How To Improve Your YouTube Thumbnail

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in YouTube Marketing | One Comment
How To Improve Your YouTube Thumbnail

In this post in our series YOUTUBE STARTERS, we’ll give you the basic tips needed to get your YouTube channel up and running.  Yes, that is me. I’m not ashamed to admit it. As long as it captured your attention and brought you into this post, than it did what it was intended to. Whether it’s a blog post or a video, it is important to have an engaging and eye-catching thumbnail. I believe it is even more important for YouTube videos, as you’re competing for eyeballs within a space of competing thumbnails. If your video thumbnail does not stand out, you simply won’t receive as many clicks as you’d like. Here are some basic tips that we’ve seen work not only for us, but with some of the top YouTubers out there today. With a little bit of elbow grease and a slight spark of creativity, you will be on your way to create awesome thumbnails for your video.

1) First you’ll need the right tools.  The recommended tool to creating a beautiful thumbnail is Photoshop but the drawback is the price. Here is a list of alternatives by Creative Bloq. The 10 best alternatives to Photoshop Personally, I use Pixelmator for my Mac, which provides much of the necessary tools for only $14.99. Your fonts are important as well. Times New Roman, Arial, and Comic Sans are unfortunately out of date. Check out Da Font for some awesome kits. Da Font  Now to creating a thumbnail.

2) Leverage the power of text The title of your video underneath the thumbnail is limited. You will need a very catchy title but most users will click on a video based on the image thumbnail. Using the image area for text, it will reinforce focus of the video. Keeping it short and sweet can catch the user’s eye and will bring users into the video. Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 8.19.49 PM

3) Choose a Thumbnail Image that Explains the Core of the Video There are broad types of categories, but if you’re starting out, you want to in every way possible, be able to show what your videos are about. Key word is “show”. By showing a thumbnail of you sitting in front of the camera without nothing around you will not tell the viewer anything. If you are showing off some tech or new make-up, have it incorporated within the thumbnail is some way. For example, say you are running a giveaway and you have a bunch gadgets for a giveaway, have an image of the prizes within the thumbnail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lyrNL6vsQQ

4) Show Face and Personality If you’re the type that would like to build an audience, showing your face is a great way to build a personal relationship and brand. We all would like to know the face behind the video and if you’re already showing your face in the video, that is even better. Showing you face in your videos along with your thumbnail will help build trust with your audience. They’ll build a stronger relationship with you and will become fans. For a bonus, try to be unique. If you’re looking to have a channel with some humor, take full advantage of the thumbnail to showcase your personality. For example, below is Lonnie. He’s an energetic individual who plays and yells while playing video games. His thumbnails alone are extremely catchy with his crazy facial expressions. His  subscriber based grew dramatically once he shifted over to mobile and started to entertain. Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 8.18.41 PM

5) Brand Your Video Thumbnail and Be Consistent You want to be unique, thus you must have your own brand. This can be shown with the steps above such as showing face and leveraging text, but you also want to stand out with your own consistent colors and layouts. If you’re in fashion, utilizing the design to keep a consistent mood of your videos is important. You wouldn’t want to deceive people thinking you’re one way, only to find out that you’re another way within your video. Consistency with your brand and small improvements along the way will keep your fans coming back for more. As users land on their homepage, your unique thumbnail will bring them back automatically as it becomes engrained in their heads. Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 8.20.33 PM

6) Follow YouTube Guidelines for Thumbnails

  • Have a resolution of 1280×720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels).
  • Be uploaded in image formats such as .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG.
  • Remain under the 2MB limit.
  • Try to use a 16:9 aspect ratio as it’s the most used in YouTube players and previews.

In Conclusion Everyone is different, but the key message here is to be creative. Take advantage of the video thumbnail, which often gets neglected from early users. It’s the opportunity to not only show what the videos are about, but it also shows that you are a professional YouTuber that puts in the fine details of every video. It will go a long way.

1 Comment

  1. Gimmy It » How to Increase the Visibility of Your YouTube Videos
    April 15, 2014

    […] thumbnail is very important and John went into detail to explain how to do a great thumbnail last […]