Ultimate Guide: Embedding Videos in Outlook and Gmail

Are you tired of sending plain, text-only emails that fail to capture your audience's attention? Look no further! In this step-by-step guide, we will delve into the battle of the email giants: Outlook vs Gmail. But this isn't just any ordinary comparison; we will be exploring the exciting world of embedding videos in your emails. Get ready to revolutionize your email game and leave a lasting impression on your recipients. Let's dive in!

Written by
Andre Smith
Updated On
June 20, 2024


In today's fast-paced digital landscape, compelling and interactive content reigns supreme. One of the most engaging forms of content is undoubtedly video. With the human brain processing visuals 60,000 times faster than text, the power of video cannot be underestimated, especially when incorporated into a medium as versatile as email.

Video content plays an essential role in email marketing, acting as a bridge that connects businesses with their target audience on a more personal and engaging level. It has the potential to convey a message more effectively and leave a lasting impression, leading to higher click-through rates, improved conversion, and increased customer loyalty.

As for the platforms that allow this fusion of video and email, two names often come to mind: Gmail and Outlook. These popular email clients have unique features that make embedding videos a straightforward process. However, the methods and results can differ, making it crucial to understand how each works. This article will provide you with a comprehensive step-by-step guide to embedding videos in your emails via both Gmail and Outlook. By the end, you'll have the know-how to leverage this powerful marketing tool, regardless of the email client you prefer.

The Case for Embedding Videos in Emails

Video content has been proven to dramatically increase the engagement rate of emails. According to HubSpot, including a video in an email can boost click-through rates by up to 300%. The reasons are simple:

Increase Engagement Rate

Videos have the power to capture attention instantly. Their dynamic nature stimulates visual interest and curiosity, encouraging the recipient to interact more with the content. Additionally, videos can convey complex information in an easily digestible manner, further keeping the audience engaged and invested.

Enhance Visual Appeal

Emails with videos stand out from the rest. They break the monotony of text-heavy content and provide a visual treat for the recipient. Videos can help to showcase your brand's personality, illustrate product functionality, or tell a story in a captivating way.

Improve Click-Through Rate

The simple act of including a video in your email can significantly improve click-through rates. This is primarily because videos are highly shareable; people are more likely to forward a video email to their friends or colleagues, thus extending your reach and increasing the likelihood of new prospects.

Embedding Videos in Gmail Emails

Gmail is a popular email client globally and has some unique features that allow for the inclusion of video content in your emails.

Introduction to Gmail's Video Support

Gmail does not directly support embedded videos in the traditional sense; instead, it uses video thumbnails linked to an external platform where the video is hosted. This method ensures the email remains lightweight and decreases the likelihood of delivery issues.

Detailed Steps to Embed a Video in Gmail

  • Uploading the Video on a Hosting Platform: The first step involves uploading your video to a hosting platform such as YouTube or Vimeo. Once the video is uploaded, it's accessible via a unique URL.
  • Generating the Embed Code: On your chosen hosting platform, find the 'Share' or 'Embed' option, usually located below the video player. Click on it and copy the generated embed code.
  • Embedding the Video in the Email: In your Gmail draft, click on the 'Insert Photo' icon at the bottom of the compose window. Instead of uploading a photo, paste the URL of the video in the 'Web Address (URL)' field and click 'Insert'. This action will create a clickable thumbnail of your video in the email body.

Pros and Cons of Embedding Videos in Gmail Emails

  • Pros: Gmail's method of video embedding ensures that the emails are less likely to be marked as spam, as they are not burdened with heavy file attachments. It also enables the recipients to view the video in a separate browser tab, ensuring a better viewing experience without email client restrictions.
  • Cons: As Gmail does not support actual video embedding, the videos cannot play directly within the email. Instead, recipients are redirected to an external platform (e.g., YouTube) to watch the video.

Tips for Enhancing the Viewer Experience in Gmail

  1. Make sure your video thumbnail is attractive and relevant to grab your recipients' attention.
  2. Include a clear call-to-action (CTA) near the video thumbnail to encourage viewers to click and watch the video.
  3. Test your emails on different devices to ensure the video thumbnail displays correctly and the link works.

