sophisticated analytics for measuring results.  Considering the ROI involved,  it’s something that no marketer should ignore.  Making sure you understand how the ROI differential will be measured is also something that should not be ignored.

There are basically two types of rich media you can use in email marketing… streaming media or attachmentsStreaming media can be either embedded or click-to-play.  With embedded streaming media, the media  engages when the email opens…creating  instant interaction with the recipient. However, embedded video is incompatible with many email climates and environments. 

The preferred method of streaming video email delivery  is called “Click-to-play” or “Click-to-view.”      This method is more reliable and significantly increases deliverability over embedded video.  In addition, when the recipient opens the email, they won’t potentially be startled by the unexpected noise of the video.

Streaming media make the message more memorable, and the recipient doesn’t have to worry about the security of opening an attachment.  However, with variable delivery routes and methods, the delivery of video, audio or animation could be broken or choppy.

An attachment, on the other hand, creates a better delivery method.  And, it can be passed on, giving it added value.  However, since the media is delivered as a executable program with a built-in player, it takes longer to download.  Some recipients either won’t be comfortable downloading the attachment…or won’t take the time to download and open.  Attachments also increase the risk of being blocked by spam filters.

If you are considering including rich media in your email marketing campaign, I think it’s highly beneficial, and more cost-effective in the long run, to hire an email marketing company with experience in video email technology.  One company that is well worth considering is WhatCounts.  Founded in 2000, they are a technology leader and innovator in permission-based email service provider space.    In December, 2009, they launched “the industry’s first fully-automated video email platform.”   Because their video files are stored in a “cloud” and managed by WhatCounts servers, inboxes are not clogged with large attachments and delivery is “transparent.” 

Bottom line…rich media in email marketing is still not inexpensive.  Is it worth implementing?  Probably. 

Is it worth researching and determining its full potential in your business?  Absolutely.

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