YouTube Thumbnail Tips For More Views

Apart from your video’s Title, the Thumbnail is probably the MOST important part of your video. I’ve said this before… and it’s true.


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You need to Add a GOOD (no, GREAT) custom thumbnail.

Something that stands out. Something that makes the viewer want to click your video.

Here are a few examples of good and well, not so good thumbnails.

I’ll let you be the judge…

youtube thumbnails good
Good Thumbnail
youtube thumbnails bad
crappy thumbnail

Also, when you’re a new channel with few subs, I suggest you make use of words on your thumbnails. 1 — 3 should be enough.

I see so many small channels trying to go viral by not doing this and it’s like taking a knife to my heart! Stop doing this while you’re small!

Now, I have to kind of contradict myself here for a second.

There are the very odd occasion whereby people post a video that just blows up. This is like finding a unicorn in your garden and you should definitely NOT base your entire strategy around doing this.

Stick to the basics, be consistent, grow your audience and THEN you can start being creative and take more educated chances.

peter mckinnon
peter mckinnon

Channels with large amounts of subs can get away with only posting images as thumbnails as they already have an established audience.

Think about it like this…

John creates a YouTube channel on doing gardening. So John creates a video about how to grow flowers and his thumbnail is just a random flower. Nothing else.

  • No intrigue.
  • No words.
  • No context.

Do you think people are going to click on it, wanting to see what this video is about? Especially if the have no idea who John is?

Probably Not.

Go out and have a look at what other successful people are doing. Even the big channels use words most of the time. 

Model your channel around what works and make it your own.

Canva is a great place to start and create your thumbnails. Best of all, it’s free.

If you prefer something like Photoshop, make sure the canvas dimensions are 1920 x 1080, which is High Definition.

The Why

Your Thumbnail is what makes your video stand out from the crowd.

If 2 videos rank for exactly the same keyword, the one with the best Thumbnail will almost always perform better. It’s just how it is.

Do ethical Clickbaiting.

And by that, I mean sure… put something in there that will entice someone to want to click, but what you absolutely do NOT want to be doing is lying.

If you create a thumbnail with something completely unrelated to what your video is about, people will catch onto it and you’ll either lose credibility or YouTube will lose you.

You make the choice.

While this may increase your CTR (Click Through Rate), if your thumbnail has nothing to do with the contents of your video, your watch time or video retention may suffer which in turn will drive down your rankings, credibility and the possibility of getting suggested.

Try to have a good balance between making people want to click on the video and providing good content.

Here’s a quick tip for if you want to download a thumbnail from a video to study it. Emphasis on STUDY… not STEAL!


Go to a website called:

Simply paste the video in there and click submit.

All the different resolutions will be shown and you can download it to your computer.

Again, do not steal other people’s work. Simply use this for inspiration.

Pro Tip

Not many people know this or do it, but Name your YouTube Thumbnail File the same as your Title, before you upload it to YouTube.

This also ties in with the overall optimization of your video.

And so that’s a wrap for this article on YouTube Thumbnail Tips.

Oh, before I let you go… check out the article on YouTube End screens and Cards.


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Next Chapter:

YouTube End Screens & Cards + BONUS Template

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