Tech & Web

How to create a great-looking YouTube thumbnail like a pro

It’s been said by many big YouTubers, if your thumbnails are no good, you will lose a lot of traffic on your YouTube videos. Apart from having interesting content, a video’s thumbnail is another key to draw people’s attention. We have listed all tips & tricks on how to improve your YouTube thumbnail in order to entice more viewers.

What’s the purpose of a YouTube thumbnail?

A thumbnail is a cover of your YouTube video that previews what the clip is talking about, similar to a book’s cover. It is the first thing that people see when browsing on YouTube and help influence them to watch your video.

In general, YouTube thumbnails are a shot captured from the video. You can either choose an auto-generated thumbnail from YouTube or upload a custom one with a title or logo.

How can we set or change a YouTube thumbnail?

For the beginners, below are step-by-step instructions on how to set a thumbnail for your new videos:

  • First and foremost, you should go to “YouTube Studio” where you can manage your channel.
  • Click on “Create” in the top right corner, next to your profile photo to upload your clip.
  • After that, scroll down to find the “Thumbnail” menu.
  • Then, you will see a list of thumbnails automatically generated by YouTube.
  • Select the one you prefer or click on the “Upload thumbnail” option to add your customized clip’s cover.

In case you want to change a thumbnail for the already uploaded clips, you can follow the steps below:

  • Navigate to “YouTube Studio” and then click on the “Content” menu located on the left sidebar.
  • Thereafter, all uploaded videos will be immediately displayed on your screen.
  • Select the video you want to change the preview image.
  • After that, you can change the thumbnail by going to “Upload thumbnail”, select a photo from your computer, and click “save” to finish.

What is the ideal size for a YouTube thumbnail?

Before creating a cover photo for your video, here is the standard dimensions and requirements you should use:

  • The image file must be saved in JPG, PNG, GIF, or BMP format.
  • The best size for a video thumbnail is 1280 x 720 pixels.
  • The image width cannot be lower than 640 pixels.
  • The file should not be greater than 2 MB.
  • We recommend using a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is considered the most standard resolution for modern visual media.

5 Techniques for creating a striking YouTube thumbnail

As a video thumbnail plays an important role in getting traffic to your videos, we have put 5 techniques to create an eye-catching preview photo that will help you get potential viewers to watch.

High-quality image

Viewers expect to see a high-quality photo and video from your channel. Thus, you should upload a large image file with a high resolution for the best clarity. We suggest that you should take still photos while shooting a video to use as a thumbnail, instead of taking a screenshot from the clip. By doing this, the image won’t be blurry or out-of-focus. You can also use the Sharpen function to help you make your picture less blurry.

Make the text clean and easy-to-read

When we browse videos to watch on YouTube, there will be hundreds of them that show up on the screen in a few seconds. In general, we will take a quick glance only at a previewed image before choosing the one we want to watch.

Therefore, your thumbnail should be simple and the title easy to read at a glance. The key is to make the headline short and clear, but still catchy. Besides, you should avoid too small and too long text as well.

Use a vivid color that catches people’s eyes

In order to make your video outstanding, you should pick an attractive color for the title to let it stand out. Remember that a text color should be contrasted to the background. For example, you may select bright yellow or red text for a dark background.

In addition, we suggest adding a stroke or a shadow to the text by using Photoshop so viewers can read it easily.

Select the most appealing shot for your Thumbnail

When you are choosing an image for the video thumbnail, you should select the best shot that genuinely represents the overall idea of your content. Normally, a highlight of the clip with a captivating headline will do the trick.

Moreover, you must avoid an irrelevant thumbnail image that is not related to the content. Otherwise, viewers tend to quit your video quickly and this will increase a bounce rate. As a result, your YouTube clip will not be shown on the first page of the search results.

Put your logo

Putting a logo on the thumbnails is a smart strategy to advertise your YouTube channel. It not only helps build brand awareness but also makes your video look more professional. However, you should know how to put it wisely in the right place.

We recommend adding your logo in the top left or right corner of the image. Make sure that it will not overlap the title if there is one. Besides, the logo should be not too large or too distinctive so it doesn’t distract from the headline or thumbnail image.

And now you have learned everything about how to create a YouTube Thumbnail like a professional. Hopefully, your new thumbnails will potentially increase your number of views and subscribers.