5 Steps to Optimizing Video Thumbnails

Today video marketing in Toronto is highly competitive. Creating effective custom thumbnails can make all the difference when it comes to a viewer choosing to watch your video, or deciding to watch another. The thumbnail acts as a first impression for your video… it’s the first image anyone sees of your video, but so many companies in Toronto fail to take advantage of this optimization feature.

Nothing beats a custom thumbnail image that ties in with your video, your channel message and your brand. Apart from making quality videos that viewers want to watch, companies should follow some basic guidelines when creating optimized thumbnails.


Here are 5 ways you can optimize your thumbnails:

#1 Make the Best Use of Colour

The brighter the colours, the more chance the thumbnail will stand out from the rest of the competition. Of course, that doesn’t mean to go completely overboard. Do just enough to differentiate your video from the others. Don’t settle for the existing colours in your image. Through graphic design software, boost the saturation in the thumbnail image just enough to make the colours stand out over other thumbnails. Even small adjustments to the hue and saturation can attract viewers directly to your thumbnail instead of others. Consider applying a filter to your thumbnails. Even something as simple as sharpening the edges can have a subliminal effect on thumbnails.

#2 Include an Image of a Face

Make sure that your thumbnail image has a close up of a human face whenever possible. This will help your image stand out on whatever device it’s being viewed on. Emotional facial expressions can also go a long way to engaging viewers to watch. The added emotion will capture the viewer’s attention and make them want to watch the video to see what caused this emotion.

Buzzfeed has this down to a science.

#3 Use an Action Shot

Another way of capturing attention is to use an action shot as the thumbnail (if possible). The added sense of motion will encourage viewers to click on your video to see what it’s all about. The Slow Mo Guys are known for conducting crazy experiments, and along with optimized titles, they almost always include the main action shot from their videos on their thumbnails. The amount of clicks they get shows just how effective this approach can be.

#4 Create Custom Branding for Your Thumbnails

Giving your video thumbnails some brand consistency is an excellent way to build awareness for your content, especially if your videos are in a very competitive category online. Lowes does a good job of this using their branded colours to tie all their content in.

#5 Test and Analyze

One last tip is to test your thumbnails. YouTube still doesn’t have a native feature so you’ll need to rely on resources like TubeBuddy for this. A well-planned testing strategy can improve the performance of your videos and channel almost immediately, so don’t overlook this valuable strategy. Also, stay open to replacing thumbnails if you you can see it isn’t working for your video.

Remember to choose thumbnails that are accurate to the content within your video. Although in the past it was indeed possible for companies to build an audience on Youtube using misleading thumbnails, it doesn’t work like that anymore. Now that Youtube is much more focused on watch time than on simply driving clicks and views, you have to make sure that whatever is on your thumbnail is indeed what your video is all about. If you can follow these guidelines for your video marketing strategies, you’ll create thumbnails that not only accumulate viewer clicks but you’ll also build your Toronto audience.