YouTube creators from amateur to expert should know how important it is to have a good thumbnail image for every video. In fact, even a non-creator who lands on YouTube as a viewer knows, whether consciously or not, the importance of thumbnail images. A potential viewer chooses which video to click on based on the impression of the thumbnails presented.
The thumbnail image is the make or break element of any video–it’s that important. It can boost a video’s chances to be discovered by the algorithm more than any other factor.
For a creator, this is powerful information to have. Making a great thumbnail image can be the basis for all future content creation, knowing that its performance can be tracked through analytics, and adjustments made accordingly.
Seeing the difference between a good and bad thumbnail image is one thing, but knowing how to make a good thumbnail versus a bad one is entirely another. To begin, a creator needs to customize a thumbnail using a picture or pictures that look good at any size and that have vivid color.
The images to be used should communicate the key information from the video, whether the video has already been recorded or is yet to be shot. Note that this means the thumbnail is so important that a creator should consider it before the content is even made.
A creator needs to know the specifications that work for YouTube images–specs like resolution limits, pixels, and formats (.JPG, .GIF, etc.)–and follow them every time.
The thumbnail should be viewed in different sizes, zooming views, and on different devices from mobile to desktop to ensure there are no unforeseen problems before the upload is finalized.
Overlaying thumbnail images with text including branding is not always necessary, but when done should be a text that is to the point and easy to read.
Eye-catching images that convey an emotion should always capture the vibe of the content to avoid being marked as “click bait.” Emotion-driven images also perform well in the algorithm. Consistency in thumbnail image establishes consistency within the video’s data itself and among the videos in the entire channel’s library. It also gives viewers a sense of satisfaction in expectation, which generally translates to better view duration. This can be monitored in the channel’s analytics and modified accordingly.
YouTubers who learn the rules of thumbnail customization are ahead of the competition in the discovery race. It helps creators get a better handle on what happens with their content.