Read on for a detailed guide on how to send a video through email, including instruction for MailChimp, Constant Contact, Outlook, Gmail & more.
With the average person receiving over 120 emails per day, it is vitally important to grab an email viewer’s attention fast, and nothing quite grabs attention like video. Still images can be great, but their static nature limits their attention-grabbing abilities, which is where videos in email shine. However, adding a video to an email is no easy task. Read on for our step-by-step guide on how to embed a video in email. We’ll show you how to create an email-friendly video as well as how to place your video in popular email clients such as Gmail and Outlook, and email service providers (ESPs) such as MailChimp and Constant Contact.
Jump to a section on how to send a video through email:
Step 1: Make your video email friendly
Step 1, Option 1: EZGif
Step 1, Option 2: Lucid
Step 1, Option 3: Gfycat
Step 2: Embed Video In Email
Step 2, Option 1: MailChimp
Step 2, Option 2: Constant Contact
Step 2, Option 3: Gmail
Step 2, Option 4: Outlook
Step 1: Make your video email friendly
With video being so ubiquitous across the web, you may find it surprising that video can not be natively embedded into an email. Translated, that means that you can’t add a video to an email as you would a web page. Email readers can not display video, but that does not mean you can not send your video through email.
There is a workaround! You can quickly and easily convert your video into an animated video GIF using web-based tools, and then embed the GIF in your email, allowing you to send a video in your email.
A few things to keep in mind: GIFs do not support sound, meaning there will be no sound in your video email. This really isn’t a big deal, as your email should be driving people to your website to watch your video. In addition, GIF files can be quite large compared to video files. Given that we want to keep our email files sizes as small as possible to ensure fast loading, we want to optimize the files size of the video to be well below the 10MB max email size that many clients enforce. That means we want to keep our GIFs to, at most, 2-4MB in size, leaving room for other email content, while also keeping email download times low.
Without getting too complex, the reason for this is that the GIF was never meant to be a video file type, but the simple file design, near universal support, and easy sharing ability allows us to look past the GIFs other limitations.
Video to GIF Option 1: EZGif
EZGif is a free online tool that will take your video and converts it to an email-friendly animated GIF file. All you need is a source video file to convert, and EZGif takes care of the rest for you. It is worth mentioning, even a tool called “EZ’ is not all that easy. With EZGif you must edit a lot of settings in order to create a good looking GIF with a small enough file size to embed into an email. If you are ok with using somewhat complex tools, click the button below to open EZGif in a new window to get started. If not, skip down to the Lucid section for an easier solution.
To convert your video, click on the (1) Choose File button and navigate to, and select the video stored on your device. Next, click the blue (2) Upload video! Button to send your video to EZGif. Give the website some time to upload your file and process it. Once complete, you will be shown a preview of your video GIF with some specs and options below
In this case, we uploaded a 4K, 6-second video. If we were to try and convert this video to a GIF without resizing or shortening, the file size would be massive, and it would never fit into an email. So let’s use EZGif’s built-in tools to edit it and see what we get for a file size.
In the image above you can see the GIF editing options available to you. The first box allows you to edit the start and end time. Trimming the beginning or end of the video is an easy way to reduce GIF size. In this case, we decided to take 1.15 seconds off both the start and end of the GIF, to reduce its length to 4 seconds.
Given our source video is just a time lapse of a sunrise, cropping a few seconds off is easy. If your video is longer and more complex, this part can get tricky. We recommend finding an engaging 2-4 second section of the video and using the start/end time settings to trim the video to a better length.
Next, we need to decide how large we want to GIF to be, in pixels. EZGif limits the pixel dimensions of its GIF exports to 600px wide, which is a great starting point for emailed GIFs, so let’s give that a try. Select 600xAUTO under the Size menu.
Frame rate is another way we can control the size of our GIFs. The more frames per second, the smoother the video will look, but that means more data needs to be stored. For example, most Hollywood movies are filmed at 24 frames per second (FPS), while most smartphones default to 30FPS. In our case, let’s give 12FPS a try, which is a nice compromise between file size and video smoothness.
Go ahead and leave the Method as FFMPEG and then click the Convert to GIF! Button. Give the website a few seconds to process the file, and your GIF will be displayed in the Output GIF area below.
