How to Create Click-Worthy Video Thumbnails

June 16, 2023

Your search for a video on YouTube; then you look for two things, one is the number of views, and the next is the thumbnail on the video. 

If covers didn't matter, brands wouldn't bother to come up with good packaging. 

Similarly, for videos, video thumbnails are the packaging. If it looks tempting, people will want to click on it. 

Video thumbnails offer the first impression on the viewers. So, you need to make sure your thumbnail image stands out. 

Read on to learn what is a video thumbnail and how you can make custom thumbnails for your videos.

What Is a Video Thumbnail?

Video thumbnails are small images that are snapshots of your videos. They are called thumbnails because they are roughly the size of a thumbnail. 

A video thumbnail gives the viewers a preview of what your video will be about. 

But it is also a chance for you to make users click on your video. Make it as appealing as possible so users will want to watch what is in the video.

For example, Netflix uses thumbnails of movies and series to show what they encase. You click on a video when you like what you see on the thumbnail.

Why Video Thumbnails Matter

If you are still wondering why your videos need great video thumbnails, here are some reasons you need to know-

Video Thumbnails Boost Brand Recognition

With so many online videos, it can be challenging to stand out. A great thumbnail can help your video get noticed and remembered. 

Using consistent branding in your thumbnails can help viewers quickly identify your videos and improve brand recognition.

Taking a Cue from Netflix

Netflix has mastered the art of video thumbnails.

They use eye-catching images and bright colors to create enticing thumbnails that make viewers want to click on their videos. 

By taking a cue from Netflix, you can create visually appealing thumbnails to make your videos stand out.

Thumbnail Influence on YouTube Ranking

YouTube's algorithm considers the number of views, engagement, and watch time to determine a video's ranking. \

However, the thumbnail also plays a role in the ranking. 

If your thumbnail is eye-catching and relevant to the content, viewers are more likely to click on your video, increasing engagement and watch time, which can help improve your video's ranking on YouTube.

Video Ranking Potential on Google

Google shows video thumbnails in their search results, which means that a great video thumbnail can also attract viewers directly from Google. 

By optimizing your thumbnail with relevant keywords and an eye-catching design, you can increase your video's chances of appearing in Google search results.

Drive More Views with Eye-Catching Video Thumbnails 

Video thumbnails are crucial in catching a viewer's attention on YouTube. It's the first thing they see when scrolling through their feeds or search results. Here's how to use video thumbnails to increase your views:

The Power of Eye-Catching Thumbnails 

An eye-catching and compelling thumbnail can give viewers a sneak peek of what they can expect from your video. 

It can make your video stand out, encourage viewers to click on it and increase your click-through rate (CTR). 

A high CTR tells YouTube's algorithm that your video is relevant and engaging to your target audience, which leads to higher rankings and more views. 

The Risks of Bad Thumbnails

Conversely, a bad thumbnail can be a significant turn-off for viewers and lead to fewer clicks. 

Dull or misleading thumbnails can cause viewers to lose interest in your video and even harm your reputation on the platform. 

Avoid using clickbait thumbnails or thumbnails that are not relevant to the video content, as this can lead to disappointed viewers and a negative impact on your channel's reputation. 

Using BOGY Thumbnails 

Try using BOGY thumbnails - blue, orange, green, and yellow. These colors make your videos stand out from the rest. To drive views, create an eye-catching, relevant thumbnail that accurately represents your video's content. Doing so can improve your click-through rate, boost your rankings, and attract more viewers to your channel.

Step-by-step: How to Create Video Thumbnails

Thumbnails are not necessarily screenshots of your video. You can add a decorative flair and make it more attractive. Here are the steps you can follow to create video thumbnails:

Take a screenshot from the video

You can choose a portion of your video that screams you. 

If you have created an entertaining video, then stop at a point in the video that encompasses the vibe of the video.

Then you can take a screenshot of that part. Make sure you do not mislead your audience. 

Only use an image that represents the video. 

Viewers hate click-baiting; you must avoid doing that and crashing your viewers' expectations.

Customize the thumbnail

After taking the screenshot, the next step is to customize your thumbnail. You can use the screenshot and then add a decorative flair to it. 

Make sure you use high-contrast images as screenshots because they are more noticeable than low-contrast ones. 

You can add your title to the thumbnail using impactful and colorful fonts. You also need to ensure that you add a frame to your title. 

Use Adobe Photoshop to add a frame to your font, drawing more attention to the title. 

