Are you thinking what’s wrong with my video? Why so less views are there?
I’ve made the content amazing. Making it better than others. Optimized my tags.. But why it is not getting many views?
Do you know that in every minute YouTube is filled with 500 hours of video content!
Yeah.. and You thought, every person would be having enough time to run through every video…Sorry to burst the bubble!
You gotta standout from your crowd.
You need to catch the eyeballs here!
You can need to have a custom YouTube thumbnail for this.
Custom YouTube thumbnail is the swizz knife of all the dominant influencers. YouTube Creators Academy suggest, among the best performing videos 90% of them have custom thumbnail.
A little brief about my make professional youtube thumbnail making experience:
(img source – LinkedIn Profile)
Also, I’ve worked with budding YouTubers as well. Even I was once a YouTuber. 😉
I’ve made a comprehensive guide, condensing everything from YouTube thumbnail design ideas, Do’s and Don’ts to best dimensions of YouTube thumbnail. So, that you easily navigate and develop your dream custom YouTube thumbnail.
What is a YouTube Thumbnail?
Technically, it is the first image which people look at before clicking the video. But trust me, by many aspects it is the first thing which people and rapidly judge the quality of the content inside
The first thing you read here!
“Easy YouTube Growth Hacks”
How – There in the thumbnail!
People engage with graphics much better than they do with verbose content. Also, it is a human tendency to read from left to right. Here your custom YouTube thumbnail takes the left-most spot.
So, the statement won’t be wrong that “YouTube Thumbnail makes your first impression with your visitor”
Why the heck this YouTube thumbnail important?
Can’t say Love at first sight exist, but Design at first sight is your YouTube thumbnail. Your thumbnail is the door of showroom, where eye stops because it fascinates her not because she knew showroom has the best shoes inside.
But it is worth answering why you should even care
“More eyes stopping by, more the clicks, more the views, and FASTER the channel will grow. That would make your Bank Account happy.”
What makes influencers on YouTube to pay designers so much to get the custom YouTube thumbnail?
I’ve NOT 2 or 3, but 9 insane reasons to answer this question!
Draws the attention of the reader
YouTube has a simple analogy. If anyone clicks to your video and watched for 30 seconds, Booooom! You got a view here!
To know how your thumbnail of youtube video is effective,
- go down to the analytics panel.
- Head to the overview tab and click “see more”
- Now collect the data by 90 days
- Now sort the list by CTR (on decreasing order) by clicking on it.
And before you check another tab and Google the terms:
Impression – Whenever a person views your thumbnail on the YouTube platform. Doesn’t matter he clicked it or not, you earned a point.
CTR – Click-through-rate – it is the ratio of people clicked the thumbnail to the number of impressions.
The high performing thumbnails are those CTC > 3%
And if your CTC <2.5% then you should start fixing your thumbnail. People are just not liking it!
This is no magic, no expertise. Just simple Mathematics! That’s sufficient to get you to know how your thumbnail is performing. PS – I’ve not hided any my stats nor manipulated it. Whatever I’m saying is from the experience of my making custom YouTube thumbnails for my past clients.
Hike views by 70% on Mobile devices
With screens are getting shorter, Your viewers can’t read the stunning headline you created. They need Your catchy thumbnail, which they can view it instantly.
Since Google reports suggest people are spending more time on Mobile devices than on Desktop. No brainer, people are consuming more content from the YouTube mobile app.
Backed by research, Federator found 70% of your thumbnail impression comes from the mobile.
Hence in the age of shorter screens, your custom YouTube thumbnail can either make it OR break it.
Generates better views from Google searches
You must have hovered for video search on Google.
Did you notice any video description there?
Ok! Not going satirical, you won’t see because there is nothing such.
Only the heading and thumbnail. Now in the competition, your custom YouTube thumbnail gets immensely important to drive views from Google search.
Trust me the best search traffic, especially having lesser subscribers, You can get from Google and YouTube search!
Bigger channels have a huge subscriber base, and it sky rockets their views. No matter how good or bad they optimize the video.
For small creators, you gotta earn that subscriber base. You need to regularly optimize your channel, comment back to your audience, and for attracting them, custom YouTube thumbnail can be a game changer.
One more chance to show Yourself
YouTube creators like Brian Dean, Nick Nimmin, and Neil Patel takes the maximum advantage of this.
Every time Neil face showed up on my feed. I always spend 2 seconds more on observing the content. If I like it, I click it.
