The importance of thumbnails cannot be stressed enough. Besides the title (and perhaps to some extent, the view count), the only visual element to get someone to click is the thumbnail. That single frame has to intrigue and is a representation of what the entire video is about.
And you thought titles were hard? If you want to excel on YouTube, you need to figure out how to make perfect thumbnails. There are six ways to ensure that your thumbnails are the best they can be!
Consider the Thumbnail Size
When you create your thumbnail, keep the size in mind. Most often, it will be seen as a small image. That small size means that details will be hard to see. When designing the thumbnail, create high resolution 1920x1080 thumbnails to future proof against changes. You also want to make sure that before finalizing it, the image looks good at 10% the size.
Use Faces in your Thumbnails
Whenever possible, use a face in your thumbnails. There’s a powerful psychological impact of using facial expressions to entice. Whether the face is shocked, sad or other reaction, it will intrigue potential viewers. It’s a natural reaction we have to faces - we want to know why they are making them. The other benefit of using a face is that it builds facial recognition. The more often someone sees your face, the more they’ll want to click on it.
Opt for Colorful Thumbnails
Always use colors to stand out among a sea of boring thumbnails. Now, that doesn’t mean to use the rainbow in each thumbnail, but rather use a single vibrant color. Many YouTubers (particularly one’s aimed at children) use yellow or green. Some vloggers use bright blues or purple. And tech channels often use other vibrant colors. Find a color that works for your content and use it!
Consider Extra Text
If the thumbnail doesn’t explain the content alone, consider adding some extra text to it. Now, don’t flood your thumbnail. Instead, pick 2-4 keywords that will help tell a potential viewer what the video is about. If you’re concerned about if someone can read it, remember to go back to the first point.
Keep it Consistent
Once you find a style of thumbnail that works for your content - STICK TO IT! Thumbnail recognition helps your viewers pick it out among others. That’s very useful in helping viewers find more of your content in their suggested videos. The more they watch, the likelier they are to subscribe.
Brand your Thumbnails
Much like consistency of your thumbnails, branding them makes them your own. Many of the biggest channels add their own icon to the top left or bottom left. This helps to make your videos even more recognizable. Not only that, but it looks more professional against other non-branded ones. Even if your content is as amateur as others, it will encourage more clicks than ones without.