If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your YouTube channel, there’s one tactic that you can use for consistently reliable growth: use better (and custom!) thumbnail images.
The thumbnail image for your YouTube video is just as important as the video’s title when you’re looking to increase your views. A successful thumbnail image will jump out at users and help you stand out amidst a long line of recommendations and search results. And, because your thumbnail is what shows up on Google’s search results, they’re absolutely essential when it comes to maximizing your impressions.
In this post, we’re going to talk about everything you need to know about creating the perfect custom thumbnail for your YouTube video, including a free template that you can use in Photoshop or any of the free design services offered online to ensure that your thumbnail is the optimal size.
Things to Keep in Mind When Creating Your Custom YouTube Thumbnail
The most important quality about a successful thumbnail is luckily one of the easiest ones to get right. What’s the ideal size for a custom thumbnail?
According to Google’s recommendations, your image should ideally be 1280 x 720 pixels, with a width of at least 640 pixels. A ratio of 16:9 is most commonly used in YouTube players and previews.
These dimensions may be surprising but they make sense! It’s important to keep in mind that while your thumbnail will be small when showing up in your potential viewer’s search results, it will be expanded to a full video’s size when it appears as a suggestion for what they should watch next. Because of this, you want to use a larger image that can be scaled down instead of a smaller image being scaled up.
Here are some other important technical details to keep in mind:
- Your thumbnail must be in .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .PNG image formats
- Your thumbnail file must be under YouTube’s 2MB limit
How to Design a Custom Thumbnail for Your Business
While it can be tempting to use one of the thumbnails YouTube automatically pulls from your video, it’s important to recognize that you’re limiting your video’s potential in doing so. Creating and consistently using custom thumbnails will help your video look professionally made.
There are a few options when it comes to choosing a background image for your thumbnail:
- Use a custom-made image that features simple graphics, such as your video’s title. This image could show your business’ name or logo in one of the corners.
- Use a still-shot from your video. You can still add graphics, logos, and text on top of this image.
- Take photographs or stills from your video and apply them to more graphic images or a solid background. This is a popular option if your thumbnail contains images of people.
However, it’s important to add text to your thumbnail to best convey what the video is about. No matter how beautiful your image is, it’s not going to communicate that your video is a tutorial looking to solve your audience’s problems.
By capturing a core idea and transforming it into a compelling title that can be summed up into a few key words, you’ll be able to create a thumbnail that will capture the attention of your target audience.
It’s important to keep in mind that when adding text to your thumbnail, you need to avoid the bottom right hand side of your image. This is where YouTube puts the timestamp on all of their videos, so your viewers won’t be able to read your text.
Remember that your image is just that- an image. Users are able to see the title of your video as it’s displayed right next to the thumbnail of your video. Use the opportunity to add keywords and create additional context for your content within your thumbnail.
Download Your Free YouTube Thumbnail Template
Designing a custom thumbnail is hard enough without having to worry about getting the correct dimensions. We want to offer a .PSD and .PNG file for you to download for free and use as a free thumbnail template.
If you’re using Photoshop to design your custom thumbnail, download the .PSD file!
If you’re using any free online design services, download the .PNG file! The .PNG file is also compatible with Photoshop.
When designing your custom thumbnail, you should strive for consistency. By adding the same distinctive branding to each of your video thumbnails, it will be incredibly easy for your audience to recognize your videos quickly and click on your content in the video suggestions that appear on the right side of the page.
Adding engaging thumbnails to your YouTube videos will help drive clicks and views while building valuable brand recognition for your business.