Embedding Videos in Outlook Emails

Outlook, Microsoft's flagship email client, offers a slightly different process and set of features for including video content in emails when compared to Gmail.

Introduction to Outlook's Video Support

Similar to Gmail, Outlook does not directly support the embedding of videos in emails. However, you can embed a video link that, when clicked, will direct the recipient to the platform where the video is hosted. This is done by inserting a video thumbnail and linking it to the video URL.

Detailed Steps to Embed a Video in Outlook

  • Uploading the Video on a Hosting Platform: Before you start, upload your video to a hosting site such as YouTube, Vimeo, or even Microsoft Stream if you're working within a Microsoft environment. Upon uploading, a unique URL will be generated for your video.
  • Generating the Embed Code: While in your hosting platform, look for the 'Share' or 'Embed' option, usually situated below the video player. Click on it and then copy the embed code or URL provided.
  • Embedding the Video in the Email: In your Outlook email draft, insert a relevant image that will serve as your video's thumbnail. To do this, click on the 'Insert' tab, select 'Pictures,' and choose your image. Once your thumbnail image is in place, select it, go to the 'Insert' tab again, choose 'Hyperlink,' and then paste your copied video URL into the 'Address' field. Now, when recipients click the thumbnail image, they'll be taken to your video on its hosting platform.

Pros and Cons of Embedding Videos in Outlook Emails

  • Pros: Embedding a video link in Outlook emails, similar to Gmail, helps maintain the email's lightweight nature, thus reducing the risk of delivery problems. Also, the recipient gets to view the video on the hosting platform, which typically offers a better viewing experience.
  • Cons: The drawback here is the lack of native video embedding support. Recipients can't play the video within the email itself; they're redirected to an external site instead.

Tips for Enhancing the Viewer Experience in Outlook

  1. Use a compelling image for your video thumbnail to encourage recipients to click through.
  2. A clear call-to-action (CTA) near your video thumbnail can improve click-through rates.
  3. Always test your emails across different devices and email clients to ensure the thumbnail displays properly and the video link functions correctly.

Outlook vs. Gmail: Comparing Video Embedding Features

While both Gmail and Outlook offer methods for including videos in emails, their features vary in several key aspects.

A. Ease of Use

Both platforms provide straightforward procedures for embedding video links. However, Gmail edges out slightly due to its user-friendly interface, which may be easier for beginners to navigate.

B. Compatibility with Different Video Formats

As both platforms rely on external video hosting services, compatibility with video formats comes down to the hosting service used, such as YouTube or Vimeo. These platforms typically support a wide range of video formats.

C. Performance and Speed of Video Playback

Performance and speed of video playback largely depend on the video hosting platform. However, since videos open in a new tab or window, users can fully leverage the playback features of the hosting platform, ensuring optimal performance.

D. Compatibility with Different Email Clients

Emails with embedded video links from both Gmail and Outlook are generally well-received across most email clients. However, it's crucial to note that the display of the video thumbnail may vary between different clients.

E. Viewer Experience

The viewer experience is comparable in both cases since clicking the video link redirects the viewer to an external platform. The experience can be optimized by choosing high-quality thumbnails and ensuring the video content is engaging and relevant.

Overcoming Common Video Embedding Issues

Video embedding in emails is not without challenges. Here are some common issues and how to overcome them:

Troubleshooting Video Playback Issues

Video playback issues are usually due to problems on the hosting platform or network issues on the viewer's end. Ensure your video is correctly uploaded and publicly accessible on the hosting platform and recommend viewers to check their internet connection.

Resolving Compatibility Issues with Different Devices and Email Clients

Test your emails across different devices and email clients before sending them out. This will help ensure that your video thumbnail displays correctly and the link works across all platforms.

