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5 Tips For Thumbnails

11th October 2022

We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But let’s face it, we all have and do… It’s imperative that the visuals that accompany any story are a good match. You could think of a YouTube thumbnail as a book cover. It has to grab the attention of the absent minded scroller and make the video so enticing they simply have no choice but to click on it. If you don’t create a custom YouTube thumbnail, a frame from your video will be selected at random - this image is often not very dynamic or attention grabbing. So here are some top tips for creating a great YouTube thumbnail. 


Size

Let’s start with the very basics! Make sure it’s the right size. Remember that your content is likely to be viewed on a very wide variety of different devices including very small mobile phone screens. Therefore it’s better to design a large thumbnail so that when adjusted to smaller screens, all of the details you’ve included are still very much visible. The optimum size for a thumbnail is 1280 x 720 pixels with a minimum width of 640 pixels. 


Text

A high quality image will go a long way to giving your viewers information about your video. But it can’t tell the whole story. Try to provide the viewer with as much information as possible but avoid the thumbnail becoming clunky and overwhelming. To this end, ensure the title is short, relevant and has as few conjunctions as possible. Avoid using regular fonts that other YouTubers will typically use - you want to stand out as much as possible! 


Brand Identity

If your brand identity is good, you want people to be able to recognise your videos without looking at the channel that’s posted them. You can establish your brand identity through a certain colour palette, consistently using a certain font and title format. Of course a good logo will go a long way to establishing your brand and in the future it can easily be used for merchandise. 


Clickbait

As a YouTuber, the last thing you want to do is make people feel like you’re tricking them. You might feel like it’s a good idea just to get people through the door and watching your content - but if they feel like you’re dishonest, they won’t become active members of your fanbase or community, which is the ultimate goal. In addition to this, YouTube’s algorithm may stop showing your videos in search results and your reach will drop. Overall, it’s seriously detrimental to your channel, your brand and your career. So don’t do it! 


Faces

You may have noticed that most good thumbnails have a person in them - more often than not, staring directly at the camera. This is no accident. It’s been proven that videos with at least one person in the thumbnail perform around 38% better than those without. Subconsciously, we find it hard to ignore the gaze of another human… kinda creepy, but true. 


Thumbnails are often overlooked, but they are an important part of your channel and brand. Without eye-catching and informative thumbnails, it’ll be all the more difficult to grow your audience. So make sure you do it right!


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