Unfortunately, this resulted in a 5.27MB file, which is too large to be used for email. EZGif provides a handful of tools to help you reduce the file size, including crop, resize, speed, optimize, etc. In our case, we chose to click the Optimize button, which can help reduce the GIF file size using lossy compression.
With a little trial and error, we were able to get the GIF’s file size down to 2.75MB by choosing a compression level of 80, which resulted in an optimized GIF that was almost half the size of the original GIF, and small enough that we can include it in an email.
To save your GIF to your computer, simply click the Save button below the optimized version, which will initiate a download of the file. You may also right click on the GIF and select Save Image As… if you prefer. And that’s it! You’ve now created an animated GIF from your video that can be embedded into an email. Jump to the embedding instructions below.
All said and done, the final video from EZGif.com was saved as a 4 second, 600x338px animated GIF that was 2.9MB in size once saved on my computer.
Video to GIF Option 2 (The Easy Way): Lucid
Lucid took a different route when it comes to making GIFs from videos. Rather than asking the user to tweak a ton of different settings to make a GIF that is optimized for emailing, Lucid does the entire process automatically. The tool uses advanced artificial intelligence to determine the most engaging parts of a video, and then exports these parts as a GIF that will work with any email provider.
First, create an account on Lucid’s website. This will allow you to upload a video to the website for GIF processing. Next, click on the Upload button on the top right of the page, navigate to the video stored on your device, and select it to upload. Lucid will ingest the video file, and then process it though its AI-based brain, selecting the most engaging parts of the video to make a short preview video.
And that’s it! No fiddling with pixel size, GIF compression, trimming time, etc. Lucid does all the work for you and outputs an email-friendly GIF with the click of the Export for Email button. Once clicked, a download will initiate, saving the GIF to your local device.
It’s that simple! Lucid provided us a 4-second, 2.9MB GIF that is 600 pixels by 337 pixels, that is ready to be embedded in your email
Video to GIF Option 3: Gfycat
Gfycat is another great option for converting your videos into emailable GIF files. It is similar to EZGif in that it does not apply any artificial intelligence to select the most engaging parts of your video, like Lucid does, but it does share the 1-click export for email feature with Lucid.
Keep in mind, Gfycat’s 1-click export option is very basic. Essentially, all it does is determine the pixel dimensions of the GIF that are required to keep the file size under 2MB. So, if you have a long video, this feature will not work as the animated GIF would be so small it would be hard to understand as a video. To fix this problem, you would need to first trim the video to 3-5 seconds in length, then you would need to re-upload the shortened video to Gfycat and save as a new GIF file.
To get started with your 3-5 second video, click on the button below to open the Gfycat website in a new window. Next, click on the blue Upload button located on the top right of the page. This will load a new page where you can paste in a video URL for processing, or upload a video from your device. As we have done with the other two examples, let’s upload a video file from our device, so go ahead and click the blue CHOOSE FILES TO UPLOAD button and select your video.
Gfycat will ingest your video and encode it into a GIF file as you wait.
Once encoded, you will be redirected to a recent uploads and creations page. Click on your video’s thumbnail, and you will be redirected to that video’s page. Next, click on the More Share Options icon that looks like a paper airplane. This will cause a black layer to be added atop the video. At the bottom of this is a download GIFS button, click it.
A new shadowbox will appear, with two URLs you can copy. The top one is the one we want. Click Copy. Next, you need to open a new web browser tab (cmd or ctrl + T) and paste the URL into the web browser’s URL area. Hitting return will load the GIF in the window. Right click on the GIF, select Save Image As… (or your browser’s equivalent) and save the GIF on your device.
In our case, the 6-second GIF was exported as a 1.8MB file that is 280 pixels by 158 pixels. It’s quite small, but otherwise looks good. If you choose the Large GIF option, you get exactly that, a 4.8MB GIF that is too large for email.
Step 2: Embed Video In Email
Now that we’ve created the video we want to send through email, it’s time to do the embedding! Each email tool you use will have a slightly different way in which to add an image into an emai’s body. We outline some of the most popular email service providers and email clients below, including MailChimp, Constant Contact, Gmail, and Outlook.
If yours is not listed, don’t worry! Chances are you can drag and drop the animated GIF from your computer into the email’s body. If that does not work, try adding the GIF as you would any other image.
