how to make thumbnails for youtube videos Free YouTube Thumbnail Maker - Design a Thumbnail in Canva YouTube Thumbnail: Your Guide to Making a Scroll-Stopping Add video thumbnails on YouTube
so here's the formula you take one intriguing idea you take a picture of that idea you add the elements to that picture to deliver on that intriguing idea and then you publish but if that were all you needed then you wouldn't need to watch this whole video howdy howdy everyone nate here i'm going to assume because you are here you're here to win youtube thumbnails once and for all you want to rock the youtube thumbnail game this video took many hours to make so all i ask is that you watch through the entire thing and come back and re-watch it as you need it in the future and i also need to address what this video is not if you came here
Add automatic or custom thumbnails
1.Open the YouTube app .
2.Tap Library. Your videos.
3.Next to the video you'd like to edit, tap More Edit. ...
4.Select an auto-generated thumbnail or tap Custom thumbnail to create a custom video thumbnail from an image on your device.
5.Confirm your thumbnail selection and tap SELECT.
expecting a video on the step-by-step how to produce a thumbnail in a program like photoshop or canva that's not this video rather this video is about how to make a good thumbnail that gets more clicks and views for your channel so in order to do that i'll be using real examples while i walk you through each of these steps from my own channel as well as two other channels who are both part of my program project 24 to show what they are doing that is working for them step one you want to start with the idea for the video and the title for the video now this may come as a surprise to you especially since this is a tutorial it's a guide on how to produce thumbnails why would nate start with the idea of the video because that is the fundamental that will pull you through the entire process of producing the video of the marketing of the video the ideation and especially the thumbnail of the video in fact
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i want you to think of it this way thumbnails are your third thought your first thought is the idea for the video the second thought is the title for the video and the third thought is the thumbnail and i mean that seriously before you do anything else in the production of your videos you weren't expecting this from this video were you before you do anything else on your video like plan out the scenes do your outline the content of the video you need to start with why people will watch that video what is the idea that is a single intriguing idea the single reason why people want to be there and experience that video that you produced for them this is overlooked by so many creators especially new creators on youtube they go into it often thinking hey i'm gonna make a video uh it's about a certain game it's a let's play in the video and we say okay now the video is a let's play without really giving thought to
what is the single idea that is the compelling reason why people want to watch that video in the first place this is the fundamentals of marketing on youtube so you're starting off with an intriguing idea for your video how do you go about doing that what does that even look like let me show you some examples all right i wanted to show you some examples from my own channel first of this video idea and the title if i go to my channel here i go to videos first of all a few interesting observations you'll notice look at the color scheme right here look at it before definitely different i've been evolving over time right but there's one video in particular this one making really clickable thumbnails for youtube so this one is funny because it's gotta be very meta i published this one several months ago it's a really good video and many of you watching this have already watched this video but the idea for this video was i saw an issue when i searched on youtube how to make good thumbnails many many most of the videos coming back were tutorials in a program like how to produce a thumbnail and i saw many people using those techniques but not actually making good
thumbnails so i decided to make this video making really clickable thumbnails for youtube full guide that was the idea the funny thing here is if you look at the thumbnail this was not the original thumbnail and in fact within the video i do a little questionnaire with my community i have them vote on which one i should use and the one that won is not this one i actually originally had the one that won on this but then i did some testing of the one that won the voting compared to this one which is the current thumbnail for this video and this one outperformed the original one if you're curious and you want to know what the original thumbnail on this video was you can go watch this video after this but back to the channel if you look at these videos on any given one there's a single promise of the video it could be four videos you should not publish don't make these mistakes there's a single hey this is the number one best strategy to get 4000 watch hours because the thumbnail offers you the perfect opportunity to play off of the title to play off of the and to include the other elements which i will go over later on in this video of the the language you use how many words the visuals the curiosity and the intrigue so now you have the first step of starting with the video intriguing idea and the title for the video the reason that that is important is because in your thumbnail very very rarely do you ever want to repeat the title of
the video within the thumbnail it's a bit like wasted real estate it's a bit like wasted opportunity or potential if you repeat what is in the title in your thumbnail all right so now let's get on to step two and that is the video thumbnail idea the idea for the thumbnail itself we're layering ideas here now here i'm going to reference a video that i produced several months ago where i reviewed over 200 of mr beast's thumbnails if you're not familiar with mr beast is a channel that's growing extremely fast is very well known for the effectiveness of the ideas of his videos as well as the thumbnails of his videos and as a result of that study i came to several conclusions as to what was most effective and what was working really well on his channel is a super good video you might want to consider watching it after this but in the conclusion of that video i talk about one of the biggest takeaways and that was being able to identify the idea of a thumbnail in a single one sentence idea if you ever couldn't do that with a thumbnail you look at a thumbnail that you produce and you can't give it one clear idea of what is being portrayed in that thumbnail it's not a good