Ya, I know they are famous. But who is stopping you?
The HUMAN FACE is the most unique feature and hence easily identifiable.
Be the face of your YouTube Channel. Make your content easily identifiable to your audience.
Pro Tip – Keep reading this up, I’ve shared a pro tip that how you can leverage the face trick. I promise the trick would sky rocket your views. So, no leaving I DARE you.
Look Professional in-front of the audience
Do you know why Professional YouTubers have a whole bunch of designers?
Obviously, they can’t be Pro at every task, and that has nothing to do with professionalism.
If you don’t know the task, they seek an expert designer.
Noticeably, having a poor YT Thumbnail can significantly decrease the brand value in the industry, and brand value is everything.
Go to the APPLE store and you’ll get that brand feel!
Show your idea once again to grab the click
Look! Here is Nick Nimmin, and you know exactly what his video about.
“How to GET Views with Tube Buddy”
But wait, think again? No heading, No description, and moreover you don’t know for which keyword it shows up?
Heck! I don’t need this. Anyone can tell
That’s how YOUR thumbnail should look like.
Hang in there. I promise you can also make the best thumbnail for YouTube channel after reading this guide.
Better engagement during share
Have you shared a YouTube video which you absolutely loved it?
Obviously, most of us did.
What the first thing you see, before pressing the send button.
The Thumbnail that gets linked to it by default.
(img source – Mr. AA – MNNIT Allahabad)
Now you can easily guess,
Which link your friends are more likely to open!
Definitely better the YT thumbnail, it sky rockets your social media clicks as well.
So, much you can earn from a single change!
Better video retentivity
According to the Search Engine People, 80% of the people remember graphics better.
Hence your custom thumbnail would help your audience in better remembering your brand. Your video thumbnail would stick around to them for a longer period.
And I’m telling you, once you’ve developed a loyal fan base, your
viewers fans would see any stuff you throw on them!
Build your unique style with thumbnail
Get YT thumbnail your personal touch. Make it your identity to your YouTube channel.
This technique is most spoken about, even by the experts
Eg – Neil Patel is been doing this from 3 years or so.
I’m a big fan of Neil. He is my guru. I’ve learned alot from him!
He always has an orange color background. This is the color scheme he uses for the website pages as well. This is what brand building is about.
“Personalizing a style that people would recall you, whenever they see something like that” Not only Neil, but Brian Dean also do this.
His light green color scheme is the same tactic what Neil used.
So, I’d strongly suggest you have proper consistency in choosing colors for your YouTube thumbnail.
MY Advice – always follow a consistent color hex code in your background. This way you won’t get wrong with the color! (personal experience :P)
Pro Tip – See the blog till end, I’ll teach you how to select color for your thumbnail. That simple technique would help you in building your brand.
Best Dimensions of YouTube Thumbnail & Resolution
Size – The best dimensions for YouTube thumbnail are 1280*720 (width*height) in pixels.
If you wondering thumbnail size in inches then 4.267*2.4
The width:height ratio is 16:9.
Resolution – It should be less than 2.0 mb. This is mandatory else error message would pop-up and your custom YouTube thumbnail won’t be updated.
Formats – You can upload a thumbnail in JPG/JPEG or PNG or GIF.
But the favorites are PNG and JPG.
Just in case if you don’t know the difference between JPG and PNG
JPG – they are formats acquiring lesser spaces. Most probably selfie from your phone would be saved in the JPG format.
PNG – it is a heavier format and brings out crisper details of the artwork/design. Most likely the logos are saved on PNGs
Now, choosing which one to go!
Here’s the tip – Always make your design downloaded on both PNG and JPG. Now self-decide which one looks better. Many a time JPG looks better than PNG. If it is looking good, then cool, go for that!
Best YouTube thumbnail design Ideas | Step-by-Step process
A 10-step process that would guide up in making the best thumbnail for youtube video. And We are starting up right NOW!
Step 1 – YouTube video thumbnail template
For ANY custom YouTube thumbnail, one thing is permanent – BACKGROUND
This Background would work like your YouTube video thumbnail template.
Yes, make it once, and use it lifelong.
Freebies ALERT –
I’ll give you 3 YouTube thumbnail template all FREE. They would be sent right to your email. That’s why should sign up!
Ok moving on!
If you want to make thumbnail by yourself, always remember a TRICK
Prefer Gradients over Plain Boring Color
- Gradients look more pleasant to the eye than plain colors.
