‘How can I embed a video in a Pardot email?’ is a frequently asked question. As video continues to grow in popularity, it’s no surprise that more marketers want to leverage video to spice up their emails. Unfortunately, there is not a straight-forward answer to this question – in fact, embedding videos in emails is considered against best practice.
Here is the problem: you may have pasted the embed code into the email’s HTML, and can see the video render in the Pardot Email Builder. However, when you send a test email, you may find that the video doesn’t appear. What’s going on? Let’s get into the nuts and bolts of the issues, alternative options, and advice for embedding videos in emails if you are still sure you want to take this option despite the risks.
Embedding Videos in Emails: Are You Sure?
Anyone that has worked with email design will know that some email clients are easier to code for than others (cough, Outlook). Video doesn’t follow the web’s universal support, meaning it’s not supported by numerous email clients. According to Email on Acid, the clients that do support it cover 62% of the market. However, a few providers have done testing to get to the bottom of this issue and have come back with different results; experimentation that Campaign Monitor carried out delivered some shocking results (in short, video was not reliably supported by any provider, except from Apple Mail).
Best practice dictates that you shouldn’t embed a video directly in an email. What you should do instead is host the video on a video hosting platform; YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia are all popular options (more on Wistia and Pardot later). In your email, add an image of the video start screen, and hyperlink the image to the video.
There are a couple of tricks to make the experience smoother for prospects:
- Autoplay: add ?play to the end of your video URL, eg: https://youtu.be/m-nHN0vIO5E?play
- Start position: add ?t= and the number of seconds to the end of your URL to have it start playing at a certain position (use the YouTube built-in functionality to calculate the number of seconds), eg. https://youtu.be/m-nHN0vIO5E?t=47
Benefits of Linking to Videos (Instead of Embedding)
Linking out to videos hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or other video hosting platforms will give you the benefit of additional tracking. If a prospect has to click on an email link to access the video, they are indicating interest. We can have their score increase, or other Completion Actions, when they make that click.
About the Wistia Connector
Wistia is a video hosting service that measures engagement with videos – in other words, how long a prospect watches a video. By embedding the Pardot code into a Wistia video code, you can track prospect’s watch %, eg. if a prospect watches 75% of the video, increase their score by 20.
HTML5 is the latest version of HTML, and how video can be embedded in emails. As I said, video doesn’t follow the web’s universal support, meaning it’s not supported by numerous email clients – this is because support for HTML5 is limited. HTML5 does give you the option to define a fallback image, which will display in the place of the video when email clients cannot load video. Here’s more information on how to use HTML5 to embed videos in emails.
Future of Pardot Email
The Lightning Email Builder for Pardot is possibly the most anticipated enhancement for Pardot marketers. We saw a first preview of the Email Builder at Dreamforce ‘19, during the B2B Marketing Keynote. The unveiling was accompanied by many gasps and picture-snapping – no surprises, then, that it grabbed the #1 spot on my Pardot Roadmap picks. The Lightning Email Builder (currently) is in Pilot/Beta testing.
The new builder will be based on content blocks (components) with drag-and-drop functionality, in other words, you drag a component from the selection and drop it onto the email canvas you are building. In the Salesforce Lightning Experience, you are able to use standard components, create your own custom Lightning Components, or download partner-developed components from the AppExchange. An example I caught a glimpse of in the demo was Vidyard, an online video recording and sharing platform. This could be one to watch in the future!
Note: please, please, please respect the Salesforce Safe Harbor statement! This advises against making any purchasing decisions based on ‘forward-looking statements’, which the article you’re about to read contains a lot of. I wrote this article based on the information shared in the preview demo during the B2B Marketing Keynote at Dreamforce ’19; if details have changed since then (or when the builder becomes general available) please bear in mind that this is speculation to the best of my knowledge.