GIF Embed Option 1:
How to Embed a Video in a MailChimp Email
To embed a video in MailChimp you first must login to the website. Once logged in you will be redirected to MailChimp’s dashboard. On the left side of the window you will see one of two things, a vertical sidebar menu, or, if your window is small or you are on a tablet/mobile device, you will see a circle on the bottom left of the window with the three-bar menu icon. Select the Content Studio from this menu to start the GIF upload process.
Once in the Content Studio, select My Files from the sidebar menu. Here you will be shown all of the images and files you have uploaded to the platform. Click on Upload from the top right, navigate to the GIF you created in the step above, and select it to begin the upload.
Once the upload is complete, you can navigate to the email campaign in which you want to embed your video. To get there, click on Campaigns and either select a campaign you have already created, or make a new one by clicking the Create Campaign button.
If you are creating a new email, there’s a few steps you need to do before you can add the GIF to your MailChimp email.
First you’ll want to select Email from the shadowbox that appeared after you created your new campaign.
You’ll then be asked to name the Campaign and choose its type. We’ll choose Regular. Click Begin to move on.
Next you’ll be redirected to a new page with all of the email’s details. You’ll need to complete each of the sections before sending. You’re on your own for that part!
To add the video GIF to your email, click on the gray Design Email button. This will take you to a page where you select your email’s template. Any of these will work, so choose one based on your needs. In our example we will choose Sell Products.
Once the page finishes loading, you can start editing your email. For this example we will add the video at the top of our email, where the image placeholder with a shoe appears. Click on the Pencil/Edit icon to select the video GIF.
This will cause a drawer to slide out from the right of the screen, with all the available editing options. Click on Replace to select your GIF from the MailChimp Content Studio. Click on the GIF, the click on Insert on the top right of the window. You should then see a preview of your video added in your MailChimp email. Click Save & Close on the bottom of the drawer to save the changes.
You’ve now embedded a video to your MailChimp email that is sure to catch a reader’s attention!
GIF Embed Option 2:
How to Embed a Video in a Constant Contact Email
Start the process of adding a video to your Constant Contact email by logging into the website. Once logged in you will be taken to your dashboard. From here, click on the three dot meatball menu and then Library. Once in your Library, click on the blue Upload button on the top right on the page. Select My Computer and then either drag and drop your GIF onto the upload area or browse for it on your computer to upload.
Once the upload is complete, you will be shown a small preview of your GIF. Click on the Upload Files button on the bottom right of the window to finish the upload process, then click Done to close the pop up window and be taken back to your Library.
Now we want to add the video we uploaded to an email. So click on Campaigns on the top left of the window, which will take you to your Campaigns page. Click the orange Create button and then select the option that fits your needs. For us, we clicked the Email option.
This will load up a gallery of template options. Choose your template. For this example, we chose the Basic Note template.
Once the email editing page is loaded, your first step is to click on the image placeholder, then click the Replace button to add your video GIF to the email template. Click on your animated GIF from the Library and click the blue Insert button.
This will add the animated video GIF to your email. Next, fill in your copy blocks, hit send, then sit back and watch your email engagement metrics skyrocket!
GIF Embed Option 3:
How To Embed a Video in a Gmail Email
Adding a video to a Gmail email is quite simple, now that we have created our animated GIF. First, log in to your Gmail account, be it a @gmail.com account or a business account with your own domain name. Once logged in, start a new email by clicking on the + Compose button on the top left of the Gmail window.
This will pop up a “quick compose” window where you can embed your GIF in an email. Just drag and drop the GIF file onto the email, or click on the IMAGE icon and upload it from your computer. This will place it in the body of your email. Be careful, if you use the paperclip icon to attach the GIF, it will not play in the body of your email.
Congrats! You’ve now added a video to your Gmail email!
GIF Embed Option 4:
How To Embed a Video in an Outlook Email
The first step in adding a video to your Outlook email is to sign in to the app. This will take you to your Outlook inbox. Click on the blue New message button to create a new message.
Embedding a video in Outlook is a two-step process.
First, drag and drop the image into the email body, or click on attach, then Browse this computer to select your image.
Next, click on the image that was loaded above the body text, and then select the v More Options dropdown menu, then select Move image to the message body.
This will add the video to the top of your email. Drag and drop it to where you want it placed in your email.
Congrats! You’ve now embedded a video within your Outlook email!