Studies show that first impressions are formed within a fraction of a second. When viewers see the thumbnail image of a video, they immediately form an opinion that can dictate whether they watch the video or move on. Unfortunately, video creators often spend hours building quality content, only to use a poor thumbnail and generate fewer views than desired. Creating and choosing the right thumbnail for a video often has a significant impact on the size of the audience that video ultimately attracts.
The best video thumbnails may seem to be randomly selected, but they are usually not. Most often, thumbnail selections are the result of careful consideration with regard to a video’s target audience and how that audience should be targeted. Most video creation software will default the video thumbnail to the first video frame. However, this is rarely the best thumbnail to use. Using different types of video editing software, creators can select a new thumbnail in several different ways. Still images from the video can make for excellent thumbnails, as can uploaded images or custom images snapped from the video.
Thumbnails need to serve the purpose of video “teaser” and embody the entire message of the video. The viewer should know what the video is going to be about before they watch it, just based on the thumbnail. When choosing a thumbnail, aim to hint at the overall theme of the video and make sure the thumbnail is eye-catching and will compel viewers to click. Additionally, the thumbnail should be consistent with your branding and optimized to look great on a screen or device of any size. Other ways to make your thumbnail more appealing are branding the thumbnail with your company logo or adding text that represents the video content. Some professionals also believe that adding a human face to the thumbnail builds an emotional connection with viewers and thereby makes them more compelled to click.