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Interactive Email Marketing through rich media applications

There are additional elements for a successful activation aside from the most important of factors, relevance, rich media content such as animations or video integration. Though websites and online stores are already using the different ways of presenting products and services, technical hurdles for displaying content in e-mail marketing still exist. Animations and videos offer new, creative options for displaying services and products through email contact with customers. Although email clients are still limited technically by the imaging capabilities of Flash, video or Java and through other restrictions, alternatives still have great potential for increasing click rates and conversion in online shops.

The following alternative ways of integrating videos and animations into emails have potential:

Animated GIFs and static images

It’s not absolutely essential to provide fully animated videos since similar effects can be achieved with even less effort. Converting video into animated GIFs provides a simplified graphic optimization in email content. However, the integration of a play button in the browser is preferable as the most common alternative. By accessing a corresponding link, the HTML version offers expanded functionality. A simple but effective trick.

HTML 5 and integrated video players

The foundations were laid to more actively promote rich media through better content integration with the further development of HTML 5 standards in 2013. However, while the specifications are already known, only a few email clients are able to actually implement these standards. The features from Apple and the email service Outlook.com are worth mentioning here. For a more integrated use of this media option, we should try to support it through tested alternatives to guarantee less problematic operation and presentation.

Third party service provider (trustedDialog - Direct video mail)

Rich media applications have interesting optimization potential for much more than just email market-ing. Email client providers also have a vested interest in providing such content as a standard format. The trustedDialog initiative by United Internet Media offers a service for this: from direct integration of videos through direct video mail to its own interactive display format through ordering forms or similar content as direct rich media mail for interactive communication with the receiver. This makes a "quick start" without annoying browser warnings possible and also allows for a bandwidth-optimized delivery and functionality.

Conclusion: The possibilities for moving images in e-mails are rising rapidly and offering new creative design options. However, they are just one way of arousing the recipient’s interest. If the offers, claims and timing don't line up, the effect fizzles as quickly as did before.

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Lasse Matthiesen Executive Consulting Director

Steinhöft 9
20459 Hamburg
T: +49 (0)40 202288-8300
Email: l.matthiesen@saint-elmos.com