TIP: You can add a shadow to your thumbnail to make it look more professional. But drop shadow is a choice. If you prefer it, you can go for it. 

Any Other Tips for Making My Custom Thumbnail Stand Out?

Display a Scene from Your Video

If you want to stand out among the rest of the videos, your thumbnail should be a custom video thumbnail displaying a scene from your video. 

Take, for example, the video from the Graham Norton Show; the title and thumbnail tell the audience what to expect from the video.

Showcasing a scene from your video on the thumbnail can give viewers a glimpse of the video.

It visually represents the content and can motivate viewers to click on the video.

Integrate Eye-catching Graphics

You may need more than just adding a scene from your video. Plenty of Youtube video thumbnails are just screenshots from the video. 

You need to add a bit of oomph to your Youtube thumbnails rather than just adding a preview image.

Furthermore, make sure to integrate eye-catching graphics. 

This video by Harry Potter Theory channel is about Dumbledore's dark plan. The cover image is well-edited and has stunning graphics to attract the audience. 

Including eye-catching graphics can be a great way to make your thumbnail stand out. 

Vibrant and visually appealing graphics can spark the viewer's interest and encourage them to watch your video.

Use the Appropriate Thumbnail Dimensions

Image Link

Your thumbnail image should never get cropped out. To ensure that always use the appropriate dimensions. 

Make sure to use the recommended thumbnail dimensions for your platform. This ensures that your thumbnail is not distorted and appears as it should.

For YouTube thumbnails, you need to stick to these dimensions: 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall, with a minimum width of 640 pixels. 

Use High-Resolution Imagery

Morning Shows the Day is not just a quote. Even video viewers believe in this. Viewers will scroll past your videos if your thumbnail appears wonky and low-quality. 

Using high-resolution imagery can make your thumbnail appear more professional. 

It can also make the thumbnail more appealing to viewers, who may scroll past a low-quality thumbnail. Make sure you use a thumbnail image of less than 2 MB. 

Enrich with Vibrant Hues

Using vibrant and bold colors can entice viewers to click on your thumbnail. Choose colors that complement your video content and grab the audience's attention.

Designers recommend using BOGY colors in your videos and thumbnails. Create a video thumbnail with Blue, orange, green, and yellow colors. 

These vibrant colors will set you apart from the dull competition, and viewers will click on your Youtube videos more. 

In the Youtube thumbnail below by Ishan Sharma, you can see the creator has used vibrant colors like yellow. 

Moreover, he has also used his image, whereas the other video has a thumbnail of dull colors. 

You can see which video has the most views!

Incorporate Human Elements

Humans love drama; that's why reality shows are so popular! Adding human elements to your thumbnail can make it more relatable and inviting. 

People connect with other people, so featuring a person in your thumbnail can generate interest and encourage views.

A good video thumbnail will have human elements like the face of your channel, your catchphrase, or a form of exclamation!

Insert Your Video Title

Adding eye-catching video thumbnails will not cut it; you must inform the audience about your video. 

Add your video's title to the thumbnail, as shown in the example below. 

Even if you cannot fit the entire title into your thumbnail images, try adding at least the keywords you are targeting. 

Always make sure to include the title of your video in the thumbnail. This helps the viewer understand what they can expect from watching the video.

Utilize Large, Striking Text

When adding the video title to the custom thumbnail image, please use large, striking text that can instantly grab the viewer's attention. 

Choose a font that is easy to read and complements your video content. 

Tried and Refused Production is a Youtube channel that uses the same font for all its video thumbnails, as shown in the image below.

All the text is colorful, impactful, and visible, making it easier for viewers to know what the video is about. 

FAQs: video thumbnails

How do I create a thumbnail for a video?

The best way to create a thumbnail for a video is to take a screenshot of an important part of the video and then customize it with a video title and graphics. 

What is the ideal video thumbnail size?

YouTube's ideal video thumbnail size is 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall, with a minimum width of 640 pixels.

What is a thumbnail in a video ad?

The thumbnail of a video ad is mostly the still image people see before a video starts and after it ends. 

What thumbnails do Youtubers use?

Youtubers use thumbnails of size 1280 pixels by 720 pixels. The aspect ratio of the thumbnails should be 16:9. 

Conclusion: Video Thumbnails

Creating a video thumbnail that stands out requires a combination of strategy and creativity.

You can use the abovementioned process to create a thumbnail of your liking. And we have also mentioned a few tips that may come in handy while making a thumbnail.  

Following these tips, you can create a thumbnail that entices viewers to click on your video and watch your content.

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