thumbnail because you're confusing people confusion like that gives them no clear reason to click through so the big check you'll want to run with your own thumbnails is this after you produced it or even while you're producing or even as you're coming up with the idea of the thumbnail what is the one sentence idea that this thumbnail is conveying and if you can't give a clear answer to that question go back to the drawing board now here i feel like it is worth discussing the concept of click bait click bait has rightfully gotten a bad reputation on youtube because bad click bait is the definition of having something present in the title or the thumbnail of a video that isn't actually in the video itself that's bad that's kind of equivalent to lying but something i will see it's a common concern with many youtube channel makers is well how do i make my videos intriguing without being clickbait and often i will explain it to them this way there's bad click bait and then there's good clickbait we've already talked about bad clickbait it's lying by making something appear as if it's in the video that isn't actually present in the video good click bait on the other hand is something that gets people to click through on the video because it emphasizes a single intriguing idea about the video let me show you some examples the original video that i was referencing was this one i reviewed 200 mr beast thumbnails to prove this and in this video is fun i did the intro exactly like jimmy it was a fun video and you'll notice or you may not have noticed this easter egg for a future video i put right here but i wanted to show you some examples of this idea in action the single idea for a thumbnail from project 24 member simplifying gardening this is tony and i selected a few of my favorite of his thumbnails here this one potato experiment if i look at the full thumbnail what is the single idea if you were to look at this and say what's the single idea of this video so first of all we've got the words right here's the result but the idea here is what whether implicit or not we've got two piles of potatoes one right here one right here they look different what is the difference in the results so i would say the single sentence
description of this is what is the difference between this versus this and is that intriguing yes it is because if i'm growing my own garden and i'm growing potatoes i want to know the difference between an experiment an expert in the field which tony is i want to know the difference he tried one thing he tried the other thing which one's better all right another one of my favorites here on tony's channel simplify gardening is this one the video is how to grow asparagus the lazy way but what's the single sentence idea here i see this and i see okay this is the lazy way he's looking kind of smug this is how to grow asparagus well so if i were to give a single sentence description for this thumbnail for me i mean this is the nate's interpretation here i would say i'm tony and i won asparagus or i've cracked the asparagus code or this is stupidly easy or this is the ridiculously easy way to grow asparagus or this is just really the best way to grow asparagus and i figured it out and this is how you do it that was a really long sentence and then one more
example from tony's channel here is this one effective potato growing tips for astounding results that was very effective got almost a quarter of a million views on it if we look at the thumbnail was it's pretty simple right and here's the thing here you don't need to feel like your thumbnails have to look the most aesthetic or beautiful this is pretty simple and yet still garnered a quarter million views on it because what's the idea here for me i would say i got amazing potato results and you can too this concept might feel simpler than it actually is and it might feel more rudimentary than you may realize right now but i guarantee if you start doing the same exercise for your own thumbnails of giving it a single sentence idea you're going to see a dramatic change in how they
perform all right the next step is the image or the background layer of your thumbnail and this is you'll notice we're building this thumbnail in layers we started with the idea that the video idea itself then we came to the idea for the thumbnail itself and now we're getting to the actual visuals of the thumbnail and at this point we want to know what is the primary image going to be in your thumbnail now depending on the niche that you are in it could be a simple colored background or a textured background with your face on it or it could also be a photograph of something happening or a project that you created now i'm going to get to some examples here in a moment but i wanted to talk about why do people click thumbnails in the first place it's because there's a promise of something that they're going to experience or benefit from when they experience that video your video examples of this could include a story if they feel like they're going to experience a story as a result of your video and it seems like a fun story or an interesting story or a sad story or a mystery story that's a good reason another thing could be movement or an action being taken within that video it could also include an interesting object an abnormal object or an interesting event or abnormal event with the primary reasons why people will click through on those thumbnails being either curiosity or the emotion they feel let me show you some examples this is jake and betty's youtube channel switch and click they have a lot of personality i like keyboards please subscribe just a great banner they made this video how to choose the perfect switch for you and if we look at the thumbnail boom pretty simple and yet doesn't this play perfectly off of the title how to choose the perfect switch for you what do we see on this
