New brands are getting involved in YouTube marketing more than ever. That’s mainly because video content is more preferable to audience compared to simple text content. Visual content is more attractive, entertaining & gets more reach.
Various social media studies even concluded that brand videos increase trust level so audience is more willing and are not afraid of buying brand’s products or services. However, creating video content is not enough, you need to do it professionally.
One of the things that separates successful YouTube videos from unsuccessful is that 9 of 10 successful videos have custom video thumbnail. That should tell you something, right? No matter if you are running company or personal brand’s channel, if you want your YouTube video to be successful, you need to create custom thumbnail for your video.
In this article I will present how to create a custom YouTube video thumbnail and why you should do so.
Let’s get started!
Why should you create a custom thumbnail?
You probably already noticed that when your video has finished uploading to YouTube, it will give you 3 automatically generated thumbnails to choose from. Beware, you should never ever choose one of those!
You could upload one of the most interesting YouTube videos but it may not get the full amount of views that it deserves to get just because of some lame unedited thumbnail. Thumbnails, those small pictures next to video titles are as important as video’s title.
You can use a specific shot taken from your video, but you need to further edit it to get the best results.
As I already mentioned earlier, 9 of the 10 best ranking videos have custom thumbnails. What does it mean? It means that YouTube algorithm prefers custom thumbnails because videos with custom thumbnails are more eye-catching and gets better CTR (click-through rate). Consequently, it means that video will get more views and more engagement.
Custom thumbnails tend to get better CTRs because human brain is programmed to respond to catchy visuals that include some type of call-to-action. That’s simple psychology.
That’s why videos with custom thumbnail can get as much as 2x better CTR (click-through rate) compared to unedited thumbnail, according to social media study. That means at least 2x more views on your video with this simple editing twist.
How to enable custom thumbnail option?
Don’t freak out when you upload a video and you are not given an option to upload your custom thumbnail. It is worth mentioning that YouTube channels doesn’t have automatically enabled function to upload custom thumbnails. You need to enable that feature first.
There are no specific subscribers, views or watch-time requirements, so don’t worry. You just need to verify your YouTube channel first.
To verify your YouTube channel:
- Login to your YouTube channel;
- Click on “Video Manager” tab;
- On the left side of the screen press on “Channel settings”;
- Click “Verify”.
- You will be asked to type in your mobile phone number so that YouTube could send you a verification code. Type in the verification code and that’s it, your channel is now verified!
How to add & create a custom thumbnail?
To add custom thumbnail you need to first upload your video to YouTube. Once you upload a video, YouTube will give you 3 automatically generated thumbnails to choose from. Also, at the right of those 3 suggested thumbnails you will see option to upload your custom made thumbnail. Click “Custom thumbnail” button and upload your edited image! It is that simple.
Keep in mind that adding custom thumbnail to your video is simple, but creating that thumbnail takes a little bit of time.
First of all, you need to know the preferred thumbnail size. YouTube guidelines suggest that your thumbnail image should be 1280 x 720 pixels, with a minimum width of 640 pixels.
Always try to choose bigger image for your thumbnail, no matter that it will appear small in YouTube’s search results and YouTube’s player. It is always better that large image would be scaled down, than small picture to be scaled up. This tactic will ensure that thumbnail will remain high quality no matter where it is being displayed.
Secondly, don’t forget to add text to your thumbnail. Text can serve as a call-to-action trigger which will grab attention and induce viewers to click on your video. This will get you better CTR and more video views.
Thirdly, you don’t need it all by yourself. There are a lot of free tools available that will help you to create custom thumbnail easily. Many of them will require to register for free account, but some of them won’t. For example, try out FotoJet custom online thumbnail maker. It will help you to create custom thumbnail in no-time and you will be able to download it for free. If for some reason you don’t like FotoJet, try out Canva, Adobe Spark, Picmaker, etc. There is a variety to choose from.
Thank you for reading this article! I hope that now you know why you should always use custom thumbnails for your YouTube videos and learned how to do it properly.