What are thumbnails? And why to use them?

Most of the beginner of YouTube are asking and searching for usually a common question that what are thumbnails and why to use them? Probably, you may’ve heard it more than a million times, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It simply means that it is not necessary that what is on the cover page of a book must be inside of that book too. May be, while in most cases it can be a good and sound advice/proverb. However, it is doesn’t means and also not necessary that peoples should listen to, and act upon, this warning. Especially in YouTube, a very large number of peoples judge images and videos by their thumbnails, on daily basis. In simple words, we can say that in this modern age of technology, thumbnails have the ability to give either a good or bad impression.

In this article we will focus on what exactly thumbnails are? So to keep our introduction short about thumbnails, we can say that “Thumbnails are reduced-size versions of images/photos or videos that got their name originally from being about the size of a human thumb nail. We can also say that “YouTube thumbnails serves as book covers of the online videos. And here our decision mostly depends upon whether to click on a video often comes down to its thumbnail. The reason is that an eye-catching image draws our attention in, while a boring or blurry thumbnail will automatically put us off from the topic.

Similarly, thumbnails are also easy to scan and organize them than their full-size counterparts. Actually, the thumbnails play the same role for images as a normal text index does for words. For instance, if your channel viewer is interested, they will click on the video’s thumbnail to expand the image and see the full picture. In other words, thumbnails make for smaller, more easily viewable pages and also allow viewers to have control over exactly what they want to see.
An eye-catching, interested and great custom video thumbnail have the ability to make all the difference when it comes to a viewer clicking through to your video or deciding whether or not to watch another video. It is, therefore, important and allows your viewers to know what they’re about to watch. Similarly, your viewers will also think about that why it is something they should be interested in. here, again we can say that it plays the same role as the book’s cover does. And we are sure that most of the peoples, including you, will’ve probably experienced this on YouTube several times while watching videos. In most cases, when you start watching your desired video, you may’ve seen a thumbnail for another video that may attract and catch your interest. Thus, the thumbnail is what compel and attract you to click and watch another video or images. Most of the peoples agrees on this point that a great thumbnail makes a creator’s content stand out.

Note: Also read about how to add thumbnails to videos?

What are YouTube’s default thumbnails?

YouTube also provides its default thumbnails to its users. Whenever you want to upload a video to your channel, and once your uploading process has finished, YouTube gives you three thumbnail choices. But, unfortunately, these thumbnails are pulled randomly from your uploaded video. It is, therefore, you have very little control over the choices—and mostly, they’re not so appealing, pretty and beautiful.

Now, decide yourself, is this really what you want your viewers to see on your channel? May be not, because these are taken from your uploaded videos. And you should provide somethings appealing, handsome and attractive thumbnails to attract more viewers for your channel.

How to Use Thumbnails

In the internet world, probably you’ll have noticed several times that, thumbnails are mostly everywhere. As thumbnails often act as first introduction to your content, it is therefore, most of the visual search engines, and image-organizing programs, like Google Image Search and YouTube use thumbnails to organize media. Same is the case of the modern operating systems like Microsoft Windows and macOS.
As in the above paragraph, we have mentioned that thumbnail act as first introduction to your content, it is therefore very important for you to make it sure, you have taken full advantage of this opportunity. For video creators, when it comes to making appealing, attractive and great thumbnails, here we will suggest that you should follow some basic guidelines and principals, apart from making content that viewers and fans want to watch. These basic principles and guidelines are provided below.

  • The subject of your video content should easily convey your message, for which purpose you’ve created it.
  • Your thumbnails should be appealing and attractive for your viewers so that your viewers compel to click-through to the video
  • You should also make it sure that they are optimized for any device
  • Make sure your thumbnails are differentiating their brand.

Custom thumbnails

Custom thumbnails are other than the default thumbnails. In default thumbnails you don’t have more control while in custom thumbnails you have more control in designing and beautification. That is why it, the Custom thumbnails, can really attract more traffic and boost your content viewership. You can also choose an image from your uploaded videos, if you want to keep things simple and easy. Here’s how:

Instructions for custom thumbnails:

  • Pick a frame:To start our step-by-step process, on YouTube or by using your operating system of yours choice, you have to open up your video and scrub to the specific still in your video that you’d like to use for a thumbnail.
  • Use a screenshot:There are some video editing software that allow you save the images. However, you can also use your operating system’s shortcut to take a screenshot.
  • For Windows:if you are using Windows operating system, then follow the instructions as given here. Windows key + Print Screen.
  • For Mac:If you are using Mac as your operating system then following method should be used to use te shortcuts. Command + Shift + 4, then you have to use your mouse to drag a frame around your desired area that you wish to take screenshot. Keep notice that this image will be saved to your desktop.
  • Upload Your Image:Once you’ve chosen your desired image, now you have to, upload this image to YouTube via the Edit Video page.
Instructions for making your thumbnails stand out:

In this section of our article we are going to present some basic instructions that how you will be able to make your thumbnails stand out. For instance, if you’ve good experience and skill of photos editing software like Photoshop or Corel draw, then you have to try a few more important things to make your thumbnail stand out.

  • Size:Proper size is very important. It is, therefore, very important to design your thumbnails at standard video sizes. One of the best and pretty standard sizes are 1280×720 or 1920×1080. A smaller thumbnails may look dim and blurry.
  • Add text:It is extremely important and necessary to add video title on your thumbnails to drive more traffic towards your videos. As it is a common practice that most of the viewers look at a video’s thumbnail before they read the actual text title of a video.
  • Adding of border is very important:Adding borders to your video thumbnails is also necessary. Some research on the internet shows that border around video thumbnail can also catch and divert more viewers’ attention as compared to thumbnails that have no borders. The important point and technique is that just don’t make it too thick. Adding thick border will limit what you’re able to display in the thumbnail and as a result its preview will not make your video thumbnails beautiful.
  • Background is important:Background is also playing an important role in catching eyes of your viewers and as a result it will diverting more traffic towards your content. There are several popular video creators that change the backgrounds of their thumbnail to solid colors to catch viewers’ eyes. In this way it will bring more attention to the main subject.
  • Test your work first:It should must be kept in mind that your thumbnail will often be displayed at a small size. During designing process, you have to, zoom out to make sure your thumbnail looks appealing and good when it’s sized down to its original.
Video Thumbnail Best Practices

In this section of article we will discuss some best practices of video Thumbnails. Being a YouTube user or YouTube channel owner, you may’ve created a video thumbnail, even without knowing about it. For instance, when you upload your video to YouTube, it uses a handy algorithm that always help the content creators, like you, to pick out the best thumbnail for their video. This is, of course, a very useful, suitable and convenient feature. But it is very necessary and important to look at and give a glance to the automatically chosen thumbnail. The reason is that you have to make it sure that it fits your content just right.
After doing some research work on the internet, we have tried to put together some important and useful tips on how to create a click-worthy video thumbnail image. Following are some of the suggestions.

  • You have to use your video thumbnail as your video’s movie poster.
  • Similarly, try to use a close-up of the subject
  • Always try to select best key words or include the title.
  • At controversy, you have to, use highly expressive faces and hint.
  • Perform a A/B split test for the selection of best and perfect images
  • Always remember that lighting highly matters.

We are hopeful that with the help of this article you will’ve gained good knowledge and skill about what are thumbnails? And why use them. And now as you’re familiar with thumbnails and also acquainted with some best practices for video thumbnails, so it’s, therefore, the best time to start making attractive, appealing and beautiful thumbnails that give a great first impression, for yours videos. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

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