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Learn How to Create Video Thumbnails to Drive Views

Thumbnail: what is it. Have you thought about creating thumbnail images for your YouTube channel? Understand everything about the topic here!

Constantly, when surfing the Internet, we encounter unknown words and terms.

And you can even try, but you will never know the meaning of all of them. It happens because new words arise all the time.

For example, a new word arises every 98 minutes, 14.7 per day in English.

It also influences our language, mainly in the Digital Marketing environment and other web segments, where the language is practically unified. Not in vain, the millionth registered word in 2009 was Web 2.0.

We call this phenomenon a neologism. It happens when creating new expressions and words and assigning new meanings to exist terms.

They can be artificial or spontaneous, but the second example occurs more often.

It is the case with the word thumbnail. Although it has a literal meaning, its semantics have changed with technological evolution.

In this article, you will find out what it is and learn about its usefulness today.

And then, what is a thumbnail?

Look at the thumb on your right hand. Done, you just found a thumbnail.

Its literal translation is the union of thumb (thumb) and nail (nail). “Stop eating your thumbnails right now,” your mother might say a few years ago.

Remember when we talked about semantic transformation?

This is the term used to designate a thumbnail image in the digital environment.

Although most people do not know what a thumbnail is, likely, they have already come across several throughout their lives.

Do you know that still image that appears in the YouTube video thumbnails? Or have you already seen the photos in a reduced size in your smartphone gallery?

You have certainly already seen them on your favorite blog, and after clicking on them, you have been able to see them in their original size.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, take a test! Go to Google Images and search for any term.

First, you will see a series of thumbnails. Then, you will choose the one that corresponds to your search, and you will click to see it in a larger size.

Ok, I understand. But what is a thumbnail for?

Thumbnails are very important because they are lightweight files.

This means that, on the Internet, the loading time of the pages will be less, and you can use multiple images to illustrate them.

The same goes for when you want to find an image on your computer. Have you ever noticed that sometimes it takes time to open?

It is much more practical to see all the thumbnails at once and then choose the one you will use.

So far, so good. But what are the channels where it is used?

Surely you have understood the sense of using them in blogs and websites. Thumbnails represent a lower load time.

Thus, they save the user’s Internet band and allow the public display of visual content. However, a thumbnail takes on new features when used in videos.

Audiovisual content has the highest growth rate among Internet formats.

Here are some interesting facts about this feature:

  • videos influence the decision making of 90% of users;
  • ⅓ of all online activities are consumed in the video;
  • a common user attends, on average, 32.3 videos per month;
  • 80% of users remember a watched video in the last 30 days;
  • videos increase click-through rate in email marketing by 200-300%;
  • videos included in landing pages increase the conversion rate by 80%.

And, perhaps, the most significant of them:

  • YouTube reports indicate that the consumption of videos through mobile devices increases by 100% each year.

So, there is no denying that this type of content tends to dominate the digital market.

And in that context, a good thumbnail can mean the difference between a view on your video and the user desisting.

On YouTube channels and similar social networks, it can be the user’s first contact with your content.

Titles are very important, but it is essential to think about the cover of your content.

But why is it important to the success of my channel?

The thumbnail is also known as a “custom video thumbnail” on YouTube.

She is responsible for bringing a preview image of what will be discussed in the video. In addition, it is a good way to promote your brand and strengthen the company’s visual identity.

Think about it: when the user sees the thumbnail of your videos, they immediately need to identify them as yours.

This also happens when a consumer distinguishes a product by the packaging format, the logo, or the colors.

When Kinder added new products (different from the traditional oval format) to its catalog, no one doubted that it was the original chocolate. This happens because people remember it: white and orange, it’s Kindergarten.

I’m sure you’ll also remember some brands when you see the apple symbol on an electronic product. Or a horse in a red car.

The same goes for that green glass beer packaging, the brown container, and the peculiar format of a chocolate product.

All this is called branding, and it is related to the image of your product or service, with videos, that also happens.

And what are the components of a thumbnail?

You need to know that YouTube is also a search engine, just like Google.

YouTube has an algorithm to position the most important videos and bring higher quality to the user.

