The YouTube thumbnail is a vital part of your SEO strategy. It’s kind of like the cover of a book. It grabs the attention of the audience and compels them to want to know more, hopefully enough to inspire action. In this case, the response would be watching the video. It can be hard to cut through the chatter and stand out, but it is doable. Here are a few steps to follow when creating thumbnails to ensure that viewers crave more and watch your videos.
Custom Thumbnails Attract Attention
When you upload a video on YouTube, you automatically get the option to choose a custom thumbnail. This is because you will first be given the choice of some automatically generated thumbnails that YouTube pulled from your video. The automatically generated thumbnails are not entirely representative of what your video is about, and they may not be of good quality. Always choose to create a custom thumbnail because this will allow you to brand your videos or your channel which will make them easily recognizable to your audience. There are tutorials on YouTube to learn how to do this.
Use Photo Editing Tools
Photo editing tools can make your thumbnail images pop. They allow you to do things like adding a border or a bold background color which automatically draws attention. You will want to use text sparingly and only when necessary. If you do use text, keep it short and make it stand out. You will want to make sure that your thumbnails are visually appealing, and that you frame them well. People automatically get drawn to faces, so use your face if you can. Images should contain action, if only through facial expression. However, the critical part is that the image conveys the desired message even after you have sized it down quite considerably.
Brand And High Definition
YouTube requires a high-resolution image of 1280 pixels x 720 pixels. However, a high-definition image of 1920 pixels x 1080 pixel will display better on different screen sizes. Your audience may be viewing from a smartphone, tablet or desktop, so you want to ensure a high-quality image on each screen. Viewers aren’t likely to click on any image that is blurry or distorted because it sets the tone for the video. When visitors see an excellent thumbnail image, they expect a great video and vice versa.
You will also want to brand your thumbnails to make them easily recognizable. They should all have a common thread. Maybe all the titles are a specific font, or you use the same face in each of them. Perhaps there is a particular little picture somewhere in the frame. Whatever the case may be, there should be some consistency across the board that users can recognize as yours. That lets them know that your videos are consistent, reliable and high-quality.
Make It Pop With Color
Color automatically draws the eye, and it is not unusual for content creators to change the background color in thumbnails. Audiences love crisp, bright colors and clean lines. That doesn’t mean there can’t be images in the thumbnail, far from it. Be sure to use color to draw attention. However, there is a fine line that you must observe. You don’t want the thumbnail to be too busy. Remember, the thumbnail image sets the expectation for the video itself.
Creating a great thumbnail isn’t rocket science, but it does take some practice. Thumbnails that grab attention get the views so follow these guidelines when creating yours. It will help drive traffic and capture views.