6 Thumbnail Tips to Get More Video Views

2022 Edition - with examples

You’ve improved your video content by Lighting Up Like a Rockstar and using our Three Video Tips. BUT, your video is still competing with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of similar videos on Youtube.  What can you do to compel your audience to pick your video over the others?

When you’re picking your next book to read or even shopping for your next shampoo what compels you to pick one up and investigate more? The packaging. What is the packaging of the video? The thumbnail. Think of your thumbnail like the cover of a book.  Viewers will often judge your entire video with just one quick glance at your thumbnail.  This means the success of your video hinges on how captivating and intriguing  your thumbnail is.  A good video thumbnail draws people in and allows them to glimpse what they are about to watch.

The success of your video hinges on how captivating and intriguing your thumbnail is.

Keep reading for our 6 Best Practices for creating Video thumbnails for YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, so you can reach more people and amp up your online engagement. 


First things first, let’s get the right dimensions and format: 1280×720 pixels. The file must be a jpg or png, no larger than 2mb.


Next, we want to start with a solid foundation. That means use high-resolution images. If you absolutely must use a low-resolution image, look for online tutorials on increasing the resolution.


While you are likely creating the thumbnail on your desktop, remember that most people are watching Youtube videos on their phones. Make sure the text is big enough and in a legible font. A good rule of thumb is to use a max of  six words.


People love to see people in thumbnails, especially if they are making eye contact. If they are not making eye contact, remember that your audience will follow the direction of the gaze of the person in the photo, so make sure they are looking towards the text. It also helps to isolate the person in some way. 

In this thumbnail, we isolated the video host by giving her a little bit of drop shadow, but kept the video background with a dark blue overlay.

In this one, we cut the video host out completely and have a different background.

Another way you can isolate a person is by just having the person on one side, and a block of color and text on the other, like in this example by Idea Decanter.

One thing that works well with thumbnails is having the person emoting or showing some sort of action other than just posing. We know, we know, but you’re usually making a funny face when you’re showing emotion. It’s okay. It’s just a thumbnail to entice your audience to click! Take a look at this thumbnail and how much more interesting it is compared to the other photos where people are just posing. Don’t you want to know what Kalli is in the middle of doing?


Just like in an artistic canvas, try to put focal points on the intersection of an (imaginary) 3×3 grid. This gives your image an unexpected, yet pleasant layout.


It looks better and more credible if you follow the same design conventions for all the videos. That’s not to say you can’t mix it up a little, but make sure you’re kinda staying in the same lane. Below are various examples of consistency. 


Don’t just take our word for it that this works… check out the numbers! This client had been active on YouTube for a few years, but with revised thumbnails using these practices, their reach expanded far beyond their previous benchmark! 

With these steps and little trial and error, anyone can make an effective video thumbnail. 

Not sure if your video thumbs take the cake? Contact us for a consultation. Or better yet, take the whole task off your plate and hire us to post & promote your videos. Check out the service here


PSST!   Become a Savvy Advisor and download our thumbnail template.

Download Our YouTube Thumbnail Template

Reach more people + amp up your online engagement!