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Hey everyone. This is my first post here, I wasn't sure if it should go on stack overflow or here, but this seemed like the best option.

The question is pretty straightforward. Can I embed a youtube video in an HTML email? I did a quick test and it didn't work. Would it be dependent on the mail client?

Let me know if anyone has a solution to this. Thanks.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, it would depend mostly on the client. Even if you manage to get the correct tags to the client, it may not have Flash enabled, or it may not show embedded objects.

The other part is their mail server, which may sanitize HTML before sending or storing it. But few do that.

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1  
Thanks for the answer. I did a bit more research and found a good link which breaks down the results in different clients. The end result is only one client works. Its safe to assume flash cannot be used in emails sent to recipients which are not in controlled environments: campaignmonitor.com/blog/post/1974/the-truth-about-1 –  Andy Groff Nov 20 '10 at 0:10

The problem is that video in email support isn't universal and unfortunately – probably won't be for some time.  Email marketing service provider - Pinpointe (http://www.pinpointe.com), tested video support in various email clients and the final verdict is that only Apple mail supports video in email reasonably well and Gmail supports a preview of youtube videos. There are a handful of possible ways to embed video with an email – here's a quick rundown of the possibilities:

  • Flash.  Flash can be embedded in a web page by using an OBJECT tag with an EMBED tag placed inside, to embed a Javascript that will detect if Flash is installed. But… Email doesn't support Javascript.  Bummer – that means there's no way to detect if Flash is installed.
  • Quicktime.  In web design, Quicktime is typically inserted in a web page the same way as Flash is – using the OBJECT and EMBED tags to embed a Javascript snippet.  Strike-out for Quicktime.
  • Windows Media. Again – embedding Windows Media in a web page relies on using a OBJECT tag to embed the media file.  Struck out again.
 

  • Embedded MPEG. Turns out that embedded MPEG will work on Outlook 2003.  That's it.  And even so – you're sending an embedded video file.  Net result: Not practical.
 

  • Animated GIF. Aahh. An animated GIF should look just like a GIF image, right?  Well Outlook 2007 explicitly does not support embedded animated GIFs (Outlook only displays the first frame of an animated GIF – thanks Microsoft…)  For other email clients that do support animated GIFs – there are still some tricky considerations.  In a nutshell:

    ✓ Animated GIF's don't include sound. Animated GIF emails are mostly not mobile friendly.

    ✓ Animated GIFs are still subject to image blocking.  Since 70% of email clients now block images by default – the image is likely to be blocked altogether.

    ✓ No user control – the animated GIF plays on opening

Check out this article for more info: http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/embedding-video-in-email-overview

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