THUMBNAILS ARE IMPORTANT
A first impression is the most important factor when deciding to try new things, like a new restaurant, watching a new show, or even befriending new people.
Whether we like it or not, we all judge books by their covers.
As constant consumers (more like, devourers) of digital content, we want to be wowed and impressed at first glance. So be sure to keep that in mind as you create and share content with your viewers.
With video, thumbnails are that first impression. So creating custom thumbnails has become more important than ever.
Viewers are like window shoppers walking through the mall, waiting to be visually enticed.
By creating custom thumbnails you set your content apart, making it more likely to be clicked and viewed.
CONSTRUCTING YOUR THUMBNAIL
Your thumbnail should represent the video you are showcasing, and more importantly, the story you are wanting to tell.
For instance, when sharing a video about the latest iPhone, make sure to include a picture of it in your thumbnail. And if the video showcases a specific feature, such as the new iPhone being water-resistant, use a photo showcasing water, or make sure to include that in the title.
This immediately entices the viewers who are looking to learn about that product, and also provides a visual understanding to those who might not be familiar with it.
The design should follow your branding guide, and include the designated typography and colors associated with your brand.
WHAT APPS SHOULD I USE FOR DESIGN?
There are many apps and services you can use for thumbnail creation! To decide which to use, you’ll need to consider how powerful you’d like your creation tool to be, and how much time you’re able to invest.
Our favorite apps are Canva, Apple Keynote, and Adobe Photoshop.
Personally, I like to use Apple’s Keynote app on a MacBook Pro when creating thumbnails for the RedFork YouTube Channel. It’s super user friendly and provides me with enough control of the graphic I want to design.
More experienced designers tend to use Adobe’s Photoshop app because it allows for complete control of your canvas! We use this app typically with our clients who are in need of more complex graphics and design for their businesses.
But if you are new to design and are looking for something very simple, I’d recommend giving Canva a try.
Canva is a web-based service that focuses on providing the most easy-to-use design process for everyone. With templates for every type of document, from Facebook header images to full-sized poster, you’ll get inspiration for designing practically anything!
They even have a section of their website just for tutorials, the Canva Design School (click here), so that you can take your designs to the next level.
THE CLICKBAIT CONTROVERSY
At this point, I need to address something very serious with you…
This next topic is EXTREMELY controversial…
A topic that starts Twitter feuds EVERY SINGLE DAY…
That’s right, I’m talking about Clickbait!
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Google defines clickbait as content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.
Some perceive this as misleading, but I say it’s an essential part of designing your thumbnail.
The real problem is when uploaders blatantly lie to attract viewers. I’m sure you’ve seen this form of false advertisement all over Facebook and YouTube.
One of the most common examples of this is when uploaders use a random picture of an attractive male or female in their thumbnail to entice you to click…
WHICH IS COMPLETELY LAME!
This practice ultimately hurts the uploader's reputation. As a viewer, I watch videos with the expectation of seeing what that thumbnail and title represent. If the video doesn't follow that representation, then not only do I become frustrated, but I also lose trust in the content provider. Ultimately, this continued practice of using clickbait for views will actually drive me away from their content, never to return to their profile, nor subscribe to their channel.
However, there is a way to create appropriate clickbait thumbnails that attract viewers without misleading them. What’s the secret?
Make sure to utilize part of your video’s story in a lightly exaggerated fashion.
CASEY NEISTAT IS THE KING OF YOUTUBE
His “amateur” vlogs are incredibly fun to watch, and his personality is completely infectious!
One of his most recent videos featured a random 30-minute flight in a private lear jet. Lets check out what the thumbnail looked like…
You’ll notice that that this thumbnail showcases Casey pointing towards the jet with the text stating “MY OWN LEAR JET.”
This is a great example of well used clickbait.
The thumbnail showcases the main subjects of the video, and the title creates a bit of curiosity. Did he actually purchase a lear jet?! What’s it like inside? How did he make this happen?
I won’t spoil the episode for you, but you should definitely watch this episode (click here).
Coincidentally, he also discusses clickbait in this episode 👍
For a little extra bit of fun, let us know which is your favorite thumbnail below!
So what do you think about custom thumbnails for videos? Have you created any for a Facebook or YouTube video before? Leave us a message in the comment section!