Rule of thumbnails: how to create click-worthy images

Thumbnails and titles are the most important factors in getting people to click on your videos! Check out the following tips to hone your thumbnail game, leading new viewers and old subscribers back to your channel again and again.

1. Your thumbnails and titles should accurately represent your video.

You want to get clicks, but you don’t want to be clickbait. If the first 15 to 30 seconds of your video don't match the thumbnail and title, your audience will desert you to find content they were actually looking for. Lower view duration equals lower positioning in YouTube’s algorithm equals a lower chance of people discovering your content.

Instead, focus on making each thumbnail/title combo a miniature portrait of the video it represents. Let the audience know what they’re going to see, hint at how you’re going to present it, and tease them with the potential value of the experience.


2. Your thumbnail and title should work together to tell a clear story about your content.

3. The focus of your thumbnail should be easy to see, online or on mobile.

Don’t make your thumbnail too busy! Having more than one or two images together in the same frame makes it harder for the viewers to resolve them into a singular message.

Since most of your audience is coming from mobile, your thumbnails need to be clear and compelling at any size. Foreground only one or two things, and make sure that they stand out from the background.

If you use faces, make sure they’re in focus – people don’t like blurry faces at any size.

Text should also be large and clear enough for anyone on any platform to read.


4. Pizzazz!

Bright colors, high contrast, and bold design draw eyes to your thumbnail amid the throng of visuals on YouTube. Take those foregrounded images and make them pop! Go big and bring home the views!

Check out this thumbnail quick tips video by beauty and fashion vlogger, Alison Henry!