The difference between a compelling thumbnail and mediocre will determine whether someone will actually click on your video. Here are tips on how to select a thumbnail which is likely to be clicked.
#1 Looking For Action
Engaging thumbnail will often include some element of action. This will involve a person, object or animal caught in the act of movement. This could be the presenter making an expressive hand gesture, a lion chasing an antelope or a building collapsing.
#2 The Thumbnail should Reflect The Content
When creating a thumbnail it is important that it reflects the the content of the video accurately. It can be tempting to place an out of context thumbnail simply because it is the most interesting. While this may draw clicks this tactic will usually only work in the short term.
People who view your video and see it doesn’t match the content will quickly click away. The short watch time can also hurt your search engine rankings. Tricking the audience in this way is not a good strategy for building a meaningful relationship with your audience or your prospective customers.
#3 Adding Text To The Thumbnail
In some situations it can make sense to add text to the thumbnail which clearly explains the content contained in the video. This is particularly useful for video sharing platforms like YouTube On these websites there are a lot of videos displayed right next to each other. Text can help your video to stand. Also after a video on YouTube has played similar videos will be offered up for the viewer on the screen. These do not include the caption and description and so without onscreen text the content may be unclear.
#4 Consider Closeups
Close-ups of people’s faces can work very well. The images should be clear and preferably expressive.
#5 Unsual Or “Out Of Place” Imagery
Imagery which is in someway unusual or out of place can be very effective. This effect could be termed the “double take”. When people view your thumbnails it often works very well if the person has a double take. This makes them want to take a closer look at the thumbnail – and hopefully the video as well.