By Digitools February 20, 2023

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and with over 2 billion monthly active users, it’s no surprise that it’s the go-to platform for video content creators. However, with so many videos being uploaded every minute, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for creators to get their content noticed. 

That’s where YouTube thumbnails come in. A well-designed thumbnail can attract viewers and increase engagement, while a poorly-designed one can result in viewers skipping over your video altogether. 

In this article, we’ll explore 10 surprising facts about how to make good thumbnails.

10 Surprising Facts About YouTube Thumbnails:

  1. Viewers see thumbnails first: 

YouTube thumbnail is the first thing that potential viewers will see before deciding whether to watch your video or not. These thumbnails represent each video, and they’re designed to give the viewer a quick idea of what the video is about. 

It should accurately represent the content of your video and give the viewer a reason to click on it. For example, if your video is a tutorial on how to bake a cake, your thumbnail might show a beautifully decorated cake with the title of the video overlaid on top. Therefore, it’s important to make a good first impression.

  1. Increase your video’s click-through rate (CTR): 

A well-designed YouTube thumbnail can catch the viewer’s attention and make them want to watch your video. There are several ways you can optimize your thumbnail to increase your video’s click-through rate (CTR). A high CTR can lead to more views, watch time, and engagement.

You can refine your approach and improve your video’s CTR, which can lead to more views, engagement, and ultimately success on the platform.

  1. Custom thumbnails are more effective: 

By creating a custom thumbnail, you have the opportunity to showcase an image that is directly related to the content of your video and designed to pique the interest of viewers. A well-crafted thumbnail can create a sense of anticipation or curiosity in the viewer, encouraging them to click on your video to learn more. 

Studies have shown that using custom thumbnails can increase your click-through rate (CTR) by up to 154% compared to videos without custom thumbnails. This means that more people will click on your video and watch it, leading to more views, engagement, and ultimately, more subscribers for your channel.

  1. High-quality and relevant: 

When creating a YouTube thumbnail, it is important to ensure that it is clear, high-quality, and relevant to the content of the video. A high-quality thumbnail will also help to establish your credibility and professionalism as a content creator.

To create a high-quality and relevant thumbnail, consider using an image that accurately represents the content of the video. You can use screenshots from the video or create custom graphics that visually convey the main topics or themes.

  1. Help brand your channel: 

Consistent branding on your YouTube thumbnails can be achieved through a few key elements, such as using the same font, color scheme, and design style across all of your thumbnails. This can help viewers easily identify your content and distinguish it from other similar content in their feed.

In order to develop a strong thumbnail branding strategy, it’s important to first consider your target audience and what they respond well to. Conducting research on your audience’s preferences and analyzing the thumbnails of other successful content creators in your niche can help you identify the most effective design elements to incorporate into your own thumbnails.

  1. Text overlays to convey the message: 

Text overlays are a powerful tool for communicating the key message of your video and encouraging viewers to click on your content. By adding text to your thumbnail, you can provide a brief preview of the video’s topic and create a sense of intrigue or excitement that entices viewers to watch.

There are several ways to use text overlays effectively in your thumbnails. For example, you can use a bold font to highlight the main topic of your video or use a catchy tagline that sums up the key message or benefit of your content. Incorporating visually striking graphics or images into your text overlays can help to make them even more eye-catching and engaging.

  1. Thumbnail size matters: 

YouTube Thumbnail size is an important factor to consider when creating compelling visual content. YouTube recommends using a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels for your thumbnail, with a minimum width of 640 pixels. This ensures that your thumbnail will display clearly and attractively on all devices and platforms, including desktop, mobile, and television.

For example, thumbnails may appear as small icons in search results or related video suggestions, or as larger images on your channel page or in promotional materials.

  1. Mobile-friendly thumbnails are important: 

Mobile-friendly YouTube thumbnails need to be visually appealing and clear, even when displayed on smaller screens. They should be easy to read, and any text should be large enough to be legible on a small screen. The overall design of the thumbnail should be simple and not too cluttered so that it doesn’t become distorted or difficult to read on a smaller screen.

Creators should also be mindful of the aspect ratio of their thumbnails. Since mobile devices often have different aspect ratios than desktop or laptop screens, thumbnails should be designed with mobile viewers in mind. This means creating thumbnails that are easily viewable in both portrait and landscape mode so that viewers can easily navigate and find the content they are looking for.

  1. Thumbnail analytics provides valuable insights: 

Thumbnail analytics is an essential tool for YouTube creators who want to improve their videos’ performance and increase engagement. YouTube provides valuable data on thumbnail performance, such as impressions, click-through rate (CTR), and average view duration, which can be used to optimize future thumbnails for maximum impact.

By analyzing these metrics, creators can gain valuable insights into how their thumbnails are performing and make data-driven decisions to improve future thumbnails. For example, if a thumbnail has a low CTR, the creator might consider changing the design or text to make it more eye-catching.

  1. A/B testing finds the best thumbnail: 

A/B testing is a valuable technique for YouTube creators who want to optimize their YouTube thumbnails and maximize engagement. This technique involves testing different versions of a thumbnail for the same video to determine which one is the most effective.

To conduct an A/B test, creators can create two or more different versions of a thumbnail and use them to promote the same video. By tracking the performance of each thumbnail, creators can determine which one generates the most clicks and engagement from viewers.


YouTube thumbnails may seem like small detail, but they can have a big impact on the success of your video. By following the tips and facts outlined in this article, you can create thumbnails that are eye-catching, relevant, and effective at increasing engagement and views. Don’t underestimate the power of a good thumbnail and take the time to create ones that accurately represent your video’s content and entice viewers to click. 

With the help of analytics and A/B testing, you can continue to optimize your thumbnails for even better results. Remember, a good thumbnail can be the difference between a viral video and one that goes unnoticed. So, make the most of this small but mighty tool and watch your views and engagement soar.