The Six Elements of Clickable Video Thumbnails

The Six Elements of Clickable Video Thumbnails

Thumbnails are the first impression your audience has of your videos so it’s important to make it a good one. A great thumbnail gives you the opportunity to really sell yourself and your video content.

Izak Jackson

4 min read

A great video thumbnail is one of the most important elements of your video, it’s the first impression your audience has so it’s important to make it a good one. A great thumbnail gives you the opportunity to really sell yourself and your video content. In this blog, I am going to tell you about the six key elements of clickable video thumbnails.

Include Faces

People like to deal with people which is why some of the best thumbnails include the face of the person who will be featured in the video. Faces help viewers to recognise people whose content they know and love, encouraging them to hit the play button.

Minimal Text

It can be tempting to add large amounts of text to your thumbnail in a bid to explain everything you’ll be talking about in your video but the more text you add, the more likely a person is to carry on scrolling.

Lots of text can make your thumbnail look cluttered and it can be hard for the viewer to understand what your video is about.  Every video should have one clear message and objective, something you need to get across in your thumbnail text.

Don’t use more than a few words, remember you have your title to tell viewers what your video is about so the last thing you want to do is to repeat your title in a thumbnail. Keeping text short and snappy will increase the chances of your video getting views.

Use Bright, Saturated Colours

There are thousands of videos uploaded onto YouTube and every minute, which is why it’s important that your thumbnail stands out from the crowd. One of the easiest ways to stop users scrolling is by using bright, saturated colours.

It’s important you choose colours that will contrast well when used together. If you’re using a dark colour for your background for example, make sure the text colour is light in order to offset it and make it easier to read.

Some of the best colours to use are green, yellow, blue and orange. These colours are bright, vibrant and help to catch the attention of potential viewers. Although these colours are popular and work well when used on thumbnails, just remember to choose colours that work with your brand.

Consistency is Key

Consistency between your video thumbnails is so important as it helps to grow your brand recognition. Using consistent colours, layouts and fonts will help your audience identify your videos no matter how many other videos appear in their search results. Once you and your videos have gained credibility, people will keep coming back for more!

Eye-catching Images

A picture is worth a thousand words so include one in your video thumbnail. Using a relevant, quality image in your thumbnail not only helps draw attention to your video but gives your audience an idea of what your video is all about and helps to tell a story.

Whatever image you decide to use, just make sure it is high quality, on-brand and relates to the subject of the video. No one likes clickbait so if the image you use is irrelevant, it could harm your reputation or brand. YouTube can also penalise you if your bounce rate is too high by stopping your videos from appearing in search results.

Designed for the Small Screen

Video thumbnails are small, and they become even smaller when viewed on a smartphone so make sure your thumbnail design works for the small screen.

Don’t overcomplicate your thumbnails, less is more so keep it simple and to the point.  Make sure your text is big enough to read and the colours you use make your thumbnail pop. If using images of products or people, make sure to use close up shots so it’s easier for the viewer to see no matter the size.


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