Creating a Compelling YouTube Thumbnail (11 Actionable Tips)

shocked lady

Having a good thumbnail is for your YouTube video is absolutely essential, because it is your video’s advertisement. People are visually inspired, and your thumbnail is the first thing they will notice when they stumble upon your video.

No matter how good the content of your video, it is your thumbnail that is going to convince them to even read the title in the first place. If your thumbnail doesn’t grab attention, people are not going to watch your video, no matter how good it is.

Here are 11 powerful tips for creating the perfect YouTube thumbnail so that you can get the most amount of views possible.

  1. YouTube will offer you a choice of auto-generated thumbnails which are frames from your uploaded video. Never use an auto-generated thumbnail for your video. Always create your own.
  2. You can sensationalize the thumbnail with click-bait to increase attention, as long as it is directly relevant and not misleading. It works really well. But you have to be very cautious here. Misleading your audience can damage your brand reputation, and YouTube will stop showing your videos if you have a high bounce rate.
  3. The thumbnail you use will have no impact on your search results, but will impact your clickthrough rate.
  4. The thumbnail should explain or tell the story of the video without having to read the title.
  5. Your thumbnail should communicate exactly what your video is about at a glance. It should be eye-catching, relevant to your target audience and make them want to watch the video, right now!
  6. Use the right dimensions to create your thumbnail. As per YouTube’s guidelines, your thumbnail should be 1280px x 720px, with a minimum width of 640px and an aspect ratio of 16:9.
  7. Choose an attractive and easily readable font that suits the theme and look of your channel.
  8. Keep branding in mind when creating your thumbnail. If you have a website, create a consistent theme that matches the color scheme of your website.
  9. Use bright, contrasting colors and backgrounds in your thumbnail to increase readability.
  10. People are more inclined to click on faces rather than on random pictures. Where appropriate, use closeups of faces showing some kind of relatable emotion such as a shocked face, preferably making eye contact.
  11. Make sure your thumbnail is not too busy looking, confusing, boring or hard to read. Use no more than 4 to 5 words where possible. Using too many words in the image can put people off your video.
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