From an email thread the other day on the issues associated with video email ...
A marketer who has not done video in email wanted to know: Since presumably no one would embed a video file in an email message (would they?), and since it therefore arrives externally through a recipient's Internet connection, does video content in email affect spam filters?
This is a great question. Basically, most solutions deliver video from an external source/url (often the Akamai network) into the email when it's opened. But in order to render the video, recipients require a plug-in application -- such as Windows Media or Macromedia Flash -- which email clients like Microsoft Outlook increasingly disable by default.
Both Silverpop and a company we acquired, Avalon, have extensive experience with video email. Our view is that the playability of video email continues to decline overall, although some of the Web-based email clients have gotten somewhat better at rendering it. Whether it works for you really depends on whether the members of your particular list (B2B, B2C, etc.) can or will play it.
I've seen implementations of video email that actually embed the video into a MIME body. Believe it or not, these seem to play very widely. But they suffer from huge file sizes, and thus, huge outbound pipe requirements.
From a marketing perspective, video is a unique medium that can tell a story like no other. However the production costs and playability have turned most early adopters away. The problem is compounded for prospecting emails. The very people with the strongest aversion to promotional email are also those who leave Outlook on its default settings, which prevent video email from working. In order to view the video, a user must click through to a browser. You can imagine what that does to email response rates.
However, all that being said, we do have a few clients who make regular use of video email in their relationship marketing and enjoy consistently high response rates. Their customers want their messages and are willing to set their security settings so that they work.