A thumbnail is important to stand out and get noticed on YouTube. You need something eye catching but not too weird!
Once you’ve created your masterpiece its time to upload the thumbnail! Learn how to add a thumbnail to your YouTube videos using your Mobile phone (iPhone or Android device).
Download YouTube Studio App from the Google Play Store. Open the App, Click on the top left menu, choose videos, find the video you want to edit, click the pencil icon, and in the thumbnail click the thumbnail again, click change and upload your desired thumbnail image.
You’ve probably heard this phrase plenty times – “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Though these are words to live by, it is often the most neglected advice.
Every day, every minute, every second, your videos are judged by their thumbnails. In fact, video thumbnail plays a very important role in encouraging viewers to hit the PLAY button.
With so many videos on the Internet competing for attention, a video thumbnail can determine whether your video is watched or ignored.
Here are few points to keep in mind when you select a thumbnail for your video – How To Make A Great YouTube Thumbnail.
Why are YouTube Thumbnails important?
Thumbnails are the most important aspect of any video’s release, other than the content itself. Seriously.
This is because thumbnails, in combination with titles, are often the biggest deciding factor in whether or not a person will click to watch a video.
These are insights gained from conversations with creators, reading the YouTube Playbook, and countless experiments with various design types, all while measuring the click through rates and performance of our thumbnails through YouTube’s TrueView advertising.
Add text to represent your video content
Your thumbnail should convey your viewer what they’re going to see in the video. This is why it should sync with the title, description and the content of the video.
A good tip is to include some text in your thumbnails. Platforms like Facebook have a restriction on the amount of text you can put into a video thumbnail, so keep that in mind!
In fact, you can also include some hashtags in the thumbnail. Compare the views of this Jimmy Falon video to others:
As someone who regularly watches videos on different platforms, I request you to avoid using click-bait video thumbnails. This causes a lot of annoyance to the viewer and give out a ‘cheating’ vibe. And this is not good for your brand.
In the not so distant future, platforms like YouTube and Facebook can slowly start identifying such users using machine learning, and start penalising them.
Make it visually appealing
Impress your audience at first sight. Use the right color palette, but also make sure it doesn’t end up too gaudy and bright. You can use some image editing tools like PlaceIt.
PlaceIt even has a huge gallery of templates to get you started. I have used PlaceIT for YouTube branding inspiration for years and its always a great way to research a starting design. Or you can buy templates for as little as $14.99.
Tubular Insights claim that something as simple as sharpening the edges can have also a subliminal effect on your thumbnail!
Include a human face to build an emotional connect
This usually makes people click you video because it makes them feel more connected. Once that connection is made, viewers are more likely to watch the entire video.
If possible, use a close-up shot because it helps the image stand out, irrespective of the device it is being viewed on. Look at the views on these BuzzFeed videos:
Tip: Based on what emotion your video is trying to evoke, use a face that exaggerates this emotion!
Brand your thumbnails
Given the real estate of the thumbnail, it can become difficult to add your brand’s logo. But try to include it whenever you can. This ensures your video stands out in a collection/list, and helps the viewer identify your content.
Branding and logos are essential for great thumbnails. A good logo for brand recognition helps your thumbnails stand out against other thumbnails on YouTube because it’s a clear signal to the audience that this is one of your videos.
Since your audience is easily able to identify the video as one of yours, they are more likely to click that video.
Have a look at the Vice YouTube channel:
Try A/B Thumbnail Testing
A/B Testing is the process of testing two variants of the same thing. In video marketing, this involves comparing two different versions of a particular video to gauge which one does a better job at attracting more YouTube views or engaging an audience.
Video makers need to understand that nowadays, it is no longer just about putting out great content but being able to market it effectively enough to continue organic growth over time.
On top of having great quality content, video thumbnails, tags and descriptions contribute to driving traffic as well. Oftentimes, having great content with poor video descriptions or thumbnails can spell the difference between getting more YouTube views or not, and that’s not the only factor.
Having the ability to do an A/B test on videos prior to publishing them live to check which version and setup works better for their audience is essential to success.
Why should I Carry Out YouTube A/B Thumbnail Testing?
To most marketers, video is time-consuming and expensive to produce.
Then why am I suggesting you to make multiple variants of your videos?
Because your video is useful only if people actually watch it. And honestly, video that isn’t increasing your viewer engagement is a waste of your time and money.
YouTube A/B thumbnail testing will tell you what factors in your videos influence the probability of the viewer watching the entire video. And you can then use this insight to make more videos that your viewers love!
In fact, brands carry out A/B testing video ads on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook all the time to mazimise click-through-rate and conversions – more often than you’d imagine.
How do I know whether my impressions click-through rate is high or low?
For this I am going to refer to Googles play book directly as they deep dive into Tips for using impressions and CTR data.
What Drives Impressions? – When you upload a video, YouTube starts surfacing it to relevant audiences. Based on many factors, our system figures out which viewers are most likely to watch your video. The system continues to surface the video to audiences as long as it remains on YouTube.
How Do I Know If My Click-Through-Rate (CTR) is High or Low – Impressions click-through rate measures how often viewers watched a video after seeing a registered impression on YouTube. Some views don’t count towards impressions, like views on external websites or from end screens. Because of this, your impressions CTR probably represents a subset of your channel’s total views.
Impressions click-through rate will vary based on the type of content, audience and where on YouTube the impression was shown. Video thumbnails are always competing against other videos on the homepage, in ‘Up Next’, in search results and more.
Half of all channels and videos on YouTube have an impressions CTR that can range between 2% and 10%.
New videos or channels (like those less than a week old), or videos with fewer than 100 views can see an even wider range. If a video gets a lot of impressions (such as if it appears on the Home Page), it’s natural for the CTR to be lower. Videos where most of the impressions are from sources like your channel page may have a higher rate.
Ultimately, it’s best to compare CTRs between videos over the long term and keep in mind how their traffic sources will affect their CTRs.