Solutions for Videos Not Displaying Properly

If the video thumbnail isn't displaying properly, check the size and format of your image. In some cases, adjusting the dimensions of the thumbnail can resolve the issue. Always include alt text for your images so that if the thumbnail does not load correctly, the recipient will at least see a description of the video content.

Optimizing Video Content for Email

To ensure your video email campaigns reach their full potential, it's vital to optimize your video content. Here are some key areas to consider:

A. How to Create Compelling Video Thumbnails

The video thumbnail serves as the gateway to your content, so it needs to be eye-catching and enticing. Use high-quality images related to the video content, include compelling titles or captions, and consider using elements that create intrigue or a sense of urgency.

B. The Role of Video Length and Dimensions in Email

Ideally, videos in emails should be short and concise, generally around 1-2 minutes long, as people often have short attention spans when browsing emails. Regarding dimensions, it's best to follow the guidelines provided by your video hosting platform.

C. The Importance of the First Few Seconds of Your Video

The first few seconds of your video should be engaging enough to draw in viewers. Start with a captivating visual, an interesting question, or a quick overview of what the viewer will gain from watching your video.

D. Using Captions and Subtitles for Accessibility

Including captions and subtitles in your videos makes them more accessible to people with hearing impairments and also to those who may be viewing the video in a sound-sensitive environment. It also aids in comprehension and information retention among viewers.

Complying with Email Regulations and Best Practices

It's crucial to adhere to certain guidelines and regulations when sending out video emails:

Respecting Privacy Laws When Sending Video Emails

Ensure that you have consent from recipients before sending them video emails, especially for marketing purposes. This is in line with laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S.

Ensuring Your Email Doesn't Get Marked as Spam

Avoid using spam trigger words in your email subject line and body. Make sure your email list is clean and up-to-date, and always include a clear unsubscribe link in your emails.

Importance of Providing Alternative Content for Those Who Can't Access the Video

Not everyone can or wants to watch a video. Always provide alternative content, such as a text summary or a transcript of the video, to cater to all your recipients and improve accessibility.

Measuring the Success of Your Video Emails

Measuring the success of your video emails is essential to refining your strategy and improving future outcomes.

Understanding Key Metrics

Key metrics include the view rate, which indicates how many recipients played your video, and the click-through rate, revealing how many viewers clicked on a call-to-action or other link within your email. Other metrics like shares, comments, and conversion rate (how many viewers performed a desired action like making a purchase or signing up for a service) can also be insightful.

Using Analytics Tools to Measure Video Engagement

Various analytics tools can help measure video engagement. Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo provide comprehensive analytics, including the average watch time, audience demographics, and viewer location. Email marketing tools also offer analytics on email opens, clicks, and more.

Adapting Your Strategy Based on Data and Feedback

Feedback and data should guide your video email strategy. For instance, if a video has a high view rate but a low conversion rate, it might be engaging but not persuasive enough to prompt action. Always be ready to adjust your strategy based on your findings.

Case Studies of Successful Video Email Campaigns

Exploring successful video email campaigns can provide valuable insights and inspiration. Here, we'll share examples using both Gmail and Outlook.

Examples of Successful Video Email Campaigns Using Gmail

One notable example of a successful Gmail video email campaign is from "Warby Parker," a glasses retailer. They used video emails to showcase their products in real-life scenarios, which significantly boosted their email engagement and conversions.

Examples of Successful Video Email Campaigns Using Outlook

Microsoft itself has successfully used video email campaigns in Outlook. For example, when they launched Microsoft Teams, they sent out video emails to their corporate users, explaining the product's features through short, engaging clips.

Key Takeaways from These Case Studies

The success of these campaigns underlines the effectiveness of video emails. Some key takeaways include:

  • Videos that showcase products or explain services in an engaging, real-life context can be highly effective.
  • Concise, informative videos that provide value to the viewer can significantly boost engagement and conversions.
  • Tailoring your video content to your audience's needs and interests is crucial for success.

