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Embedded HTML5 Video in Email Clients

A 2014 Update

Roughly 60% of email clients support embedded HTML5 video. In the table below we summarize our research of how the latest versions of the most popular email clients handle embedded HTML5 video in email. Learn how to use the HTML5 <video> tag in your emails in our how-to guide. The key insight from our research is that with embedded HTML5 video you can build only one email that renders in all email clients. Some subscribers will have a great inbox experience by being able to play the video, while others will simply see a fallback image of the video.
Type of Email Client Video Plays? Notes
Webmail clients
iCloud Mail (Apple) From Apple Mail 5 and above Video player controls work with IE 10. In other browsers, right click on video to play.
Gmail Fallback image is shown. See additional notes below
Yahoo! Mail Fallback image is shown
AOL Mail Fallback image is shown
Comcast Email Fallback image is shown
Mobile Mail Clients
iPhone From iOS 5 and above
Android (Native email client) Video doesn’t play. Fallback image is not shown. See notes below
Android (Gmail) Same behavior as Gmail (web-version)
Android (Outlook App) Video doesn’t play. Fallback image is not shown. See notes below
Windows Phone 8 Fallback image is shown
Blackberry Fallback image is shown
Desktop Mail Clients
Apple Mail 4
Outlook 2011 – Mac
Thunderbird (Mozilla)
Outlook 2010 Fallback image is shown
Windows Live Mail 2011 Fallback image is shown

Some additional notes

  • Link the fallback image to web version of the email: In many cases the fallback image is shown. To let customers play the video, simply link the image to the web version of the email. The message editor provider by your email service provider should include a way to easily add a link to that page. In MailUp, this can be done through the email editor. Or you can use this code:<a href="http://%5bstaticnl%5d/" title="Click to view the video in your browser"<br/><img src="insert your image source here" /></a>
  • Android native email client: Well, this one drove us nuts! Video controls are shown, but when you click on play, the video does not start. We don’t have a good solution to this just yet. One way around it, of course, is to make the link to the Web version of the email quite visible (e.g. immediately below the video). The video plays fine when Android opens it in the browser.
  • Gmail performs consistently: In Gmail, our video in email message was shown consistently across all devices and web browsers, including Chrome. In all cases, the video was shown as a fallback image.
  • Outlook App in Android: The video controls (e.g. play button) work, but the video doesn’t play. The video buffers and the fallback image and link are not shown. This in turn doesn’t allow to right click (i.e. long press) on the link to watch the video. Similar to the Android native email client, our recommendation here is to insert the link of the Web version of the email right below the video.

Help us improve this page!

Let us know if you see something missing or outdated by adding a comment on the MailUp blog post where we presented this research: Embedded HTML5 video in email). We really appreciate it and will update the page right away!