YouTube has noted that 90% of the best-performing videos all contain a custom thumbnail, but then how does one create a thumbnail that grabs the viewer’s attention? In this article, we will look at several ways to help your thumbnails stand apart from the crowd and entice those all-important click-throughs.
High-Quality Thumbnails are Key
Your thumbnail images should be in a 16:9 aspect ratio and be a maximum size of 1280 pixels by 720 pixels. This will allow the image to scale great on any screen size the video is being watched. It should also be noted that the file size should not be larger than 2 MB. These requirements are specified by YouTube and meeting these is the first hurdle to overcome when creating your thumbnail.
Different Images Different Rules
Say you are creating a thumbnail for a cooking recipe or doing a makeup tutorial, the images you choose will be different and need to be treated differently. For inanimate objects, close-up images tend to do better overall. A close-up of your food or a section of a painting creates a lot of visual interest in the viewer.
However, if the video is a make-up tutorial or a talking-head video having a human face in the image is a must. Humans have evolved so that faces draw our interest on a deep psychological level. Having an image with a human face can instinctively draw the viewer’s attention. This tactic can further be supplemented by using facial emotions relevant to the subject matter. You created a video on competitive gaming, get an image with a gamer voicing their victory loudly, just as an example.
Never Underestimate Text
The few words of text you include in your thumbnail should tell the viewer almost everything they need to know. To that extent, it must be short and concise and the font must be readable. Different font styles are also used to convey certain messages over and above the text’s meaning. For example, the sans serif font family is used for a modern clean look that screams professionalism. The serif font family alludes to the traditional and reliable, while the script font family is often used to create an air of sophistication or elegance.
Rule of Thirds
Try this as an experiment, divide your thumbnail into nine equal parts, using imaginary horizontal and vertical lines. Place the subject on one of the four intersecting points. Then fill up the image to approximately two-thirds of the image. See how this creates an insanely high level of visual interest.
If you have got this far and feel a little overwhelmed, fear not. Creating great thumbnails can be difficult for the beginner, fortunately, a great youtube video thumbnail template is only a search away. You can easily get a free template that has all the design characteristics we’ve mentioned above. These templates can further be customized to your needs making sure you have a great thumbnail every time.
In concluding, it is wise to say a little about clickbait and that it should be avoided. The thumbnail should be an accurate representation of the content. While clickbait can increase your clicks drastically over a short period, YouTube using the almighty algorithm will begin to stop recommending your content to wider audiences. Those click-throughs you got initially will all be for naught in the long run.
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