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Practical YouTube Thumbnail Guide 2023

Let’s dig a little deeper into creating an eye-catching YouTube thumbnail that will help you boost your viewership and beneficial for YouTube SEO.

What makes you click on that YouTube video without even reading its title? That’s right; it’s a thumbnail! YouTube thumbnails are a significant element to get more views and make your video stand out.

In this practical guide, you’ll gain enough knowledge to become a pro at creating video thumbnails that pop. These thumbnails will aid you in grasping your audience’s attention, making them enthusiastic about watching your content. Let’s dig a little deeper into creating an eye-catching YouTube thumbnail that will help you boost your viewership and beneficial for YouTube SEO.

Understanding YouTube Thumbnails

what are youtube thumbnails

What are YouTube Thumbnails?

Don’t judge a book by its cover. However, don’t we all do that? The way we judge a book by its cover design, in the same way your target audience judges and gets a hint about what your YouTube video has to say. A YouTube thumbnail is the cover design of the video.

The thumbnail is an image with compromised quality that also talks a lot about your video. It is primarily the first thing your audience will see while browsing that helps them to decide the best video solution or content to view. In short, YouTube thumbnails are small clickable images that the viewers will click on if they choose to watch the video.

Why use Custom Thumbnails?

Thumbnail is like an overview of the content in the video that makes it easier for the audience to choose between a variety of videos available online. Therefore, a top-notch custom video thumbnail will help you make your content look outstanding.

However, is a custom thumbnail that important? Why not just use a snapshot from the video or the recommendations that YouTube provides by default? Well, you have everything you need, right?—An appealing headline, good content, smart SEO keywords. Then, why choose a custom thumbnail?
Well, here’s the answer: The majority of the best-performing and trending videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails! Yes, you read it correctly.

Imagine the people who browse through YouTube, hoping to find that one video they’ve been looking for. Instead, attention-seeking headlines and enticing thumbnails trap the viewers in the loop of watching the videos. Jumping from one video to the next in the suggestions section, the magic of thumbnails worked!

Specifically, the thumbnails are also designed to provide the audience with a valuable overview of the content, be compelling enough for the audience to watch, differentiate your brand, and make the viewing experience easy on any device.

Your video thumbnail has the power to either effectively build your brand name or to destroy it. Well, this is mainly because your thumbnail will create the first impression on your audience, which will ultimately lead to their decision to view it or skip it. The first impression is the best—at least in this case! Additionally, the thumbnail image of your choice must make your audience curious enough to watch the video.

Creating Outstanding Thumbnails


Tips to consider while creating video thumbnails

To create strong and appealing thumbnails, keeping in mind, the below-stated elements are incredibly crucial.

YouTube’s Terms of Service

While selecting an image and finalizing it as your video thumbnail, you must make sure that your image and text don’t contain any kind of copyright infringement. Also, make sure that your chosen thumbnail is age-appropriate for your target audience.

Selection of Image

Choosing an image is undoubtedly the most significant element to consider. Ensure that the image is strong and vibrant, and it portrays the overview you want to convey through your content. Also, the image must look appealing in both larger and smaller sizes. Lastly, run a quick quality check to ensure that the thumbnail makes your content stand out from the others.

Image Resolution

The higher the image resolution better the promised quality of the thumbnail. However, make sure to keep the size under 2 MB.

Photo Composition & Text

In order to make the photo composition better and interesting, apply the “rule of thirds.” Also, while using text, make sure that it is fresh, original, and not plagiarised.

YouTube Thumbnail Design Trends

Exploring what’s going on YouTube Thumbnail Trends, can help you to grab attention. Below are some examples of YT Thumbnail Trends.

4 trending thumbnail designs on YouTube

  1. Thumbnails with Faces: The content creators on YouTube usually choose thumbnails with faces. Well, that’s mainly because our brains are compelled to respond to faces.
  2. Thumbnails that Play with Perspective: Creativity is the key in perspective-oriented thumbnails. When it comes to creating thumbnails that play with your perspective, you can create engaging visuals that build curiosity in the audience.
  3. Emoji Thumbnails: Many content creators on YouTube choose emoticons as the thumbnails to their videos. Well, the emojis are easy to understand and convey the overview of the video.
  4. Progress Showing Thumbnails: Simply put… don’t we all love the before/after video or even image content available on social media? The content creators use this formula to grab their audience’s attention and trigger some gripping points through the portrayal of the thumbnail.

Thumbnail Patterns and Why are they Important

Youtube Thumbnail Ideas

What is one of the most significant factors that many content creators overlook while choosing a thumbnail? That’s right, the pattern! Well, most people don’t or hardly use any design to create thumbnails. However, you don’t want to be ‘most people, do you? Incorporating patterns while creating the thumbnail will make it look unique and different from the rest.

Visual patterns not only make the content visually appealing, but they also help in gaining more viewership. Patterns make video thumbnails look more professional, and they help to maintain brand consistency. Whereas, one of the most important reasons to incorporate patterns with thumbnails the YouTube Neural Network Algorithm. The algorithm is specifically programmed to search for patterns. Hence, it will aid in increasing the viewership.

On the other hand, if you want the pattern to use its magic to the fullest, you must include your recognizable channel icon and text.

Common Thumbnail Mistakes and How to Avoid them

Well, to err is human, right? Let’s take a look at common mistakes while creating a thumbnail and how to avoid them.

Using More Words Than Required

The text used in the thumbnail must be concise and crisp. If the line succeeds in seeking your audience’s attention, then your work here is done! Using too many words in thumbnails will make your audience lose interest, and your video will be scrolled upon!

Boring Video Thumbnails

When creating a thumbnail, avoid using dull images. Instead, choose something that your viewers will resonate with. Don’t forget that they’re browsing YouTube in the first place, probably because they are bored!

Blurry Thumbnails

Always try to choose a thumbnail that doesn’t have too much motion in it. The action will make the thumbnail look blurry, which will speak a lot about the content and not in a good way. So, the better the quality, the better the impression.

How to Change YouTube Thumbnails?

Let’s go through the quick steps of setting up or changing a thumbnail on YouTube.

  • Sign in to your YouTube account
  • Click on your channel icon
  • Click on “Creator Studio
  • Go to “Video Manager
  • Click on “Edit
  • Select a thumbnail or click on Custom Thumbnail
  • Choose the image
  • Click “Open
  • Save changes

YouTube’s Guidelines for Thumbnail Creation

It is highly significant to keep in mind YouTube’s guidelines while creating a thumbnail. Your video thumbnail must not include nudity or sexual content, violence, copyright infringement, and illegal typefaces such as default system fonts, purchased or free fonts, and so on.

To summarize everything, you know the importance of compelling thumbnails as they will help you increase your content viewership. Choose customized thumbnails with classic incorporation of patterns while keeping in mind the guidelines. Also, to make your video thumbnail flawless curiosity building, make sure to avoid the mistakes and carefully weave all the significant elements.

So, all the best with creating your video thumbnail—the new internet trend!