How Can I Email a Video?

Category: Video

Filming or downloading video files and sharing them with friends is all the rage these days. It's easy to record a video if you have a good cell phone, a Webcam, or a portable video camera. Many cell phones will send video files to other phones. You can upload videos to YouTube or your own Web site, and send people URLs to your films. But many people are stumped when it comes to emailing a video. It really isn't that difficult…

How do I Email a Video?

Emailing a Video

Video files can be attached to email messages just like any other file. When the recipient clicks on the attachment he or she will get the option to save or open the file. "Open" means "play with the default video player app" which is likely to be Windows Media Player or QuickTime. At least, that's how it should happen if your email client isn't overly protective of your online security.

Some email clients block the opening of attachments by default. You have to save the attachment, then open it later; the theory seems to be that you should take time out to "think about what you're doing" and perhaps run a virus scan on the file. Generally speaking, an email client will advise you that it's blocking the opening or downloading of a file, and tell you how to disable this security feature entirely or just for specified file types. It's a good idea to leave blocking enabled for files ending with executable extensions such as .exe, .com, and .bat. But video files such as .mp3, .mpeg or .avi are not a security risk.

Video files can also be embedded in the body of HTML messages so that they play as the recipient reads the message. This is accomplished in one of two ways.

First, and most economical, is to embed the HTML source code for a YouTube player window containing the URL of your video on YouTube. Then it will appear with play, pause, stop buttons; rewind and fast-forward bar, etc., just as such videos do on Web pages. Every video's page on YouTube has a button you can click to get the video's "embed in Web page" code; you just copy and paste it into the text of your HTML email message.

Video email marketing is very effective, according to experts in the "direct email marketing" industry. According to one researcher, the same email marketing message gets a response (click-through to the offer) 20-27% of the time when it contains just text and static images; but over 50% of readers bite when a video is included!

Video emails grab attention because they are relatively rare, and because people are conditioned to watch TV. (Motion captivates humans; after all, it might be a snake, or a potential mate.) Indeed, it's video email marketing that is responsible for email clients' default blocking of video content; many users don't want to see another "male enhancement" ad, and they definitely don't want its audio track blaring out of their desktop speakers at work!

Let me wrap this up with a contrarian point of view. I often get cutesy videos emailed to me, and I always think that it's a tremendous waste of inbox space. It can also be a big waste of time for recipients that don't have a fast internet connection, because video files tend to very large. So please consider NOT emailing that video. Upload your video to a free online storage site, and then just send a link to your friend. This way, the recipient can decide if they want to download that multi-megabyte file. And because of the way that people forward these things on and on, the net result will be that only ONE copy of the video needs to exist, rather than hundreds or thousands of copies cluttering up inboxes and hard drives all over the world.

Do you have something to say about emailing videos? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "How Can I Email a Video?"

Posted by:

Mark Jacobs
29 Jul 2010

I use DropBox; big enough to send a home video and also great for photos and online backup

Posted by:

19 Apr 2011

I clicked the embed button, selected all and copied the code into an html email and sent it to myself. But when I opened the received email, I could see the lines of code that I had copied - but it did not play!

Posted by:

William Johnson
12 Jun 2012

How to get a Webcam video to open in the body of an email. (NOT as an attachment)?

Posted by:

William Johnson
25 Jun 2012

You said: Video files can also be embedded in the body of HTML messages so that they play as the recipient reads the message. This is accomplished in one of two ways
However, you only mentoned ONE way, You Tube.
What's the other way?

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