I guess it all comes down to email becoming a mobile-first platform for reaching out to customers. Just think about the one app or site that nearly everyone killing some time at the bus stop or waiting for a friend in the bar will reach for. Facebook is everywhere, and there are multiple posts that will be playing video every time someone scrolls down to see what is going in their friends' lives, or at least what they want to portray to the outside world that is happening.
Even if you go a little more highbrow and fire up a mobile news app, there you have it again. Most stories will be companied by a video. Although they won't auto play, like on Facebook, you can guarantee there will be a call to action with a tempting large "play" arrow in the centre of the video still.
So, consumers are far more accustomed to seeing video every time they pick up a mobile phone, so it stands to reason that they shouldn't find it unusual in their inbox. There is, of course, an elephant in the room here -- and that's not to have video set to play audio automatically. Nobody wants to have a brand video blasting out at them just because they showed an interest in their email. A static image with a "play" arrow would appear to be a far more customer-friendly option.
Another top tip would be to take a leaf out of the news, and pressure organisations that rely on social media video clips to get their message out there. The top trick they have learned is to subtitle everything. They do this to allow people to watch a video without the sound on but also to preview it in a post before deciding whether or not to click through. With clicking through to watch a video via email, subtitles perform the very useful function of letting the viewer decide whether to up the volume and listen in or keep audio off to see what the brand has got to say.
Finally, email marketers can take a leaf out of the book of Nicorette, which has been hailed today by a Havas research project in to meaningful brands. It found that 60% of consumers find branded content just "clutter" unless it means something to them. The best example here was three short videos, not because they showed moving images, but because they communicated what their products do in a way that meant something to the end user. it wasn't just a brand presentation, but an explanation of user advantages.
If you are moving into the expense of producing quality video, it makes sense to always have the consumer at the front of your thoughts. If the message and video you're sending to their inbox isn't about them, and what your products or services can do for them, then just don't bother.