When you create video marketing, you certainly focus on several elements: an emotion-inducing script, the visual appeal of the video, the quality of the production, the length, the addition of subtitles, and so on. When you post the video on your website or social media, you do your best to ensure that the description or content is as interesting as possible and that there are no technical difficulties with playback.

However, in the case of the most popular video site, you need to think about another very important issue, which is the thumbnail on YouTube. To a large extent, it is this element that affects whether your material will find interest. Here are some of the most essential tips you should keep in mind when uploading a new video to your YT channel.

YouTube thumbnail – what is it?

A YouTube thumbnail is a small image (only 1280×720 pixels in size) that displays in two places where a YT user starts searching for content of interest – either on your channel’s homepage above the video title or next to the video title on the search results page. Thus, it is the first element a potential viewer comes across, as graphics always draw the eye faster than text alone.

This is confirmed by Curata’s research, which shows that including an image in an article increases click-through rates by 47% compared to articles containing text alone. A similar principle applies to videos on YT – we look first at the thumbnail, a visual representation of what we will see in the video, and only then at the title. It is for this reason that you need to design this small image in the right way.

5 Tips for Perfect YouTube Thumbnail

What should you do to ensure that the image you create will catch users’ attention and make them go to the video’s page? Here’s our list of the 5 most important considerations on YT thumbnails:

  1. Ensure consistency with the topic of the video – the image has to show what the video you uploaded is about, it cannot be detached from it. This is because if you don’t keep it coherent, you may end up with someone interested in the topic not clicking on the thumbnail and reading the description. After all, they will already initially reject the video as not matching their needs or interests.
  2. Think about graphic elements – the thumbnail should be eye-catching to encourage the viewer to click and watch the video. So try to find an attractive graphic or photo or create one yourself, thinking about using distinct colors, contrasts and other visual elements. On the other hand, if you run a channel regularly and use the same template for each video (e.g., only with your photo, without any additional graphic elements) and you see that such a solution works, focus more on content.
  3. Provide captivating text – while remembering to follow the principle of minimalism, as too much content has a rejecting effect on the Internet user. It is best to choose simple, short sentences or words that are easy to understand. Also, ensure the font is large enough to display properly even on smaller screens.
  4. Don’t forget your logo or channel name – you also need to be aware of the so-called “curse of knowledge,” that is, the mistaken belief that an external user knows exactly who you (your brand) or your company is. Still, you may end up (for example, through search results) reaching a completely uninformed person. By using your logo or channel name, you will increase brand recognition as part of building brand awareness among YouTube users.
  5. Focus on the power of emotion – the thumbnail should evoke emotion (e.g., joy, curiosity, intrigue or interest), as it is the feelings that best encourage a potential viewer to click. You can try using humorous or surprising elements to make it stand out from the numerous other videos available on the platform.

What else to keep in mind when making a thumbnail for YouTube?

When working on a thumbnail for your YouTube video, be sure to also reach for professional tools. Importantly, you don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to create it properly from scratch (using Photoshop, for example). You might as well reach for layperson solutions (such as the very popular Canva, for example), choose the best template for you and customize it to your needs. That’s not all, though – once you’ve created one version, plan another one as well, and then apply them interchangeably, checking which one provides you with better results in terms of grabbing the viewer’s attention.

This kind of A/B testing will show you very quickly which creatives are more interesting to your subscribers. Perhaps they will allow you to find the most suitable version and thus ensure that you improve your results.


YouTube thumbnail – summary

If you’re running your own or a company’s YouTube channel, don’t underestimate the importance that a thumbnail that matches the video’s subject and is visually appealing can have. Remember that this is the first element your potential viewer will see. He or she will most likely use it to judge whether it’s worth moving on and seeing the creation you created, which will consequently affect the number of views, reactions, comments or subscriptions. By taking greater care of the user experience at this level, you can expect better results in your marketing efforts. Follow our top tips when uploading more videos to YouTube, and you’ll see a significant change in viewership very quickly.

Read also: Corporate event planning in 6 steps.

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Author: Zofia Lipska

With over 10 years of experience in digital marketing, Sophia not only knows the rules of this industry but above all knows how to break them in order to achieve outstanding and creative results.