If your video shows up in YouTube’s search or suggested videos, or really anywhere else on the platform, and doesn’t get clicked, then you’re sending a big, negative signal to YouTube that your content isn’t as popular as the videos around it, and that could be seriously hurting your channel rankings. Video thumbnails are keys to grabbing your viewer’s attention and getting your content clicked, so that you send the right signals to YouTube and the algorithm to show your content again. In this tutorial play article, we are going to run through three thumbnail tips to create effective thumbnails, so that your videos get more views on YouTube.
Let’s jump into it. Have you asked anyone on YouTube the first thing they see in the search results on YouTube? The answer is always going to be one of two things. It’s going to be your video titles or your video thumbnails. Thumbnail is absolutely key, not only drawing attention to your video, but also getting potential viewers to click your content over all the other options that are displayed there for them.
This makes YouTube thumbnails an absolutely critical part of your overall channel and video optimization. So when YouTube shows your video in search or suggested video, or really anywhere else on YouTube, it’s actually tracking how many clicks your video gets versus the videos around it. So if your video gets clicked less than the other options that are presented to the users, then, you can bet that YouTube’s algorithm is going to factor in the lower performance of your video when deciding later if to show your video again or not. Fortunately, it is not hard to stand out from the pack and create more effective thumbnails that get more clicks. The best part is you can easily update your older videos that are not performing with new thumbnails and give them a second shot at success.
An Example of Optimized Thumbnail
A great example of this is a video that we’ve got on our channel around filming with iPhone. Updating the thumbnail almost doubled our results, and this was way after the video was first released. And while you’re watching this video, make sure you drop us a comment, and let us know your favorite tool for creating thumbnails, whether it’s Canva, Keynote, PhotoShop, or whatever else. What do you recommend, and let us know and other creators know in the comments below. So on to the tips.
The first one is consistent branding. This is really, really important. So here we’re talking about consistent fonts, colors, style, the consistent look and feel of your thumbnails, whether it’s a photo that you’re using. Then, you want to keep it consistent so that it’s familiar to your subscribers. Familiarity is really the key here, and people will be instinctively drawn to a thumbnail that looks familiar or something that they’ve already previously clicked before. So, for us, we use a consistent look and feel. Our font is always the same.
The colors and style are always the same, and always got a picture of me either smiling or pointing, or doing something silly just to grab the user’s attention. But all of those actually act as an anchor, as well, making it clear that the video is from Primal Video. All of this really becomes more and more effective as your brand and audience grows. If you don’t have a style or a brand yet, then take a look at what some other YouTubers are doing for some creative inspiration. Some great channels to check out would be people like Nick Nimmin, Roberto Blake, Sean Cannell’s Think Media TV, and Brian G. Johnson. There are heaps of others, as well.
Add Some Content in Thumbnail about your Video
Tip number two is to clearly communicate what you video about. Thumbnails are a great opportunity to add some context about your video and the topic that you’re going to cover. So at a quick glance, your viewers should know what your video is about and whether it’s exactly what they’re looking for. You can easily do this with keywords like we do on ours, or you can use images or a combination of both. A great example would be for a cooking channel, you could show the end result, the food. Or for our channel, we incorporate images of the gear if we’re doing a product review or a product comparison, or something relevant to the topic.
But we also include keywords associated, as well a quick word of warning. A buddy of ours, Nick Nimmin, I think that’s the second mention he’s got in this tutorial play article. He once said something similar to this. I am going to mess it up, for sure. But if you’re not a skilled visual storyteller, use text. And I think that is really critical. It is hard to communicate everything effectively with just one image. Don’t be afraid to use text, as well, and it can make your life and your viewer’s life much easier.
Add Image Of Yourself
Tip number three is a big one, and this is something we see all the time, and it’s where we started out, as well. Is if you’re going to be including an image of yourself, don’t try and pull one out from your timeline or from your finished video. You’ll end up wasting a ton of time trying to find a shot where you look at least halfway normal, and it’s never going to look as good. So save yourself a heap of hassle and a heap of time, and get a much better result by, at the end of filming or even the start of filming, just throw a few poses, maybe a smile, point at something, pull a silly face.
Whatever it is, just make sure that you’re doing it intentionally, because it’s going to save you a heap of time, and you’re going to get a better looking thumbnail than if you’re trying to find one afterwards. I know that’s something that we started with. Go back and have, I was going to say have a look. You can go back and have a laugh at some of our early thumbnails, because that’s exactly what we did. That is the logical starting point for most people on YouTube with thumbnails, is to try and find one afterwards, and it is a hard thing to do.
YouTube Filming Procedure
Now it’s definitely part of our filming procedure. At the end of filming every video, I will sit there and smile and point, and just get a few different options; because I never know exactly what the thumbnail is going to look like beforehand. So we’ll have some options. Those three things, again, were to have consistent branding across all of your thumbnails, to convey what your video is about in your thumbnails, and if you’re going to use an image of yourself in your thumbnails, then prepare for it or plan for it, and capture that image while you’re creating your content.