Looking for ways to draw more viewers to your videos?

Have you considered creating custom thumbnails?

Video thumbnails might not seem to be a big deal when it comes to maximizing views, but they actually matter more than you can imagine. A video thumbnail acts no less than how a book cover works for a book. It advertises your video to potential viewers.

An appealing, eye-catching thumbnail increases the probability of people clicking on your video.

Importance of Video Thumbnails

Videos are now the best way to relay content, and one of the best platforms to showcase them is YouTube. Most of us can go through a lot of visual content all day, and in the process, we scroll past so much more.

Almost 1.9 billion YouTube users visit the site every month. So yes, we get a hint of what’s inside the video through click-bait titles, but the real thing that gets us to pay a bit more attention is the little rectangular box with the eye-catching and vibrant colors – the thumbnail.

The importance of thumbnails for videos is rather underrated. In fact, not everyone knows how to create video thumbnails that can truly grab viewers’ attention. If you think your video thumbnail creation skills need to improve, we’ll show you how you can up your game.

How do Video Thumbnails work?

Whenever you type a query on YouTube, you’ll notice that thumbnails are everywhere. Even image programs like Google Image Search use image thumbnails to organize the visual information.

Thumbnails can be considered the first impression of your content, so make sure you take advantage of this in the best way possible. There is a thumbnail algorithm, and according to that, the frames with the highest scores are selected, improved, and rendered as thumbnails with different sizes and aspect ratios. Take, for example, the model below:

video thumbnails compared

Image Credit – Processing pipeline of the thumbnail algorithm

Creating your own Thumbnail

In this marketing world, making content that viewers and fans want to watch makes or breaks the whole deal. A video thumbnail provides people an initial impression of your video, and if they find it fascinating, you’ll attract more viewers.

You can create your own thumbnails for video or you can take help of a video thumbnails maker. What’s more important for video creators is to follow practical guidelines for creating great video thumbnails and using them as the video theme. So, it is essential to take care of the points below:

  • Conveying the topic of the video content
  • Convincing the video viewers in a way that they click through to the video
  • Not copying but differentiating the brand from the others
  • Making sure that the thumbnails are optimized for any device

First things first, what tool can be best used for thumbnail creation? Well, you can use tools like Canva for this bit. If you’re not yet familiar with this online graphic design software tool, then there are other alternatives to Canva that can be used for designing and publishing, helping creatives work on their portfolio and motion graphics.

Moreover, it is considered an excellent resource for non-designers. Canva also has a library of up to millions of photos and images, filters, icons, and fonts available for usage. This way, you have little to almost no limitation in exercising your artistic freedom.

If you are not a designer, in just five easy steps, you can make your own bespoke thumbnail with Canva:

Pick a Template

There are different ways you can lay out all the excitement of your video in a single image, so choose from the hundreds of pre-made templates available at Canva to get the ball rolling.

Choose an Image

As mentioned earlier, there is a library of files and images that are at your disposal. You can pick from the thousands of professionally-made imagery, photos and graphics and place them on your template. If you can’t find one that suits you, feel free to upload your own!

Insert Text

A placeholder comes with every template to indicate where the text should be placed. There, you can edit the text, the font, and even add in emojis and stickers to bring more activity to the video thumbnail.


You have a plethora of options for video thumbnail use, and it comes in the form of themes, backgrounds, filters, and many more. The possibilities are endless.

Download and Share

If you’re one that’s big on indecision, it may take a while before you get to this point, but you eventually will. When you’re all done, you can finish it all up, save your progress if you like, and download the image. By then, it is yours to use for your YouTube video.

Note: We recommend that you download the file in the PNG format for increased compatibility.

What to consider when creating a Thumbnail?

There are many ways you can showcase your channel, and with the use of your thumbnails, you can create a set that looks visually cohesive and in theme, or you can customize to make each thumbnail unique. Your thumbnails are a direct expression of who you are as a person and what your channel is all about.

While you design a thumbnail, you have unlimited creative freedom and enjoy convenience and efficiency. You can keep on using different ideas for thumbnail creation by checking out the competitors in the same niche. You also need to be careful about YouTube video thumbnail size. 

Moreover, you can start making thumbnails for your other YouTuber friends. To wrap things up, here are a few more tips on how to design your video thumbnail in a way that attracts more views:

Use Images of People

When you use images of people with genuine smiles, candid actions, and seemingly unrehearsed poses, you engage in people’s empathy. You get to tap into what we believe is “human”, so people are more drawn.

Strategic use of Bright Colors

Do not use bright colors all throughout. Give the eyes some breathing room, but also grab their attention to very specific focal points.

Use Readable Fonts

Yes, aesthetics is the key, but another thing that can open doors is functionality. If a viewer can read your text in a slight glance, guaranteed you’ve got the point across.

Video thumbnails are usually small, so you don’t have a lot of space to add your texts. To make the most of this space, it’s essential to write something that inspires people to click.

Try it and then Test it

A/B testing is also considered an important part of the process. You may use tools like TubeBuddy, a browser extension that offers handy tools on top of the YouTube platform. It helps you run A/B tests to boost your YouTube SEO. A good planning and A/B testing strategy will significantly improve the performance of your video channel.

Wrapping Up

Creating the picture-perfect video thumbnail takes additional time, but it’s time well spent without a doubt. Instead of users ignoring your video in favor of your competitors’, a remarkable, striking thumbnail will draw people in. And they won’t be able to hold themselves from clicking through to your video.

Workaround the above strategies to see which ones resonate with your viewers and create a more reliable brand simultaneously.

So there you have it, a few steps and tips to enhance your thumbnail game. We’re going to leave you to it now, and we hope you get all those views you need to make it to the top. Have fun with the process!

Need expert advice on how you can use videos effectively for your marketing strategy? Get in touch with us now!

Frequently Asked Questions

In the context of videos, a thumbnail is a small, static image or frame that represents the video's content. It acts as a preview or teaser image that viewers see before they click to watch the video. Thumbnails are often chosen or designed to provide a visual summary of the video's content and entice viewers to click and engage with the video.

Video thumbnails are crucial visual elements that serve multiple purposes. They provide viewers with a glimpse of what to expect in the video, helping them decide whether to watch it. Effective thumbnails can significantly impact a video's click-through rate and overall performance. They matter because they can capture viewers' attention, convey the video's subject, and improve the chances of the video being viewed.

Creating a video thumbnail involves selecting a compelling frame from your video or designing a custom image that represents the video's content and engages the audience. To make a thumbnail:

  • Use graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop or Canva to create custom thumbnails.
  • Select a frame from your video that encapsulates its essence.
  • Ensure the thumbnail is visually appealing, clear, and relevant to the video's topic.
  • Add text, if necessary, to highlight key points or create intrigue.

The term “thumbnail” in the context of images and videos is derived from its physical counterpart—a small, concise representation of a larger image or video. The name draws an analogy to the small, postage stamp-sized images that appear in the margins of printed books to provide a quick overview of the content on the page. In the digital world, video thumbnails serve a similar purpose by giving viewers a brief overview of the video's content in a compact, visual format.