And even though they are a very VERY important component to getting your viewers to click the play button, they are often overlooked.
What Exactly is a Video Thumbnail?
It’s the image that appears when the video screen is just sitting there waiting for the play button to be clicked.
It is also the same image that appears in search results when your video shows up in a search.
We talk about video thumbnails (as well as the other key factors to getting people to click play – the video title and description) extensively in my self-study Teach Me Video Marketing program.
Here’s the thing about thumbnails. Thumbnails are a sort of advertisement or poster for your video.
- If it’s compelling, you’ll get more play clicks – and more video views.
- If it’s clearly focused, you’ll get more play clicks – and more video views.
- If it contains a face or at least a person, you’ll get more play clicks – and more video views!
If your thumbnail has nothing whatsoever to do with the content of your video – in other words it’s false advertising – you’ll get more dislikes and complaints and your reputation will suffer.
Here’s Some Irony for You!
YouTube does not allow you to generate your own thumbnail. They select 3 random shots from your video and you have to choose one for your thumbnail. (Note: YouTube is currently rolling out the ability for us all to have custom thumbnails. But really! What’s taking them so long?)
Other video hosting sites, like Vimeo, not only allow you to choose any screen shot from your video as your thumbnail, you also have the option to upload a still image, like a JPG or a PNG, to use as your thumbnail.
Yet another reason to not rely on YouTube for all things video related.
All hail the thumbnail!