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Complete guide to embedding video in email

Ilma Nausedaite Ilma Nausedaite
· 15 min read · Email marketing · December 13, 2021
Video creator, Marcin.

How does a 20% increase in open rates and 3X more click-throughs sound? That's the kind of boost embedding video in email can give you.

Your average viewer’s attention span is less than 5 seconds, which explains why video helps with newsletter engagement. People love to watch videos instead of reading a lot of text.

It’s the reason Youtube has over 2 billion users.

The use of video in newsletters has been around for a while, yet many businesses and freelance email marketers are still realizing its full potential. 

Did you know…

  • 84% of consumers have been convinced to make a purchase after watching a video

  • Viewers can remember 95% of a message when they watch it in video form, compared to 10% when they read it 

  • Using the word “video” in your email subject line increases open and click-through rates and reduces the unsubscribe rate

  • In 2020, 92% of marketers agreed that video is an important part of their strategy

  • 88% of video marketers are happy with the return on investment (ROI)

OK, enough convincing. Video is an excellent way to give your emails an engagement boost, and now we're going to show you how you can get started. We’ve made it dead simple for you to embed videos in your email campaigns.

When we talk about video email marketing, it simply means embedding video in your email. 

It’s one of the best ways to get people to open and engage with your emails. Why? Because people love videos. They are easier to consume than a long article, especially for those of us with tiny attention spans (some researchers believe that goldfish have longer attention spans than us)!

There are a few things to consider before embedding a video into your newsletter. For starters, the video should be relevant to your newsletter topic. How does it fit into the rest of your messaging?

Best practices for using video in email newsletters

If the video is the right fit for the newsletter—excellent! You’re halfway there. Let’s take a look at a few other points to consider before you use video:

  • Be careful not to overuse videos. Yes, they work well, but if you are inserting videos in every newsletter, they'll lose their power

  • Insert the video under a headline or description so that your email subscribers know what they are going to watch

  • Let people know there is a video by mentioning it in the subject line. It will increase opens

  • Before you send the newsletter, preview it to ensure it looks good on mobile

  • A/B testing: You can test GIF vs static image, video location in the email, or mentioning the word "video" in the subject line

Now you're ready to embed your video. We added a special block to our drag & drop editor so you can insert a video in seconds. Let’s get to it!

If you're one of those people who has a 5-second attention span, we’ll start off with a video tutorial just for you!

Step-by-step instructions for the Drag & Drop Editor

The video block can be found in our Drag & Drop Editor, or our pre-designed templates.

You’ll notice 2 main tabs—Content and Settings.

In the Content tab you’ll need to copy/paste your video URL address. You can use links from the most popular video-sharing platforms, such as YouTube and Vimeo.

Videos in email how to use it

You can choose 2 ways to display the video in your newsletter: animated GIF or static image. It’s important to note that most email clients, including Gmail and Outlook, don’t support the technical requirements needed to play the video inside the email. The solution is to display a GIF or a static image in its place.

Animated GIFs create a moving picture preview while the static image displays a single image in the block. You can upload any static image if you don’t like the default image from the video. When uploading GIFs, bear in mind that the file size should be no bigger than 500KB, and keep the number of frames to a minimum.

The video link field indicates where the user will be taken after clicking on your video block. It’s linked to the video source by default, but you can use the option “Links to custom link” to redirect the user elsewhere.

In the Settings tab, you can customize the background of your video block and select a different style Play button.

Embed unsupported videos with the fake video block hack

If you’ve uploaded videos on a platform unsupported by the video block, you can still add them to your emails in MailerLite with this nifty workaround!

1. Take a screenshot or record a GIF of your selected video (make sure to include the play button in your screenshot).

2. Upload the screenshot to your file manager, and add it to your image block.

3. In the right-hand sidebar, add the URL of your video in the field marked Enter URL.

And that’s all there is to it! When subscribers click to play your video, they’ll be directed to the URL you entered in the block settings.

Fun fact

A video play button usually generates more clicks than any other CTA!

You can also embed video using the HTML editor

If you prefer to develop your newsletter with our HTML editor, you can write and use your own code to embed a video in your emails. This will enable you to embed videos that are watchable directly from your email, but remember—not all email clients display embedded emails.

Partially supported
Not supported
Apple Mail (MacOS) Apple Mail (iOS 12.4/13.3) Gmail
Outlook (Windows 2003, MacOS 2011/2016) Samsung Email (Android 6.0) Outlook (Windows 2007-2019, iOS, Android)
Mozilla Thunderbird (MacOS)
Orange (Desktop, Android) Yahoo (Desktop, iOS, Android)
SFR (Desktop, iOS, Android) AOL (Desktop, iOS, Android)
Proton Mail (Desktop, iOS, Android)
Orange (iOS)

For this reason, if you want to embed a video within the email, it’s important to include a fallback image. Any subscribers using an email client that doesn’t support video, will instead view the fallback image which will link to your video. 

You can embed a newsletter video with the following HTML5 code:

<video poster=“Cover image file URL” width=“100%” height=“50%” controls=“controls”>

<source src=“Video file URL” type=“video/mp4″>

<a href=“URL of video”><figure><figure><img src=“Fallback image URL” width=“100%” height=“50%” alt=“image instead of video”></figure></figure></a>


The “video poster” image URL is the cover image that you would like the video to display. 

