Community Forum

Embed YouTube Video in Email

Trying to embed a YouTube video using YouTube’s embed code into a outgoing marketing email. I can see the video in the editor after the code has been inserted into the source, but when I send myself a test email the video disappears.

Anyone else experience this? A support ticket has been submitted.

Unless something changed, embedding in email doesn’t work. You have to link to YouTube, or (better) use a landing page on your site with the embedded video.

TLDR; You can embed video, but it won’t work in most email clients. Also, Outlook sucks and if your company uses it, you should boycott it.

So to understand why this doesn’t work, you need to understand the fundamental differences between web and email.

With the web, there’s really only a couple HTML rendering engines like Webkit you need to support. With email, there are dozens and dozens of rendering engines that support different things and have their own quirks. For instance, web Gmail JUST started supporting media queries. Most versions of Outlook use Word’s HTML rendering engine (shame on anybody reading this that uses Outlook still). Most emails are fundamentally built around tables. Seriously.

The only way to do this is using the HTML5 video tag. At one point, it worked on (web-based version, not that desktop mess your corporate winery makes you use) and Apple Mail. I believe the latter eventually dropped support. But those are the only clients that support it. Which, after you remove Apple Mail and Gmail, are basically none of your contacts.

We’ve tried using it. Nobody saw the video and we won’t do it again until email supports it better. If you’re really interested, I think Mailchimp has a drag-and-drop way to implement it, but even they warn you that nobody will see it.

You can read more here:

Anyways, like @ElJefe said, you could do a couple of things:

  • Post a screenshot image of the video with play button that just links to the YouTube version.
  • Depending on the length and style, post an animated GIF (though, it won’t look nice and you should keep it under 500kb).

So long story short, this isn’t a Vin65 bug. This is just the state of where email is right now. When making emails, just remember that email is different from the web and half the stuff you want to do won’t work and the other stuff will work, but only on certain clients with weird hacks.



Thanks Jeff! I’ll probably just design a image looking like YouTube and hyperlink. Thanks!

Thanks Ed! Very educational and surprising. I’m an old MailChimp guy and some of the highest converting email campaigns we had incorporated video through their video content block. Not sure what email clients our customers were using my guess is the right ones… Anyway thanks for the education and your time.

Nailed it. Hi Ed. Long time no talk. :slight_smile:

I think an important point that hasn’t been covered is that even when video is supported with the inbox provider, you don’t get the tracking metrics. So to put a preview image with a play button laid over it (linking out to your externally hosted video which will give you even more watch-time metrics) not only attracts more clicks but gives you more (some) actionable data. Depending on your video hosting and email service provider. ( Recommend Wistia )

If you get real tricky, you can remarket and set up automated triggers based on how long, or to which second they watched.

Thanks Corben!

Would have been a good A|B test at the time. Embedded video versus another method. Just looking at our client statistics, the clients that support video embedding represent less than 1%. I’m guessing there were other variables that made it a successful campaign.

Hey, partner! Hope all is well!