Unexpected Link Between Video Thumbnails and User Engagement

Learn what makes a visually compelling thumbnail that drives user engagement and entices viewers into a world of exciting content

Jameela Ghann
Jun 17, 2024
min read

Have you ever noticed how some videos on YouTube have millions of views while others have just a few? What makes the difference? In many cases, it comes down to the video thumbnail.

A video thumbnail is a small image that represents your video. It's the first thing that people see when they're browsing for videos to watch, so it's essential to make a good impression.

Let's uncover the role of video thumbnails and explore how you can leave a lasting impression, drawing the audience into the heart of your content.

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Why Thumbnails Matter

Video thumbnails impact video views and click-through rates. These small images can affect the success of your online content by attracting viewers and shaping their choices. Their visual cues can make or break the viewer's decision to explore your content further.

Impact on User Engagement

Thumbnails are essential for engaging viewers who are already on the platform. They leave a stronger impression than the title, grabbing attention and encouraging clicks—even if the descriptions aren't appealing.

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Designing Irresistible Video Thumbnails

To create compelling video thumbnails, you should follow several best practices such as:

  • High-Quality Images: Ensure the images you use in your thumbnails aren't blurry or pixelated to capture your viewers' attention better.
  • Bright Contrasting Colors: Use bright and contrasting colors—especially in your font—to make your thumbnail stand out. Create a palate to project a clean and professional look.
  • Text Overlays: Include text overlays that concisely describe the video's content and use a hook to pique viewers' interest.
  • Include Faces: Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology says images with faces receive more likes and comments. Action shots or surprised expressions can be incredibly engaging.
  • Consistency: Be consistent in style for your thumbnails. The uniformity in fonts and colors can help viewers recognize your brand.

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Changing Thumbnails: Before and After Publication

If you're wondering how to change the thumbnail of a video, the step-by-step process varies on the platform you're using. When uploading your video to YouTube, there's an option to add a thumbnail. Click the three dots (options) and upload the image, but ensure the file isn't too large to be accepted.

If you use TikTok, tap "Select Cover" and choose a frame or upload an image; to add a thumbnail to Instagram Reels, tap "Add Cover Photo" and do the same.

Avoiding Blunders

To create compelling thumbnails, avoid the following:

  • Clickbait: Clickbait images lower user engagement and damage your reputation because they mislead users to expect content that isn't delivered.
  • Irrelevant Images: Thumbnails must consistently contain relevant images related to the video content to provide a clear preview.
  • Excessive text: A thumbnail with too much text can be overwhelming and challenging to read. This can make it difficult for viewers to quickly understand what the video is about and whether or not they want to watch it.

Click-Worthy Video: Your Ticket to Success

Whether you're a creator or browsing, remember these little images have a big job. They can either grab your attention and pull you in or be overlooked. So, next time you're scrolling, take a moment to appreciate the power of these tiny but essential visuals. They're the gatekeepers to exciting content waiting to be discovered.

While finding the best possible thumbnail for your video, check out guidde. It uses AI to help you create beautiful and informative how-to videos in seconds.

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