The “source” video file URL is the link to the file you want embedded in the email. 

The “URL of video” is the link to the video uploaded online, for instance, a Youtube video. This is where subscribers will be directed when they click on the fallback image.

The “Fallback image URL” is the link to the image file you want to be displayed when subscribers are using email clients that do not support video.

Let’s look at some video block examples to get your creative juices flowing.


Hiroshima is an independent art space dedicated to exhibiting performing arts, live music, and contemporary thought. They have great video content to showcase their artists and use video blocks quite successfully by producing eye-catching gifs.

Videos in email inspiration Hiroshima


Founded in 2008, MODEKUNGEN® offers a wide selection of clothing and accessories online. They use video blocks to give a behind-the-scenes view of the company and their photoshoots.

Videos in email example by MODEKUNGEN

MailerLite webinars

If you’re on our email list, you’ve seen our webinar invitations. Marcin always includes a video that explains what people will learn in the webinar. This works well because Marcin also hosts the webinar, so people can “meet” him beforehand.

mailerlite embedded webinar video


KALBA is an educational company based in Lithuania. They show a preview of one of their tutorials, using this animated GIF with a play button.

KALBA embedded video example


AmiGO is a Dutch travel company. In this embedded video, they show their customers having fun at a beach sports day. It’s a visual way of showing the value they offer, and it catches the eye straight away.

AmiGO embedded video example


Readdle creates productivity apps for iPhone, iPad and Mac. In this new feature preview email, they’ve used a combination of photography and graphic design and used this as the thumbnail image for their video.

Readdle embedded video email example


Is there anything that gets your senses tingling quite like the image of delicious food? ThermPro makes it hard to resist clicking on their video with this thumbnail of the ingredients for their stuffed winter squash recipe. 🤤

thermpro email with embedded video

Snazzy Little Things

Created by Jeanette, Snazzy Little Things is a beautiful and inspiring decorating and DIY blog. In this video email example, she uses a stunning static image from her trip to Israel for her video thumbnail that entices the subscriber to click through and watch the video.

Snazzy little things video email

If you’d like some more inspiration, check out our video newsletter gallery! And if you're unsure how to design your newsletter, we also have lots of email templates to help you get started.

If you aren’t using MailerLite’s Drag & Drop Editor, there are other ways you can insert a video thumbnail into your email. Here are the two main techniques that you can use.

Adding a video link to a static image

The easiest method is to select a static image of the video and add a play button. Let’s try this out using one of our MailerLite videos.

1. Take a screenshot of the video

We’ve taken this screenshot from our video blocks tutorial (it seemed fitting)!

Video screenshot

2. Add a play button to the image

If your screenshot doesn’t have a play button, you can use a free tool such as

All you need to do is upload your image, either using a URL or importing it directly from your computer. Then, select the play button you want to display and click ‘Create Play Button Image’. 

Then you can either copy or download the new image. Easy peasy!

Adding play button to static image

3. Add the image to your email

Now, it’s time to add your image to the email. Make sure you add it to the body of the email, not as an attachment! For this example, we’re using Gmail.

Adding video image to email

4. Add the video link to the image

Find the link that you would like to use, and then highlight the image in your video email. In Gmail, this part can be tricky, because if you just click on the image, it will only give you the option to resize the image (see below).

Resize image option in Gmail

Instead, you need to click and drag your mouse over the image. This will highlight the whole image in blue. In the bar below, you will then see the option to add a URL to your image. Paste in the YouTube or Vimeo URL of your video.

Highlighting the image in Gmail

Congratulations! You have just embedded a video link in a static image. Send a test version of the email to yourself to make sure the link works, and then you’re good to go.

Adding a video link to a GIF

Want to show a preview of your video as an animated GIF? No problem! Just find the URL of the video, or have the downloaded version ready on your computer.

1. Open your favorite GIF-maker

There are lots of free GIF-making tools that you can use. For this demonstration, we’re going to use Upload your downloaded video file to the tool, or paste in the URL.

imgflip GIF making tool

2. Use the tool to create your GIF

In imgflip, you can click and drag the arrows to decide where your GIF starts and ends. When you’re happy with your GIF, click ‘Generate GIF’.

Creating your email GIF

3. Add your GIF to the email

Just drag and drop the file into your email body. Below the GIF, create a call to action (CTA) with the URL, where people can view the full video. And you’re done!

Bear in mind that Outlook 2007 - 2013 and Windows 10 do not support GIFs, and they will show them as static images. So before you send out GIFs in your emails, check your mailing list and see which email providers they’re using, to make sure that your email will display correctly.

Did you know that 86% of people would like to see more videos from their favorite brands? People love video, so why not benefit by inserting them into your newsletter?

P.S. Already using video in email marketing? Share your experiences in the comments. How do your customers react to video? Are they more engaged?

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2018. We've now updated it with new tips and examples.

Ilma Nausedaite
Ilma Nausedaite
I’m Ilma, COO at MailerLite. I love seeing our customers succeed. When they win, we win (like being named one of the top 5 fastest growing SaaS companies). Email is my passion, although I took a rather unusual path. Before MailerLite, I worked in finance and art, which turned out to be the perfect mix for marketing.
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