Your video thumbnail is one of the first things a potential viewer sees. If it fails to capture their attention, they’ll scroll right past it and click on someone else’s video. However, by making your own thumbnails more visually appealing, you can grab a viewer’s attention and entice them to click.
Here’s what you can do to make your thumbnails more clickable.
1. Always use a custom thumbnail.
Whenever you upload a new video, you should always have a custom thumbnail to go along with it. Don’t settle for the random screen grabs YouTube automatically generates. A custom thumbnail will make your video appear more polished, professional, and — most importantly — interesting.
Creating a custom thumbnail may seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re unfamiliar with graphic design. However, you don’t need expensive software or professional-level knowledge to create a great thumbnail. Tutorials such as the one below can help you create custom thumbnails for free using Canva.
2. Pay attention to thumbnail trends in your content niche.
Just like with every other aspect of content on YouTube, thumbnail trends have changed since the first big vlogging boom. The same styles and strategies that were effective five years ago or even one year ago won’t be as effective anymore. Therefore, it’s important that you keep up with the current thumbnail trends.
Pay attention to the thumbnails the most popular creators in your content niche use. Take note of differences between videos with different view counts. Ask yourself what elements of a specific thumbnail make you more likely to click on it. Then, apply your observations to the thumbnails you create.
3. Keep it real.
The biggest change in thumbnail trends over the last few years is that viewers tend to see right through clickbait. Bright colors and an overly expressive face may make them more skeptical than excited. If the expression on your face in a thumbnail looks fake, then viewers won’t want to click on it.
Instead, like your viewers, you should value authenticity in every aspect of your video creation. You can still use your face in thumbnails and be expressive. However, you should be mindful to keep your reactions genuine and not overdue it. Don’t exaggerate the emotions of a video for the thumbnail.
Your thumbnail is your first — and often only — opportunity to catch a viewer’s attention. Prioritize making your thumbnails “clickable” to draw more people to your future uploads.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.