- Gradients also add contrast in the whole design. On the other hand, plain color would bring no contrast as everywhere it is same. Plain, No new, Boring. Hence Gradients are the best choice.
Have a bright background color scheme. People are attracted and emotional towards brighter colors.
Also, People hate white color background.
My advice – Red in the thumbnail is used way too many times.
So, to make your thumbnail look stand-out then refrain from using plain red & white color in the background.
My Tip – Make the colors as contrasting as you can.
But I SUCK in choosing the colors! HELP ME
Ok! No, problem.
I’ve made a whole blog post on dealing with how to
make get YT thumbnail latest gradients for FREE.
But – if you wanna make gradients by yourself
(Image source – Pinterest)
My advice – Go for complementary colors in the color wheel. What I meant select two colors which are opposite to each other and play around with the shades. You’ll definitely match up one color.
Pro advice – Still sucks! Go with the lighter shade combination. E.g., Blue + Yellow, Grey + Blue or Purple + Blue! (I LOVE blue)
Step 2 – Adding your face image
I’ve discussed earlier why adding face important.
Now what faces do YouTubers make on the thumbnail
YouTuber Gaurav Chaudhary. He is vlogger and tech freak.
In vlogs, you must produce the energetic and happening vibe from your thumbnail. Traveling itself sets the vibe, so the same should be expected from the thumbnail. He has mastered in spreading vibe from his face!
It surprises up your audience. Signifying they can expect real value from the video. Obviously, Energetic face would improve your number of views.
I’d strongly suggest checking his profile, you’ll get amazing different face expression ideas. Also, Alex too follows the color consistency in thumbnails. You’l fins thumbnail with sky blue background and white/yellow color text.
Bhuvan Bam, a millionaire YouTuber. His thumbnails are live examples that without doing much color toning or adding text. Still, you can rock with having an expressive face.
He always puts up vivid emotional faces which easily grabs the attention.
Making eye contact
- Looking straight into the viewer’s eye. This draws attention. Suppose you are on a metro and someone stares you, You’ll drag your attention towards him. Similar theory works here.
- More attention your custom YouTube thumbnail draws, more the clicks it gets. Better the growth your channel will get.
- When you straight up, your eyes build an emotional connection with your viewer. It gets more coercion on the viewer to click on the thumbnail. This ultimately drives larger traffic.
- It is always good to add images on the thumbnail which you use on your video inside. But again, use ONLY those images which you have used them. Else your custom YouTube thumbnail would be banned by the YouTube.
- Banner snack suggests channels having eye-catching thumbnails and delivers what’s promised. This can improve the viewer converting into the subscriber rate. All because you didn’t try to fool him.
You can easily notice Technical Guruji displays everything in the image. You can also look,
- his face is always expressive.
- Look at his hand position, always pointing towards the viewer. Now, these do gab eyeballs here!
- Also, see he is so consistent with the theme. He uses “Tech Talks” label in the end. You see it is consistent.
I definitely recommend you checking his YouTube channel out. You’ll get more ideas out of it. Yeah… get the creative juices flowing.
Step 3 – Do your competitor research
What… research for custom YouTube thumbnail?
Yes.. I’m serious here!
I know you do tag research to get maximum benefits then why leaving the hell the thumbnail?
You can generate tons of good YouTube thumbnail ideas from doing a competitor thumbnail research.
And I’m going to show you this right NOW! No tool needed.
- First, go to the incognito window. I don’t want your past searches to interfere with the algorithm
- Now, go to the Search tab and type in your video niche.
Like I’ve typed “IIT lectures for Mathematics”
- Now, go to Filter – and set by Video
Now, only videos will come into your search
- Now, I simply scroll down and observe what they have done!
- Alright, my observation – many YouTubers have used green and white color
- So, If I HAVE TO STAND OUT, I won’t gonna use these colors! At all
- What I would go with, BLUE & Yellow. And I love gradients.
Step 4 – Adding text to the thumbnail | Writing Titles on Thumbnails
Rule of thumb
- Always remember less is more. Lesser the text you add makes the design looks cleaner. Also, it gets easier for readers to skim through.
- Keep your text within 2 lines. Not too crowdy.
- But, look at your competitors. If your niche (like mine) demands a lot of text. Then don’t hesitate. Give your readers what they want!
