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A picture is worth 1,000 words – especially when it comes to video thumbnails on social media! When you factor in character limits on captions + titles, SEO, video categories, hashtags… There’s a lot that goes into getting your videos ranked first in YouTube searches, but the thumbnail is key.
A good thumbnail is like the cover of a magazine: It tells you what the video is about, piques the viewer’s interest, and makes it stand out from the competition. Read on for our ___ surefire tricks to creating the best YouTube thumbnails ever!
1. Show Your Face – and Have Fun Posing!
Humans prefer images of other humans: It’s basic biology. Choose a fun screenshot or two from your video to put in your thumbnail – nothing blurry or profane, but something that resonates with your brand aesthetic. It should flow smoothly with all the other thumbnails on your channel, but still have its’ own pizazz factor. An energetic pose (versus, say, a clearly posed-for, still image) will also add zhuzh.
2. Decide On Your Personal Brand Elements, and Use Them
3. Add Text – But Not Too Much
Adding text overlays & graphics to your thumbnails is always a great idea, as it helps to reinforce the words in the video title and, again, makes your thumbnail stand out in searches. Use graphics & font sizes that are easily read at a distance, but that also don’t take up too much space in the overall photo.
4. Keep the Thumbnail Size + Aspect Ratio In Mind
The large version of a video thumbnail on YouTube is 1280 x 720, but can be sized down to as little as 210×118, depending on where a viewer sees it on YouTube’s website or mobile app. Too many pictures, graphics, and text overlays will make the image busy and unreadable. Keep the aspect ratio at 16:9, and size the image up and down to make sure it’s legible at any size.
5. Make Sure the Thumbnail Fits the Video
When you’re mocking up a thumbnail, keep the video’s subject in mind. Text overlays, graphics, and images should all directly reinforce the content you’ve worked so hard to create. Key action phrases like, “How To”, “Learn”, “Win This”, “Tutorial”, “You Need This”, etc will also inspire searchers to click & watch.