How much data or bandwidth does a video email use?

Well, it depends…

Using Playable, Video is delivered into an email only when it is opened, rather than being added to the initial payload. So recipients who do not open the email do not consume any video data.

Playable also optimizes the video format, frame-rate and resolution for each viewer depending on the device and email client and network connection, so that every viewer enjoys a quick loading time.

The list of video formats used is constantly evolving. For example, during 2019 it has become possible to deliver video to some email clients using the new H.265 (also known as HEVC, or High Efficiency Video Coding) video format, which consumes about 50% less data compared to H.264 video.

Based on a sample of 10 million recent video emails, the average video delivered by Playable into email uses 1.5 MB of data:

The average duration of these videos is 12.5 seconds.

What about viewers on slow networks, or with a small data plan?

There is a new “Save-Data” internet standard for bandwidth-challenged viewers, which allow devices to request a lightweight version of any content, including videos in emails. See this article on Delivering Fast and Light Applications with Save-Data for more details.

Playable is currently detecting Save-Data requests in approximately 0.1% of video emails viewed. For these viewers, Playable is able to reduce the video payload size by an average of 60%.

How will video email file size change in the future?

Video email file size continues to reduce each year, as an increasing majority of email is consumed on mobile, and due to new video formats being supported on mobile devices.

It’s predicted that 2020 will bring increased support for H.265, further reducing the average file size of a video delivered into email.

The next significant milestone would be for Gmail to support new and better ways of displaying video. Currently on Gmail, video has to be delivered via GIF animations which requires a much larger file size compared to other video formats.