keyboard a variety of different types of keyboards switches and the big words which one question mark this is probably one of the best examples i could show you of if you find the right image you don't need a lot of other work on your thumbnail image for this the thinking was how can i visually demonstrate choosing the right switch for you and what better way than to pull apart a bunch of keyboards and put all of the different types of switches onto a single keyboard next example i wanted to show you it's another one on their channel called i used a split keyboard for 30 days just to cool almost 2.8 million views on this one look at the thumbnail no words whatsoever two hands and a split keyboard why is this thumbnail working because this is something you don't see every day almost every other keyboard if you have a mac looks something like this almost every other keyboard looks pretty similar it's a single piece and what do we have here it's a split keyboard this is something new it's something different and so if you can find
ways to show different things than what people normally see in everyday life things that are more intriguing for the image itself you've got most of your work already done for you i also wanted to show one more example from tony's channel simplify gardening this one if i open it two words sprouting potatoes right we have a single image it's his face he's holding a potato it's sprouting and he's giving a thumbs down a single image the rest is kind of blurred out behind it but the reason this works is because what is the feeling of this image this is not working he's holding up something that you may be doing if you're growing your own garden you're trying to spout or sprout your own potatoes and this is not working simple yet effective the key thing to remember with the visuals on your thumbnails is that showing is almost always better than telling at this point i did want to invite you to boop the like button on this video if it's being useful thus far as a token of appreciation for all the effort it took to make this video and also so that this video can spread to more people i appreciate it thank you for doing that the next step this has to do with visuals all right you've got your background you've got your first layer what's gonna go on top of that layer that delivers on the promise of the thumbnail now there's a few primary things that you want to consider including on top of your back layer on your thumbnail and one of the primary of those is faces or a single face namely your face now the big question here is do you need to include a face in your thumbnails no you do not i see it all the time success without a face and a thumbnail however i will say that there is an advantage a few inherent advantages of including your face in the thumbnail one is it's something that can't be replicated elsewhere so your channel feels unique because your face is unique right but also faces are better able to convey emotion and as i've talked about thus far in the guide emotion is one of the strongest reasons why people will click on a thumbnail or not if your face can convey an emotion of shock surprise curiosity bewilderment happiness joy your face can much more easily convey an emotion like that which is a higher factor on whether people will click through or not but i will make a note here i think it is time to put an end to the youtuber face syndrome call this a mini nate rant whatever it is but it was taught in the past that you had to have extreme faces in order to get
attention on youtube you know ah you know i can't believe this is happening just you know what i'm talking about here now based on all of my studies of youtube i am seeing a trend away from those extreme faces it still works in some niches however in many cases those faces are seen as cheesy now or not very effective because it's a form of click bait if i show i cannot believe this is happening and then the video doesn't deliver on that is that a form of clickbait yeah it kind of is if that emotion is present in the video then yeah by all means include that face but to feel like you have to have a youtuber face in every single one of your videos i am seeing a strong trend away from that so take it from nate here let's put an end to the youtuber face syndrome please the other three things to include in the visuals of your thumbnail are first text and this is only used to enhance what is already in the title of your video it should not very rarely should it repeat what's in the title of your video and when you do include text keep in mind
these things under four words in general and also make sure that it's a font that can be easily read next you can include objects now some thumbnails the entire focus of the thumbnail will be objects and i'll show you some examples here in a moment but objects are often an excellent way to enhance the idea of the thumbnail an object or a visual appeal this is something that i you do on my channel a lot where i'll show a graph or some sort of statistic or something that i am doing within the video it can be a very effective way to show what the video is about and create intrigue the last thing i will mention as far as visuals to include in your thumbnail is graphics but these should be used sparingly and what i mean by graphics are things like emojis or icons that type of thing should only be used very sparingly because in many cases it comes across as cheesy unless that's the brand of your channel and they should only be used to enhance the other things present the other visuals on your channel and i'll let you in on a little secret here leading people's eyes is extremely effective in your thumbnails and one of the best ways to use graphics to lead people's eyes across your thumbnails is an arrow ever wondered why there's so many arrows and thumbnails on youtube that is why because you're causing them to pause and look and see the progression of events within the thumbnail and whenever you can get someone to pause and look at your thumbnail that is bonus because you're buying extra time that they're more likely to click through all right let's show some examples of good visuals to include in your thumbnails i'm going to go to jake and betty's channel switch and click here this one i quit qwerty for seven days if we look at the thumbnail what do we have here this is interesting because i'm pretty sure those letters are not that big on the keyboard in fact if you look at the rest of the keyboard up here they're really small right but these letters are really big what did they do they doctored the image they added some additional visuals to nail a point and in this case it was i'm not using a standard qwerty keyboard i'm using a different