Future Trends in Video Email Marketing

As technology continues to advance, video email marketing is poised to evolve and embrace exciting new trends. Let's explore some potential future trends:

The Potential Impact of Emerging Technologies (like 5G, AR, and VR)

  • 5G Technology: The advent of 5G technology will revolutionize video email marketing by enabling faster download and streaming speeds. This will allow for higher-quality video content, seamless playback, and more immersive experiences.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): AR integration in email can provide interactive experiences, allowing recipients to virtually try products, explore 3D models, or engage with branded experiences directly within the email.
  • Virtual Reality (VR): VR has the potential to transform video emails into immersive storytelling experiences, creating virtual environments that transport viewers to another world. This can be especially impactful for industries like travel, real estate, or entertainment.

Evolving Viewer Expectations for Video Content in Emails

  • Personalization: Viewers will increasingly expect personalized video content tailored to their preferences, demographics, and browsing behaviors. Marketers will need to leverage data and automation to deliver highly relevant and personalized video experiences.
  • Interactivity: Interactive elements within video emails, such as quizzes, polls, or clickable hotspots, will engage viewers and encourage active participation, driving deeper engagement and enhancing the user experience.
  • Mobile Optimization: With the dominance of mobile devices, optimizing video emails for mobile screens and mobile-specific features will become even more critical. Responsive design, concise content, and touch-friendly interactions will be key.

The Future Role of AI and Machine Learning in Video Email Marketing

  • Video Recommendation Engines: AI-powered recommendation engines can analyze viewer behavior, preferences, and past interactions to deliver personalized video recommendations within email campaigns, boosting engagement and conversions.
  • Automated Personalization: AI and machine learning algorithms can automate the personalization of video content, adapting it in real-time based on individual viewer data, context, and intent, creating a hyper-personalized experience.
  • Smart Video Analytics: AI-powered analytics can provide advanced insights by analyzing vast amounts of data from video engagement metrics, allowing marketers to identify patterns, optimize content, and make data-driven decisions.
  • Dynamic Content Generation: AI-driven technologies can generate dynamic video content on the fly, tailoring videos to individual viewers based on their preferences, demographics, or browsing history.


In conclusion, the integration of videos in email marketing has proven to be a powerful strategy for engaging audiences, enhancing visual appeal, and improving click-through rates. Throughout this article, we explored the process of embedding videos in both Gmail and Outlook, the two leading email clients. We also discussed the pros and cons, as well as provided tips for optimizing the viewer experience in each platform.

Videos in emails offer a unique opportunity to captivate recipients, tell compelling stories, and deliver messages with impact. Whether you choose Gmail or Outlook for your video email campaigns, both platforms provide effective methods to include video content, albeit with slight differences in execution. Gmail allows for video thumbnails linked to external hosting platforms, while Outlook enables the insertion of a thumbnail image with a hyperlink to the video URL.

When considering Gmail and Outlook for embedding videos, factors such as ease of use, compatibility, and viewer experience come into play. Gmail provides a user-friendly interface, while Outlook caters to a wider range of email clients. Each platform offers its own benefits and limitations, and your choice may depend on your specific needs and preferences.

However, the key takeaway is that both Gmail and Outlook enable businesses to leverage the power of videos in their email marketing campaigns. By embracing this approach, you can increase engagement, drive conversions, and deliver messages that resonate with your audience.

As with any marketing strategy, experimentation, and optimization are crucial for achieving the best results. Continuously test different video formats, lengths, and messaging approaches to understand what resonates most with your audience. Leverage analytics tools to gain insights into video engagement metrics and adapt your strategy based on data and feedback.

In the ever-evolving landscape of email marketing, it's important to keep an eye on emerging trends. The potential impact of technologies like 5G, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) present exciting opportunities for more immersive and interactive video experiences. Additionally, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will further enhance personalization and customization capabilities.

In conclusion, embedding videos in emails is a compelling way to engage your audience and elevate your email marketing campaigns. Whether you choose Gmail or Outlook, the power of videos in conveying your message cannot be overlooked. Embrace this innovative approach, experiment with different techniques, and optimize your strategies to create engaging, memorable, and impactful video email campaigns that resonate with your recipients.

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