The term "thumbnail" comes from English and is literally translated as "thumb." It refers to a miniature or preview image in the motion picture field. So, you can think of the thumbnail as a kind of preview that is intended to assist the user in deciding whether to click on the content or not.
Why are thumbnails used?
On the web, you can find countless videos on various platforms. To ensure that it's your video the user ultimately clicks on, it's crucial for the thumbnail to catch the eye and pique curiosity. Clearly, it's all about creativity, which is why it's worthwhile to put careful thought into the preview image of a video. Have you ever read a book with a boring cover or an article with a dull headline?
Where are thumbnails used?
Thumbnails are used wherever there is video content: on social media (e.g., Facebook, YouTube), on company websites, or even in Google search results. YouTube, in particular, heavily relies on thumbnails – you can find one of these miniature or preview images in various places, such as the section that suggests videos you might like.
It's important to consider the different thumbnail format requirements for the various platforms where the preview image will be used. So, be sure to inform yourself in advance and pay attention to the specific guidelines when creating your thumbnail.
Requirements for a Thumbnail
The thumbnail has a significant impact on the success of a video. This is because the user gets an idea of the video's content through the preview image, which motivates them to click.
In summary, there are three requirements that a thumbnail should meet:
- Provide information about the content
The thumbnail should give an overview of the video's content so that the user knows what it's about.
Caution: Avoid clickbait! Promised content and claims that the video doesn't deliver in the end leave a particularly negative impression on the viewer.
- Spark interest
The thumbnail should entice the viewer to click on your video rather than continue scrolling. Therefore, design it to be engaging and let your creativity run wild.
- Increase curiosity
The thumbnail should pique the user's curiosity while not revealing too much in advance, but rather creating an appetite for the video.
Three Tips - How to Design a Thumbnail?
1. Incorporate meaningful text elements
To give users an insight into the video's content, text elements should be integrated. Avoid overloading your thumbnail – instead, work with meaningful keywords. These can stand out particularly well when presented in a larger and bold font.
2. Ensure consistent branding
User recognition is crucial. Therefore, it makes sense to use recurring design elements in the thumbnail. Consistency can be achieved through typography, colors, or even integrating the logo. Ideally, users should be able to recognize that the video is from you just by looking at the thumbnail.
3. Test your thumbnails!
An A/B test helps you determine what resonates with your target audience. This allows you to experiment with different thumbnail designs to see which one leads to more clicks. There are various online testing tools available for this purpose.
If you post video content on Facebook, for example, you can use the Facebook Manager to conduct such tests. You can run your video with two different thumbnails and then find out which preview image resulted in more clicks. This is the perfect foundation for personalizing your thumbnail optimization!
EXTRA TIP: CANVA Have you tried the online design tool "Canva"? Even the free version offers numerous possibilities to create your individual thumbnail!