What are thumbnails and why are they so important?

A Thumbnail is the first image of a video the public sees on YouTube. One of the main functions of thumbnails is to project a consistent brand image. On top of that, thumbnails also play a key role in discovery; in fact, thumbnails are the second most important factor leading to clicks on your videos, after SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In other words, thumbnails basically help your content to stand out among millions of videos and that is the reason why you should not neglect your thumbnails and start being creative!

katieKatie, an 18 year old girl coming from England, has been uploading videos mainly focusing on beauty and lifestyle. On top of that, she loves to create videos about hacks, such as iPhone life hacks, and DYI’S inspired by many brands such as Tumblr, Pinterest and Urban Outfitters. Since the beginning of her carrier as a YouTuber she realized the importance of thumbnails, and therefore, decided to upload a tutorial on how to produce your own personalized thumbnails!


We gathered the information from her video and added up some more tips, to show you how to create the perfect thumbnails!

picmonkeyThe first step for creating the perfect thumbnails for your videos is to find a software that enables you to actually create some. In Katie’s case, she suggests using Pickmonkey to create thumbnails. According to her, the free version works perfectly; but you also have a possibility to pay for a more advanced version, which will give you access to more features and tools. There are other software’s that have more or less the same features than the one Katie is using; so do not be afraid of using a different software! Here are some software’s that you can consider using: Canva, Fotor, Fotojet, Backgrounder etc.


perfect pictureThe second step is to find the right background image for your thumbnail. It is important to note, that, If you want to insert a lot of images on top of this background, then you should maybe opt for a more discrete background image. This will make your thumbnail look less crowded, make it clear, and look professional.

resizeNow, let’s move to the actual creation of a thumbnail. First it is necessary to resize the picture that you are going to use for the background of your thumbnail. The usual size of thumbnails  is 1280 x 720. Resizing the picture before you start inserting content on it is essential for the thumbnail to work properly on YouTube.


4th stepThe fourth step for creating the perfect thumbnail for your video,  is to collect some images that are going to be on your thumbnail. In order to get the most relevant images for your thumbnails, think what the content of the video is about.  For example, if you create content about technology, images that could be adequate for your thumbnail would be for instance, new tech devices.


titleOnce all you image are selected, think about a title for your video. Aim for an easy, relevant and catchy title in order to attract viewers. For example, the title Katie chose for her video explaining how to create thumbnails is called “How I Edit My Thumbnails”. It is short, clear, precise and gives the viewers an exact idea about what the video is going to be about. Note that, the more the title pops out the better the attraction of viewers to your video is going to be. For example, an effective way to make your title pop, is to insert a colorful border around the title itself.


insertNow that all content is gathered, you can start inserting the pictures you selected on the background image. Organize the pictures on the main background, so that you have space to insert the title in the middle of the thumbnail. Do not forget that the layout of your thumbnail is up to your preference; there is no strict format to follow. So, be creative!

If you are interested in learning more about thumbnails, have a look on Katie’s video to have a clearer understanding of the creation  of thumbnails: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EUvLRXEtYg


We hope that the tips and tricks are helpful and if you have any more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!