What Makes A Good YouTube Thumbnail?

What Makes A Good YouTube Thumbnail?

Your video thumbnail is the first thing viewers see when deciding what to watch on YouTube. 

In other words, it needs to be eye-catching, attention-grabbing, and captivating if you want viewers to click on it and watch your video. 

Unfortunately, many don't think the thumbnail is all that important when the content itself is good. 

However, if you don't have a good thumbnail, viewers aren't likely to even click on it. 


The Popularity Of Video

Since videos are so powerful, 81% of brands use video marketing

YouTube is their preferred forum due to its ease of use and it being the world's second most popular website. 

YouTube provides a plethora of tools for advertisers, influencers, and just about anyone else that has something to say.

In other words, YouTube video marketing is the perfect tool to help you increase brand recognition and revenue.

But to get people to watch your video, the thumbnail you choose plays a significant role! 

So without further ado, let's take a look at what makes an eye-catching, captivating thumbnail.


1. Use The Right Thumbnail Size

Start with the correct sizing and proportions to make sure your thumbnails look professional. 

According to Youtube's guidelines, your thumbnail image should be 1280 x 720 pixels in size, with a minimum width of 640 pixels. And a ratio of 16:9 is the most suitable.

It's a huge mistake to make a thumbnail picture that is too small. 

If anything, you should choose a bigger picture size that can be scaled down rather than a smaller image size that will end up stretched and distorted. 


2. Image Selection

A great image or logo can serve as a teaser for your video, providing context while also enabling your audience to become acquainted with your brand/niche. 

However, you don't want to give too much away; you want to pique people's interest through curiosity. 

Keeping your audience's attention relies heavily on strong visuals. It should not be a generic or stock image.


3. Annotating Your Thumbnails

Adding a headline to your thumbnail is essential since it provides that extra touch of context without needing to click on the video to find out what it's about.  

Thumbnails aim to give a solid first impression while still conveying valuable details. Therefore, you should make the fonts large and straightforward to read. 

Consistency is critical in your thumbnails, as well as in any of your branding and marketing materials. 

You can maintain consistency by using the same font type, color themes, and a solid design. 

Fonts with thick, thin, or curvy lines make them challenging to read at a glance, and you should avoid them in your thumbnails at all costs. 

Remember, you intend to convey information as soon as possible. 

You can easily use applications such as Canva to add text overlays to your images. With Canva, you'll get access to thousands of free templates, which all have incredibly sleek and professional looks!


4. Avoid Using Clickbait Tactics

You might be tempted to use clickbait tactics to try and entice your audience. 

However, using distorted headlines, blurry pictures, or misleading imagery in your thumbnails to entice viewers often does more harm than good. 

Viewers often abandon these videos out of spite or anger, and YouTube might even penalize you for having a high bounce rate. 

Ultimately, your search rankings will suffer.

Using the best frame of your video or a related stock picture as a thumbnail if you're short on ideas is a great alternative. 

It will give viewers context and protect your brand's reputation. 

Then, if your content is successful, it will ultimately gain momentum and could go viral. 


5. Include Your Branding

As previously mentioned, thumbnails allow you to improve your visual branding. 

Therefore, it's a good idea to use a consistent color scheme, styling, and don't forget to include your company logo. 

This will help set you apart from your competitors' content while also making your brand more memorable to those who see your thumbnails and (hopefully) click through to watch your videos.


6. Contrast Is Key

It is no good if you can't read the text on your thumbnail, where visually contrasting colors are essential.

Although there are several ways to achieve contrast, dark versus light colors or vice versa is the most important to remember. 

High contrast exists when two shades are opposed, such as white and black. 

However, when colors are incredibly similar, there will be less contrast making your text harder to decipher, especially in a small thumbnail-sized image. 

Also, make sure that your text contrasts with the background. 


Creating Visually-Appealing Thumbnails For YouTube

Thumbnails are hugely important! They have the power to increase or deter users from viewing your content. 

They can also significantly improve your channel's rating and compliment the rest of your branding efforts. 

In other words, thumbnails can make the difference between your video being a viral sensation or breaking your video, meaning it gains minimal to no views.

Use these tips, examples, and tools listed to make a great thumbnail!

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