Best fonts for YouTube thumbnail and Font Pairing
- SAY NO to Calibri, Arial, and Comic Sans font. Pathetic and looks boring.
- SAY HELLO to Montserrat, Times Now Roman, Felix, Gothic, Gotham, Futura, Helvetica, Myriad Pro, and Cambria.
- I’ve prepared a cheat sheet. This would help you in selecting the best font for YouTube thumbnail.
- All the TITLE fonts to appear in the uppercase and all the IN-TEXT fonts to appear in lowercase. I promise you don’t have to think apart from these fonts. Sweeeet!
- Unlike other “Gurus”, trust me there is nothing like perfect font pairing. There are over 10k fonts and which to pair and when. I would suggest picking fonts from the “cheat sheet” and pair around the fonts you like. This way you have better font selection.
- As I’ve said, your text should perfectly tell the video message. Self analyze. Look at your heading, and ask yourself “Is the text on thumbnail saying the same theme to what is mention on my YouTube headline?” If the answer is yes! BANG ON! You did it.
- It should be LARGE ENOUGH. With large, I meant, it should be minimum such your friend can read the text from your mobile device and desktop. Your text should be large that a reader can read out even when you list it in the playlist.
Yes! Even BIG YouTubers misses this!
Just look and understand can you read anything from it!
No, No face. No emotion and result lesser views.
Now, look how Pro YouTubers do it!
Nick has conquered the art of making thumbnails.
One can easily read the text out even when it is shown in the playlist!
That’s how your thumbnails would help you in getting more clicks from your playlist section!
Add your channel name
- Since video when shared on social media it gives a thumb impression with the link you share.
- Definitely, if you add channel name on the thumbnail, it will make channel popular among your audience. No matter your audience clicks the title or NOT, their eyes will read your channel name. Next time, if you upload a video, it would very high your readers would click the video link. That’s the click we all need!
- Make sure that you are consistent with adding the channel name. After all, consistency will build your brand.
- Neil and Brian add their channel name in every YouTube thumbnail.
Step 5 – Adding outlines or Highlighter
Adding outlines on the Text
- It is an intelligent way of making your custom YouTube thumbnail pop!
- Adding outlines or you can call it shadows improves the contrast in your design.
- Don’t be afraid of experimenting with the colors of the thumbnail. Who said that black is the only color of shadow, come to Photoshop, the magical designing world!
Highlighting the text
- Now, this is very Easy. Trust me this can also make your text stand out!
Neil has used this technique very smartly.
See, he always applies a different highlighter for the middle text. This he intentionally does, as it gets easier for the human eye to read the entire text!
This technique can be done even if you are using Canva.
Step 6 – Adding outlines on your image
- It depends on the niche you are making.
- If you have a business or fashion related niche like SEO brand or man’s grooming channel then NEVER add a border on the image.
- While YouTube channels like Shane Dawson or Markiplier have fun-loving and animated niche. They can add borders on that.
- I personally won’t suggest adding, make the things look non-serious.
Your main idea should be the thumbnail stands for your personal style and also fits in the industry.
Step 7 – Adding a branded LOGO
If You haven’t
Then don’t worry, NO needed.
Should I invest
If your channel is growing, having less than 50k subscribers NOT needed.
Big YouTube channels like Markiplier they also don’t have any Logo.
Better invest money on buying an audio mic. It won’t cost you more than $50.
If I have
- Make sure your logo is clearly visible. Your logo would be the identity of your brand.
- Make sure you don’t add colors on the template which are similar to your logo. Else your logo won’t be visible
- Keep your Logo in the exact one spot it was in the previous thumbnail! I’m telling you these things, as your viewer does notice it!
Gymshark, always places his logo in the top-right side of the thumbnail
Step 8 – Adding social media icons
- Now, this is very important to tell.
- I’ve seen people using, even I was also guilty of it. Don’t add YouTube logo unnecessarily. If it is not needed, FORGET IT!
- If you need that, you are making a YouTube tutorial, add THAT.
- Always prevent yourself from overdoing the stuff.
- Keep your design clean and relevant.
- You can get all social media icons for FREE to design your banner or thumbnail for youtube channel.
Step 9 – Grid System – Locating your text and image
I won’t go technical here. Keep easy and sexy!
Aligning your face
- Make your image.
- Your face should be pointing to the readers. Remember, I talked about eye contact!
- Paste your image such it touches right/left corner of the thumbnail.
