A thumbnail is like a movie poster or magazine cover for your YouTube video. It advertises your video at a glance, helping viewers make the split-second decision whether to hit play or keep scrolling.
Below are a few examples of thumbnails viewers can’t resist clicking.
Popular YouTubers’ faces attract avid fans.
One thing that attracts film fans to movie posters is seeing their favorite actors looking back at them. On YouTube, you can mimic this effect by using the faces of popular YouTubers in your thumbnails. Just make sure their presence relates to the video in some way.
For example, Natalia Taylor recently uploaded a video about the YouTubers she’s met. Her thumbnail featured Tana Mongeau and Gabbie Hanna, two of the most popular vloggers Natalia talked about.
Exaggerated expressions catch attention.
Seeing your expression in a thumbnail instantly elicits an emotional response in a potential viewer. The more expressive you can be, the stronger their automatic responses will be as well.
With millions of views multiple times a week, the Good Mythical Morning crew sure knows how to make a great thumbnail. They often feature close-up shots of Rhett and Link exaggerating a reaction to something from the video.
Text acts like a tagline.
Movie posters often have taglines, short lines of text meant to pull the viewer in further. You can put a tagline for your video right on the thumbnail. Keep it short and snappy.
Simply Nailogical often adds quippy taglines to her video thumbnails. For example, for her video about trying Facetune, she added “Who is she?”.
Shocking video stills really grab attention.
You can really capture viewers’ attention by advertising the most shocking part of your video. Capture a still from the video and incorporate it into your thumbnail. You may add explanatory text or conceal part of the image as well.
Good Mythical Morning often makes use of this practice as well, especially when their videos include trying strange food. The video below is a perfect example.
Viewers can’t resist clicking thumbnails that elicit a strong emotional response. Use shocking stills, clever taglines, and exaggerated expressions to your advantage.
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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.