How to Embed Videos in Emails to Outlook and Gmail users

Ever wanted to make it super easy and embed a video in a client or prospect’s email to reduce the friction for them to play? There are pros and cons to every approach, but there are a few options to consider on how to fake it.

Option 1: GIF/Screenshot of video as the teaser image

The first option is to use either a GIF with a short clip or a screenshot from the video as a teaser image for the video. Incorporating player elements from YouTube or your other video host can help reinforce what to expect. imgflip or giphy will both help you make a GIF out of a video clip that you can then embed into the video, and set the link target to the real video link on YouTube.

Pros: GIFs are animated in the email and most email readers support GIFs now.

Cons: Extra graphics work and if your images get blocked, they won’t look right.

Option 2: Paste in the link, and let the email reader figure it out

It’s 2021 and we expect our cloud email readers to understand they’re looking at a link for the most popular video-sharing platforms. Gmail will automatically show YouTube links as “attachments” at the bottom of the email, and Outlook will sometimes show the video as an embed in the email. All you do is paste the YouTube link into the email and let the reader figure it out. Note: if you’re sending the link from ActiveDEMAND, you may need to turn off tracking on the link so that the email reader can clearly see that it’s a YouTube link.

Pros: Easy

Cons: Inconsistent experience across email readers. Gmail pretty reliably shows the attachments, Outlook was more inconsistent in my testing, and mobile phone email readers don’t do any special embeds.

insert link example

Checking the “do not track” option on this link will not encode it

inserting video into email example

Here’s what a working automatic embed looks like in Outlook (when it works)

video automatic embed example

Gmail shows YouTube videos as attachments to the email