Aligning your text
- Divide your text with standard 9 grids
- Observe how your text looks at this.
- If looks clean, then I approve
Like in this, all text is in harmony with grid lines.
But feel free to intersect your text with these grid lines.
Step 10 – Optimizing the thumbnail for mobile
YES.. YES! If You are shocked! Then You must read it!
As I’ve mentioned, nearly 70% clicks come from the mobile device. You gotta optimize your design to mobile-friendly.
Adding hue and saturation
- It improves colors in your image.
- To add Hue, you can do this on your phone for FREE
- In your mobile,standard camera editor or download Snapseed app for free.
- Toggle the bar up on Saturation, till it improves the contrast!
- Beware don’t overdo it! See, how simple! You don’t have to use any paid software.
Adding Sharpness to the image
- It improves further visual appearance.
- You can find them on your mobile default editor. Else Snapseed does have its one.
- Again, be wary when you do. Overdoing can ruin your beautiful hair.
Our purpose here is to make things clear. Our graphics should look such a person is forced to stop the scroll. Here our sharp colors would help that in gabbing the attention.
DON’Ts in YouTube Thumbnail
Like it is important to know YouTube Thumbnail best practices, it is equally important to know what NOT to do. If You dare to attempt them, you are risking yourself from even getting banned on YouTube.
- Avoid using any image which you’ve not used in the video
This only means you are allowed to use phone image if in your video you are using the phone. It makes sense as well. You shouldn’t be adding any image on the thumbnail just for the sake of it.
- Never add text on the right bottom corner of YouTube. This would make no sense. As your content would be hidden because video time length is displayed on it.
Here’s the thumbnail layout you should keep in mind.
White areas are those you can play around. While grey area is forbidden to use!
- Also, YouTube made a thumbnail policy where your thumbnail must respect the community guidelines. Don’t dare to challenge YouTube on this. They would find that from safe search technology.
(img source – YouTube Help)
- It mainly includes NOT adding images expressing Pornography or Sexual content.
- You can’t add spoof such it demeans/bully the other person on a custom YouTube thumbnail. This is a very genuine point. You should keep things clean.
- You can’t add an image that creates religious hatred. Discriminate towards race/color/religion/sex.
Also, Tubics have pointed out that if your content is shown explicit (not respecting the community guidelines) then your thumbnail won’t rank on the Google search. So, consider respecting the guidelines.
- Don’t add childish or boring fonts. Trust me they just look pathetic! I’ve discussed this in adding a font to the text. So, moving further
- Having Width lesser than 640 pixels. YouTube won’t allow you to use less than 640 pixels. What you can do, just maximize it diagonally. Again, snapseed would do the job for you.
- You cannot have resolution above 2mb
I know this barrier sucks. But you have to comply with them!
Even I too faced issues with it. The best thing is to prefer JPEG over PNG. You can also go to online compressors. There you can compress the image to your need for FREE.
Create YouTube Thumbnail Online
Well, there are tons of different options on the internet to choose from.
But most popular ones that are also FREE
Canva offers a variety of templates to get YT thumbnail.
You are free to play around with the colors, fonts and shapes they offer.
Here is video from online marketing newbie. They have made things so simple that ANY can follow.
This YouTube thumbnail maker has gained a certain amount of popularity these days.
The PRO benefit here is you can convert your image to a face sticker for YouTube thumbnail.
Well, it doesn’t do as professionally as Photoshop does it, but wait you are getting free. So, it is cool to use! Here is the video from the creators of Picmaker, you can follow this up to know how to use the tool.
A lot we learn in this custom YouTube thumbnail guide.
We’ve seen why it is important for you to get YT thumbnail. Then I mentioned the best dimensions for your YouTube thumbnail. We hover around the 10 steps to get the best thumbnail for YouTube.
Then most importantly we jump to Don’ts. It is dam important to know. Then I showed you 2 best thumbnail makers to make YouTube thumbnail online
YouTube thumbnail size in inches is 4.267*2.4
Better your thumbnail looks, more eyes it would catch. More clicks it would get and views would increase. Hence would help your channel to grow. Lot more than this, I’ve made 9 answers to why You should have custom YouTube thumbnail.
There are tons in the market. But many are just lame or not compatible to make YouTube thumbnail. Still, to create YouTube thumbnail online, you can use Canva or Picmaker.
You can drop me a mail or you can check out here. I’ve just started on Fiverr, so it gets easier for my clients to do the international payment.