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thumbs up for the thumbnail

Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought a bottle of wine because of the label. Or picked up a book with an enticing jacket. It may be crass to admit, but looks count and first impressions are made with first glances. What does this have to do with video? Everything if you’re talking about a thumbnail.

A Tiny Teaser

thumbs up for the thumbnail
Not that thumbnail

First of all, let’s clearly state that we’re not talking about anatomy. The kind of thumbnail we’re referring to is a very small or concise description, representation, or summary. More specifically, this blog is addressing the tiny picture that is representative of a video. And yes, the name is derived from being about the size of your thumbnail.

Pay Attention to Me!

Your goal is to get someone to click on that thumbnail and watch the related video. This is your first opportunity to draw in a viewer, so don’t waste it! Imagine you’re looking for a video on how to snake your drain. A Google search turns up pages of videos and every thumbnail is some version of a person bent over a bathtub with a plumbing tool in their hands. But…one video jumps out at you because it’s a bright background with four diagrams that show the steps of snaking your drain. Bingo! That’s the hit you’re going to click on.

What to Include

Tell someone what to expect with your thumbnail. Make the frame representative of the video. If your image is too esoteric or is just clickbait, you run the risk of either driving people away or angering them and then driving them away.

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Think of your thumbnail like an ad and make it stand out

Consider the thumbnail an advertisement. Look at posters and print ads for inspiration. What attracted your attention and what made you groan? Is there a single image that best depicts the subject of the video? What snapshot gives enough information about the topic to compel a clickthrough?

Customize Your Thumbnail

Don’t rely on automatically-generated thumbnails. That’s like letting someone who doesn’t know you pick your dating profile picture. You can take control and represent your video the way you want it to be seen. At the very least, look at what YouTube or WordPress has chosen for your thumbnail to assess whether it’s appropriate and eye-catching. If not, pick a frame of your video that’s a better representation. Even better, make your own customized thumbnail.

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A customized thumbnail starts as a blank canvas

Creating a thumbnail gives you a chance to customize the image. You can build the ideal frame by starting with a picture and building it out from there. Use a frame or bright colours. What about text that clearly states the video’s content? Use branding elements to reinforce the company behind the video. Try it out by making a custom thumbnail for a YouTube or Facebook video.

First Comes the Video

Now that you’re thinking about what your thumbnail will look like, you need a related video. If it’s time to update an existing video or make something new, we can help. Call us today for a free quote.

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