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How to use video thumbnails to attract more views on YouTube

Key concepts:

  • What are the thumbnails for

  • How to create them in an easy way


The thumbnails are the icons, little photos that YouTube shows next to the links to the videos. They should give a first impression and understanding of what the video talks about in terms of image, and complements the title as information to the viewer.

The thumbnails should catch the attention of the people by its colours, gestures, faces, emotions while being different from the rest (the visual impact), direct the viewer to your video and have the call to action (click and open your video).

Research therefore with keywords of your topic and study a bit the thumbnails of the first videos in terms of colours, backgrounds, contents. Look for all the common aspects they have and think about what you can do differently.



How to create the thumbnail?

For the easiest way to do it, all you need is a mobile or tablet with camera option. Take a photo with the aspects you found different from your competitors. As the Latin alphabet is read from left to right, our look is trained to “see” a photo in similar ways, therefore pointing one way or another to the right (where the title of the video is) will make people want to click on it.

Edit the photo with contrasts, colours, emojis, arrows, objects etc. In order to do so you can use for example Instagram Stories as it gives you lots of photo editing options, or any other photo editor. Get creative and play with shadows, borders, texts, emojis, symbols. Don’t forget to save the result.

Don’t spend more than 5-10 minutes on creating the thumbnail. Simple and silly catches attention more than deeply worked ones that only consume time.



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