A thumbnail is a fundamental element of the Internet user’s choice.

Therefore, she will help you receive more clicks, views, likes, comments, shares, and other viral effects from engagement.

Plus, it’s a great way to include additional information about your content and grab your audience’s attention.

Next, you will know what the essential components for a good thumbnail are:

1. Text

Text is one of the most important elements of a thumbnail.

He can, for example, synthesize the topic that will be treated, complementing the title. It can also be created in numbers, indicating that the video is part of a series.

It is important not to exaggerate the number of characters since it is a thumbnail. The indicated thing is to use short expressions, from one to five words.

As an essential part of your branding strategy, always use the same color, font, and text size in the written content of your thumbnail.

Also, make it fit your personality. If your channel is humorous, use funny fonts. If it’s educational, try to create a serious atmosphere.

And don’t forget: people need to identify your channel right away. Therefore, it is also important to maintain originality.

2. Colors

As you have seen in our Kindergarten example, colors greatly impact branding.

Depending on their degree of importance, they can also highlight and mask elements. As in the texts, there is a hierarchy of information for the user.

In this aspect, the strategies are based on the concepts of the same image for conversion.

Here is an interesting article on the Psychology of Colors to delve deeper into the subject.

3. Image


Another important element in a thumbnail is the images. A tip: include a moment captured from the video.

If the content has the presentation format, but the most important slide (or something that summarizes the video). In the case of videos where there is a presenter, how about putting an interesting photo of the person?

Or even insert icons that represent the topic’s essence of being treated. You can also opt for monochrome backgrounds, depending on the objective.

If your video is more audio-oriented, such as podcasts or songs, those also have their place on the platform.

It also explores the viewer’s curiosity factor. If there’s a climax in the video (such as a surprising secret reveal or comedic moment), use a paused image just a second before it plays.

4. Icons, emojis, and memes

The language in the images is another factor that influences the quality of the thumbnail.

Icons are excellent resources because they say a lot without taking up a lot of space. Emojis, for example, can make content easier to understand.

Yes, they are the same ones used in WhatsApp or Messenger. They are in the user’s subconscious and therefore carry an implicit message.

The angry emoji can represent a bad situation, while the clapping emoji can mean something important.

The same goes for memes. ” Troll, “Seriously, “OMG, “Forever Alone, “Me Gusta, “Like a Boss, “Lol,” and ” Like a Sir ” are some of the best known.

But if your content is very serious or your persona doesn’t understand these games, you can opt for smaller icons. The Icon Finder can be a good option to find them.

5. Objective

Of course, your thumbnail must match the content of the video. Otherwise, the user will abandon it at some point.

And you don’t want this to happen since it represents an increase in the Community Guidelines.

Your video may receive an age restriction if it contains sexual, violent, or explicit content. Furthermore, it is even possible to be removed from the platform. In cases of recurrence, you can lose the channel.

From now on, you have it in your hands. Use the image editor you want.

The most suitable is Adobe Photoshop. In addition, Canva offers the possibility of making online and to the recommended standards. Other options are PicMonkey and Viso Catalyst.

How to add a thumbnail to my video?

You will need a verified account to send custom thumbnails to your videos. You will only have to confirm to YouTube that you are not a robot through an automated voice or text message.

Once you do that, inserting thumbnails into videos is very simple. You have to follow the following steps:

Step 1: Sign in to Google and sign in to YouTube.

Step 2: Click on the channel photo in the top right corner and select “Creation Studio.” Or type www.youtube.com/dashboard in your browser.

Step 3: Select the video and click “Edit.”

Step 4: Next to the preview screen, click on “Custom Thumbnails.”

Step 5: Upload your image.

Step 6: Click “Save Changes.”

It is unnecessary to perform this operation every time you want to insert your thumbnail. For simplicity, you can select the “Custom Thumbnail” option at the end of each video upload.

Certainly, by following these practical tips, you will succeed in creating your thumbnails and optimizing the views on your YouTube channel.

And if you want to keep your videos at the top of the social network users’ searches, discover how to choose the best keywords for SEO in videos.

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