When’s the last time you scrolled through YouTube and clicked on a video based solely on what you saw on screen, thinking, “Ooh, this looks pretty/interesting/etc., I definitely want to learn more”?

You might also be thinking that if you’ve got a great video, people will automatically swarm to your pages like flies — but if you don’t select a thumbnail that clearly shows your audiences what that great content is all about, you might miss out on reaching them completely.

Thumbnail: What is It?

A thumbnail is a static image that aims to grab your viewers’ attention — and it’s so important because it’ll be the primary reason your viewers scroll on or click through.

Think of it like the cover of a book — we all know we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, but it’s often the first thing we consider when sifting through the shelves. The same goes for a thumbnail!

The best ones provide a visually striking rendition of what your video will be about, serving to educate and inform your viewers while sparking their interest.

Still not sure you know what a good thumbnail looks like? That’s okay! We’ve got two great examples pulled from our video “5 Tips to Choosing the Right Video Production Team” that’ll clearly show you the difference between a great thumbnail and one that’s only “good enough.”

Let’s start with the one on the left.

It’s not horrible, but the subjects’ faces are covered by sticky notes, the image is a bit blurry, and we don’t really know what’s going on — are they planning a new project or making a grocery list? Who knows! This video could have been made for countless different companies and cover countless different subjects.

As you can see, the image on the right is much better. Not only is it well lit and well shot but the subject’s faces aren’t nearly as covered as in the first image — and it gives the viewer a better understanding of what the video content will be about.

Now that you understand what makes up a good thumbnail, let’s dive into how you can go about selecting the right one for you.

Option 1: Select Image from Video Content

The simplest way to select a thumbnail is to pull it from your video content itself.

Think about it this way:

You’ve spent hours and hours shooting interviews, gathering B-roll, editing, animating, revising — doing all the necessary hard work that goes into making a great video. The thumbnail should be the culmination of all that hard work: the most important, cleanest, and most concrete bite.

Whether you plan to upload your video on YouTube, Vimeo, or elsewhere, try selecting your thumbnail ahead of time so you can maintain consistency across platforms. On the other hand, you can also select different thumbnails and use them across different platforms and see which one does best!

It’s important to note that while these platforms can auto-generate a thumbnail for you, they might not select the best possible image for you to use — however, they can be a great place to start if you need a little guidance!

Option 2: Create a Custom Thumbnail

Depending on the content of your video, your company, and your brand, you might want to consider creating a custom thumbnail for your video.

A custom thumbnail provides your viewers with just a bit more information about your video, commonly including your company logo, colors, branded text that represents the topic of your video or the video title, graphics, and any other relevant information.
This can be a great tool to use when trying to grow your reach and maintain brand consistency — but be careful not to scare off potential viewers by making your thumbnail too busy or intricate.

For best results, create a short and informative title that you place on top of a relevant, clean image. Like this:

We made this thumbnail for one of our clients, Freedom Boat Club! It’s got their logo, a clear image showing what they’re all about, and a short, informative title that gives some insight into what we’ll be learning.

So whether you decide to go the custom route or just want to pull an image from your video, selecting a proper thumbnail is a vital step to take if you want to increase your viewership and grow your company to new heights.

Let’s Stay in Touch!

We know you might have more questions about how to effectively market your video. Don’t hesitate to reach out! You can learn more about Mosaic Media Films by visiting our website. To keep up with the latest videos and learn about our clients, ongoing projects, and more, follow us on InstagramFacebookLinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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