As you are probably aware, Facebook has made a huge push into video recently. There’s a lot of research that shows uploading videos directly to Facebook as posts (instead of embedding YouTube videos in posts) can dramatically improve organic reach of video posts. As a result, smart Facebook marketers are now uploading all their videos to Facebook directly. It’s been working so well that as of October of last year, there were actually more video views on Facebook than on YouTube! You can boost your Facebook engagement simply by doing some cross-channel marketing and reaching out to email subscribers who haven’t seen the cool new videos now available on your Facebook page. And an embedded video, a static image that looks like a video, or an animated gif that’s a montage of different videos are all great ways to get more eyeballs on your Facebook videos.

Molly K. McLaughlin is a New York-based writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering technology. She has tested and reviewed all sorts of software, mobile apps, and gadgets. Before launching her freelance business, she was an editor at PC Magazine, covering consumer electronics, followed by a stint at ConsumerSearch.com, a revie... See Full Bio
.GIFs are effective for images with simple graphics, limited colors, text images (like logos), etc. .GIFs usually are limited to 256 colors. But, it supports animation, so it is good for email design. Also, these files can be compressed into a smaller file size. Animated .GIFs do not support animation the way Flash files do, but allow you to add movement without much programming or coding. You can use jQuery to generate animated effects.
So put aside the idea that email marketing is as outdated as a fax machine, and see what adding some movement to your emails might do. Even if you don’t have extensive resources, the two lighter-weight alternatives to videos are easy to implement. Every email marketer needs to know about what’s possible now. Maybe a few of you will be inspired enough to try just one animated gif.
Getting started shouldn't be daunting. Generally, you'll know right away whether you like a user interface (UI) or not, and most of the contenders we reviewed offer free trials so you can poke around before dropping any cash. Luckily, most of these services have modern-looking graphics and uncluttered layouts. These are not the complex business software UIs of yesterday. Be careful, though, as some free trials require a credit card. This means you need to be sure to cancel your trial before you're billed if you're not happy with the service.
So what's the take-away here? It’s probably still a year or more until HTML5 video in emails is more widely used. Some of the bravest email marketers might leap in now, like Chanel did with this HTML5 email that StyleCampaign created, but those will be the exception. Again, what really matters for your results is which email clients your list uses most. It’s a good idea to check your email analytics to see which email clients your subscribers use. Who knows, you might actually see an opportunity for some video testing.
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