keyboard and look how different it is because the letters are in different places on this keyboard we wanted to emphasize that in this thumbnail so we're going to make them big and make sure that they're visible to the viewer next one from jake and betty's channel i wanted to show you i built the loudest keyboard ever it starts off with explosions like that's just a great idea for a video first of all but if we look at the thumbnail what are we seeing we just got a simple keyboard it's a kind of a unique looking keyboard but what's the big thing standing out to you in this thumbnail the words it's cursed i love this example because it's effective use of the right words within a thumbnail and it fits the personality of jake and betty this personality is just oozing out of this thumbnail and the words it's cursed period are intriguing it's whoa whoa you built the loudest keyboard ever and it's courage to like what did you do to that thing i did want to show another one from tony's channel this one was kind of interesting because this is kind of what i would not recommend doing and yet it's still working this
one master growing tomatoes with this mind-blowing guide it's obviously got a lot of views it's performing well but if you look at the thumbnail oh no we used an emoji we use the graphic normally i would not recommend it but i can't argue with success here that is quite the graphic we used but in all seriousness the reason i think this thumbnail is working is because well first of all it's mind-blowing tips we see it's clearly it's tomatoes but then this there's a lot of emotion in like i cannot believe how well this worked and the graphic portrays that perfectly oh also i need to mention here members of project 24 my program i just dropped a brand new course walking through if you can believe it even more than i am delivering in this guide here especially including a worksheet step by step the production process how to decide what kinds of elements to include in your thumbnails as well as the exact process that i go through to develop a extremely clickable thumbnail that lesson just barely dropped in the program so
members of project 24 you want to log in today and check it out the next step we're going to talk about is the actual production of the thumbnail there's two programs i'm going to recommend here like i said at the beginning this isn't a tutorial on how to actually produce a thing there are many excellent tutorials on youtube to teach you how to actually produce it the first program i wanted to mention is photoshop that is what i use for my thumbnails and it is basically the industry standard i don't need to say much additional except for the reasons why you would versus wouldn't want to use photoshop the first is you can do almost everything with photoshop almost anything you could possibly conceive to manipulate an image can be done in photoshop the other thing is because it is so widespread it's an industry standard there are tutorials for it everywhere you can google like anything you want to do within an image and follow along to produce that now the downsides of photoshop here is there's a much steeper learning curve it is not intuitive for many people who have not used a lot of photo development program also i will say that the cost is higher for photoshop than comparable other programs the second program i will recommend here if you are brand new to youtube or if you just don't want to go in the deep end of photoshop is actually canva they have an excellent free tier that produces very good professional looking thumbnails and also when you're looking to make even more robust thumbnails remove the background of the image things like that canva does have a paid version that does add a lot of functionality still isn't as robust as photoshop but does get the job done i did want to add a note here some insider tips on where to place objects in the frame of your thumbnail when
you're actually producing it you'll want to avoid placing important objects on the right side of the frame there's a few reasons for that one on mobile a lot of the buttons appear here the share buttons and that type of thing appear on this side of the screen as well as this corner down here that's where the time stamp appears and it will obscure anything you put down here it doesn't mean you can't put anything down there but if you have key important aspects of your thumbnail definitely you'll want to avoid the bottom right corner of your thumbnail and also i'm going to give you another ninja tip here and that is you'll want to produce the thumbnail in the direction of the language that you are targeting in english for example people read left to right therefore the idea or the flow of the thumbnail should go left to right i'm going left to right but i think this left to right for you guys because people will naturally read a thumbnail in the way that they naturally read their native language and that includes top to bottom so top to bottom left to
right for example if you're using english if you're targeting an english audience pretty awesome huh the next step you're not done yet even after you put it all together you produce that thumbnail the next step is publishing but also testing you see most people when they get that thumbnail put together they get the video put together they upload it to youtube they put in all their timestamps they do all that right and then they hit publish and they go so glad that's over with what's next i'm going to do another thumbnail now now i warned you that this video would be advanced and this is what i'm talking about because rarely should you ever just publish a thumbnail and just leave it be i have another video in production right now about how to pivot a channel as well as how to pivot specific videos i'm not going to give away all the secret there you'll want to watch that video on my channel when it does come out but what i will say here is that because of pivots that i have done on my channel in videos and thumbnails i can attribute those pivots to an increase of five to ten thousand views on several videos on my channel so take it from nate here you have my
