Vlogging 101: How To Make Your YouTube Thumbnails Super-Clickable

25 April 2017, 16:27

We the Unicorns

By Liam Dryden

Haven't quite figured out how to make your YouTube videos POP? We've got the masterclass on making your thumbnails look great without the clickbait.

As we cruise effortlessly through our Vlogging 101 series, it's time to think of what happens when it comes to posting your video and catching the eyes of your subscribers. And truthfully, your secret weapon will always be your video thumbnails.

The thumbnail is the still image preview that people will have of your video online. As important as the video title, it’s the one thing that could determine whether someone watches your video, or somebody else’s. Internet people get easily distracted and like to click on shiny objects; so we're going to teach you how to make your object the shiniest!

Watch the Vlogging 101 video on nailing thumbnails below.

Here are the key points to getting your thumbnail just right.

(And you can apply these to almost every thumbnail!):

  • Don’t be afraid to pose for thumbnails. sometimes grabbing a screenshot from the video is fine, but if you’re talking for half an hour when recording, then you aren’t always focusing on how photogenic you’ll look in a still image. Plus, motion blur can be annoying. So feel free to stop and pose when you’re done , to give yourself a decent image to work with.
  • Make the subject clear. Not the subject of the video, but this image. For example, in the thumbnail of the video above, the subject is me. So I’m front and centre, I’m in focus, and I’m not obstructed by any text or other images or objects. A thumbnail that looks too busy  and with no clear focus or subject can cause somebody to look right over it.
  • Consistency is also good. Once you’ve made a few videos and you start to build an audience, you’re going to want your videos to be instantly recognisable on the site. So it helps to have some similarity or theme across every thumbnail you use. If you’re editing your thumbnail in whatever software you use, it helps to create a template that you can work with to make every video you post look nice and consistent.

Getting the thumbnail right is a bit of a knife edge, between eye-catching and clickbaity; and if YouTube thinks it’s too misleading, you can get into trouble. So no matter how you decide to make your thumbnails look, you can’t go wrong if you just try to keep it as faithful to the video as possible!


For more advice on nailing your first YouTube videos, check out the other videos in the Vlogging 101 playlist below.