The importance of choosing a good video thumbnail

The importance of choosing a good video thumbnail

Having a good video is important, but then you're not finished yet. How are you going to let your video stand out on video platforms like Youtube? Next to writing a catching title is it also important to have a good visual presentation in the form of a screenshot or picture to grab the attention of the viewer. This visual presentation is known as a thumbnail.

Choosing a thumbnail

Youtube; the most used video platform let you choose between 3 thumbnails, automatically chosen by Youtube. There is a big chance that one of those 3 thumbnails is actually good. On Youtube you even have the opportunity to adjust the thumbnail to your personal liking. This does not have to be a screenshot from the actual video. Is this not misleading? It depends if the thumbnail remains relevant or not to the content. Most people have experienced it at least once on Youtube, you click on a video what looks interesting based on the thumbnail but then the thumbnail does not appear in the video and the video gets millions views for this.

In this example you see a video with 73 million views. 98% of the viewers gave negative comments and likes. The title and thumbnail were misleading and irrelevant to the actual content. The viewer expected to see certain content based on the title and thumbnail but instead the content was worthless.

In this example above you see a video with over 20 million views. This thumbnail does not appear in the actual video but the content in the video is relevant. The most likes and comments are therefore positive.

Creating a thumbnail

It's important when making a good thumbnail, is selecting a picture with a high resolution and high contrast so everything looks bright and clear. An irrestibable catchy picture that is inviting viewers to click on. The picture must be appealing. Use Photoshop if it is needed to adjust the picture, for example: combining multiple pictures to one picture, adding colors, effects and improve the brightness. Watch the thumbnail afterwards to see if it's eye-catching.

Tip: Make pictures while filming that you can use for your thumbnail.

‘’Animals are awesome’’. Which thumbnail is more eye-catching and are you more likely tempted to click?

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Thumbnails are important for related search results

Google looks if your content is relevant and usefull and since Google gives visuals priority in the search results, video search results are shown on top of the search results. This is an important reason why video is so important to be found on search engines. If a customer searches on a subject on Google and 3 videos appear on top, having a great thumbnail helps grabbing attention so they are more tempted to click and watch your video.

In modern days, small video thumbnails have the chance to grow in a full size thumbnail, the size of a full video. Google must be 100% sure that the searched subject match with the content provided in the video. For example:

The full-size thumbnail is on top of the search results. The thumbnail takes the whole screen and there is no other link to be seen. The user must scroll down to see other regular search results. The greatest advantage of this thumbnail is that the user is more tempted to watch your video since all traffic leads to your video. It is difficult to let a small thumbnail grow into a full-size thumbnail. Full-size thumbnail usually appear with video trailers and music videos. When people are searching for a specific song of trailer, Google must show the best matched result. Google finds the other search results less important.

Video vs Google Adwords

Google has recently been limiting video results outside of Youtube thumbnails. There has been a lot of spectulating why Google is doing this. Most professionals think that search results with pictures and videos are getting more attention and are generating more clicks than payed links on Adwords. If you do plan to embed video on your website, use Youtube, Youtube still plays a big role in videomarketing and VSEO. An embedded Youtube video and Youtube video descriptions with an attached link to the landingspage tend to rank quicker and better.

What do you think about the use of thumbnails? Does it play a major role on Google? Share your thought at the comment section below and don't forget to share the article!

This article is written by Remy van Wolde

Remy is a parttime blogger and is responsible for the launch of Viedits blog. He has a passion for video and interest in contentmarketing.