permission to switch out thumbnails that aren't working if you watch that thumbnail and it is not working you have my permission to change it you also have nate's permission to switch out thumbnails in older videos that continue to do well especially videos that have a year in the thumbnail you have my permission to change those out for updated thumbnail now a note here on a b testing with thumbnails tubebuddy does have a tool that does a b testing i personally did not find it to be very effective because it tests over a 24 hour period and so if i publish a video i can have one thumbnail and then 24 hours later another thumbnail and then another thumbnail it can work for older videos however what i'm really wishing would happen youtube has there's been rumors going around about this youtube has said that they might consider releasing an a b testing thing because what we really need with a b testing
youtube if anybody from youtube is watching this take nate's word here what we really need from testing is real time testing where we can upload two or even three thumbnails when we publish the video and test each of those thumbnails simultaneously that's what we need from a b testing now i don't normally do this but considering this is a longer guide type video if you're just now jumping into the video or if you haven't yet i would really appreciate it if you would boop the like button right now just as a token of appreciation and so this video can spread to more people i know i don't normally invite you to boop the like button more than once but i thought i would do that and try it out in this video because you know me i'm always testing things and if you wouldn't mind helping out and booping the like button if you haven't already thank you the next step is the evaluation and pivot points with your
thumbnails and what i mean by this is piggybacking on the previous step it's rarely a good idea to just publish and then move on so what you're doing in this step is taking note of a few key analytics for those of you who have had issues reading or understanding analytics i'm going to explain to you exactly the right analytics that matter for your thumbnails right now there are four key things that you want to take note of after you've published your video this is the evaluation and learning from it portion the first one is your click-through rate in your first 48 hours the reason i say 48 hours is because for many video types on many channels that is when you get the majority of your initial traffic from your core audience the people who watch a lot of your videos so you're looking at click-through rate what was the average click-through rate for your first 48 hours and how did it perform compared to the other videos on your channel because insider note here your thumbnail is your number one reason for that click-through rate followed closely by the title the combination of the two but primarily your thumbnail so you've looked at the click-through rate for the first 48 hours the next data point i want you to take is the click-through rate for the first seven days the reason for that time period is because it's after the initial the people who really like your videos who are gonna watch your videos within the first 48 hours
after that point you've got the trickle through again still of your core audience and it's during this portion when you'll usually see a video start to spread outside of your core audience that you start to see how well that thumbnail performed with a broader audience of people now the next metric i want you to pay attention to on any given video is the lifetime views for the video now the reason for that is because views are what i call the ultimate metric it is basically if you could combine all of the important other metrics on youtube views is the most important because it is in essence the ultimate indicator of how successful that video did how well it's spread there's always exceptions there's always things that but what about this what about this we could mention all of those but for the purposes of this video i refer to views as the ultimate metric so you're looking at views for the lifetime of the video because that tells you how well you marketed that video how well did you put together the idea the title and the thumbnail so that it could reach the right audience and the last metric to take note of is the key moment of audience retention or the average percentage viewed on your video and the reason for that not many people think about this but the reason for that is this is your number one indicator of how well your you delivered on the promise of your video in the thumbnail how well did you deliver it for the audience how well did you keep them throughout the entire video because you promised something they clicked through and they came through if you are seeing that they click through and then they leave fairly quickly or they jump around a lot and then leave you have a low average percentage viewed that means that you click-baited them but really it sounds funny but what you did in that
case is you promised something it was a good promise you know they clicked through but then you didn't deliver on it and that is something to take note of because that is the definition of clickbait you promised something you didn't exactly deliver it and then now your job is to work through this process with every thumbnail that you do on your channel and in fact members of project 24 that's why i created the worksheet for you to work through step by step each of these things in evaluating which channels to draft and then which elements to include in your thumbnails so go check out that lesson if you're not yet part of my program project 24 first of all you should but also my whole goal for myself and my team is to help people to help you become internet entrepreneurs by making a living providing well for you and your families online you can see more of what i do if you go to channelmakers.com
forward slash go because my team and i have been instrumental in helping hundreds of people to make money online and in fact if you go to that same web page you can see the current numbers on how many people are making 100 a month thousand dollars a month full-time income and many people we don't disclose this but many people are making a lot more than full-time online and if you're curious about how the whole thing works then i do have a video walking you through just the back end i just open up the entire program this is what it is and i show you the map of all the people where everybody is in the world is pretty cool so you'll want to go check it out i put the link in the description below and if you have any questions about the program or for me then just shoot me a text and i look forward to hearing from you nate out