Hi there. In today’s Video Lion we will continue our series on How To Get Your Video Found on Google. In part 2, we started optimizing your video after uploading it to your YouTube Channel. Today we will talk about another very important video optimization feature: Custom Thumbnails. If you haven’t watched parts 1 and 2, I suggest you use the links on this video or in the description to watch it, so you’ll have the full picture. See you in a bit!
Now that your video has been uploaded to YouTube and you’ve added a title and a description that use popular keywords related to your business and the content of the video, we are going to look at the visual part of the optimization process: the Thumbnail.
Why are thumbnails important, you ask? Here’s some science for you: research done with eye movement tracking heat maps shows that, in most Google searches, the eyes will go first for the #1 result, as you can see here in this search for “best pizza in Chicago”. Now we see another search, this time for “how to make a pizza”, where result #2 is a video thumbnail. You can see clearly that most eyes went for the picture, at the expense of result #1. Our eyes will always look at the pictures first, and that is why thumbnails are so important.
Thumbnails are created automatically as you upload a video. YouTube will grab three different frames from your video and you can choose one to be the thumbnail. The problem is, this is just a random frame. A good thumbnail should be an image that best represents the content of a video while at the same time attracting viewers’ attention. For it to do that, you can’t use one of the random frames: you need to create a Custom Thumbnail.
A custom thumbnail should always include:
- A good looking image that gives a clear idea of what the video is about
- Text that is large enough to be read when looking at a small thumbnail and that summarizes the topic of the video in a few words and makes the viewer curious.
Since we started with pizza, let’s continue with it: here you have some examples of thumbnails that will attract much more eyeballs than just random pizza pictures. Looking at these thumbnails you immediately understand what the video is about, and you will certainly click on it if it answers your query.
You can create the thumbnail using software like Photoshop, or Canva, or any other you are familiar with. Just remember that the image needs to fit the video format, which is 16:9 on YouTube. A rectangle. And please make sure the image has high resolution.
See you at the next Video Lion!