3 Tips To Optimize Your YouTube Thumbnails

Thumbnails are the equivalent of movie posters, book covers or album art for YouTube videos. Good thumbnail images seize the attention of viewers and compel them to watch videos. So don’t ignore a thumbnail which is an underrated asset to get more YouTube views.

Below are 3 tips to optimize your YouTube thumbnails to attract more viewers:

1. Add a custom thumbnail

YouTube automatically generates default thumbnail images whenever a video is uploaded. Often these images are neither very appealing nor truly representative of your video. Therefore, add a custom thumbnail to optimize results. Manually select a still that is visually striking from your video.

YouTube also allows you to create your own thumbnail if you are a partner.

Not a partner? Don’t worry. You can still choose your own thumbnail by following the below tutorial from YouTube.

2. Choose the right image for your YouTube thumbnail

Thumbnails plays a vital role in making your videos clickable. At a glance, these images should accurately describe what your video is about.

Below are a few things you should consider while choosing a good thumbnail image:

  • Choose an image that will convey the desired message even after it is sized down considerably.

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  • Find images that are packed with action.


  • Use a close-up image of a person because people are naturally drawn to faces.


  • Use brightly colored images to make it more striking. Take the below thumbnail for example.

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  • Lastly, your thumbnail image should have a visually appealing composition and must be framed well. For instance, the thumbnail image below has a nail-biting composition.

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3. Edit your thumbnail image to make it stand out

Use photo-editing tools to make your thumbnail image pop. You can follow the below tips for a great thumbnail image.

  • Add a border to make your thumbnail image distinctive.
  • Choose a bold background colour for your image to draw viewers’ attention.
  • Finally, use text within your thumbnail image only when required. Use very few words to tell viewers what your video is about.

Marketers often overlook thumbnails as an effective means to increase traffic for YouTube videos. Follow the above tips to make your thumbnails more clickable.

Take a look at the thumbnail images below. Which of these videos would you choose to watch and why? Leave your answers in the comments section.





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Manasa Boggaram is a writer and has a strong passion for music, positive news and constructive journalism. When she is not researching story ideas or writing blog posts, she spends her time reading books, discovering new music and eating lots of street food.


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