Antalya, Turkey - May 6, 2011: iPad is on the Apple Macbook Pro. Youtube logo on iPad screen.  Youtube is the largest video sharing website in the world.

How To Create a YouTube Thumbnail in 6 Steps ?

YouTube is a website that many professionals, such as marketers, can use to connect with new audiences through video. On this platform, creators can incorporate their branding and style into multiple forms of content besides videos, such as YouTube Thumbnail. Learning how to use video thumbnails can help you attract attention from potential viewers while adhering to marketing style and branding guidelines. 

In this article, we explain what a YouTube thumbnail is, how to create a YouTube thumbnail and why it’s beneficial to have a good one, then we share tips to help you use thumbnails to benefit a brand.

What is a YouTube thumbnail?

A YouTube thumbnail is the image that represents a video when viewers are browsing videos on the YouTube homepage, search results or on a creator’s page. This small image typically displays some of the people, images or text in the video to show potential viewers what to expect if they click on the video. Some creators choose to add text to their thumbnails to draw attention to their image or clarify the content in the video. Having a visually attractive thumbnail may help you gain more viewers and improve the credibility of your video or channel.

How to create a YouTube thumbnail

You can follow these steps to create a video thumbnail:

1. Research your competitors’ thumbnails

You may find inspiration for your thumbnail by researching thumbnails of other videos you find compelling. This research can help you understand thumbnail design trends and industry standards that may improve your design. Using your research, make a list of elements you might want to include in your thumbnail. Consider researching elements like:

  • Background image
  • Font
  • Colour
  • Contrast

2. Choose an image editing software

Choose an image editing program to use to create your thumbnail. These programs typically offer a variety of fonts, visual effects and colors, so it might be beneficial to research to find a program that aligns with your style. Some online software programs also have thumbnail templates that you can use. If you decide to create your thumbnail in an image editing software without a template, make sure your thumbnail image fits YouTube’s parameters:

  • Resolution of 1280 pixels by 720 pixels
  • Minimum width of 640 pixels
  • Format as a JPEG, GIF or PNG file
  • Under two megabytes
  • An aspect ratio of 16-to-9

Many templates already have these parameters set, but consider checking to make sure the parameters are correct even if you’re using a template. Checking the size and resolution can also ensure that the thumbnail uploading system can accept and display your thumbnail correctly. You may have the option to save your final image in a variety of formats, so ensure you’re downloading it in a compatible one.

3. Add a background image

The background image takes up the majority of the space in your thumbnail, and most creators use a moment from their video to give viewers an idea of what the video looks like. Look through your video for a frame that’s representative of the video without giving away too much information. You can also consider how the text in your thumbnail may appear against the background image. If the brand already has a color scheme or a visual aesthetic, consider picking a background image that adheres to that style.

4. Include text

Including text in your thumbnail can provide your audience with context before they click on your video. Text may also get your audience interested in viewing your video content. Try to include an engaging and relevant title that conveys the purpose of the video to potential viewers who aren’t familiar with your content. Since the thumbnail is small, consider keeping your text short and simple as well. If you’re creating a series of videos, you can also include the video number in the thumbnail text so viewers can easily find the right video.

Once you know what you want the text to include, you can design its appearance. Choose a font that’s easy to read in a small size, and consider picking a striking color that creates a contrast between the background image and the font. For example, if the background is primarily white, you might use black letters. Contrast can help viewers read the text quickly and clearly. It can also be visually appealing to your audience.

5. Create a template

Once you’ve created a visually attractive thumbnail that aligns with your brand and follows the thumbnail parameters, you can create a thumbnail template to reuse for future videos. Using a template can help you create thumbnails more efficiently. It also creates uniformity across your videos, which can make your channel look more professional and branded. If you’re using a custom thumbnail format, you may want to save the size and format of the thumbnail before creating a new one so you can keep the parameters.

Having one type of thumbnail can also provide visual cues to your audience. For instance, you might indicate that certain videos are part of a series by using a similar thumbnail for each video in the series. A signature thumbnail style can also help your viewers to recognize your content when searching the site for videos.

6. Upload your thumbnail

Once you’ve designed your thumbnail, you can upload it onto YouTube. To do this, select the image you want and upload it to the “Thumbnail” section of the video upload dialog box. If you’ve already uploaded your video, you can use these steps to change a thumbnail:

  1. Select the “Content” option. In your YouTube Studio account, on the left-hand side of the browser, select “Content” from the panel of options.
  2. Choose your video. Find the video you want to add a new thumbnail to and click on its preset thumbnail or title. Clicking the video makes various settings for that video appear.
  3. Add your custom thumbnail. In the “Settings” dialog box, there’s a section labeled “Thumbnails” with preset thumbnail options. Select “Upload Thumbnail” on the left side of the options.
  4. Upload your file. Click on “Custom Thumbnail,” which causes a dialog box to appear. Select the file that you want to use as your thumbnail and upload it.
  5. Save your file. After uploading the file, click “Save,” causing the dialog box to disappear and the thumbnail to update with your new image.
  6. Review your thumbnail. Review how the thumbnail looks to ensure the proportions and colors are correct.

Benefits of a good YouTube thumbnail

The thumbnail is often the first thing a potential viewer sees about your video or your channel. A good thumbnail could:

Tips for creating a YouTube thumbnail

Here are some additional tips you can follow to create compelling thumbnails:

Use a high-quality image

When selecting an image to be the basis of your thumbnail image, choose a high-quality one so you can see the image clearly regardless of the thumbnail size. Having a clear image can better display the design elements in your thumbnail and increase your professionalism. Viewers who quickly glance at your thumbnail may also be able to understand the context of the video based on the clear image.

Use simple images

Thumbnails are generally small, so having simple images can be easier to view in smaller portions. For example, a picture with mountains, trees and lakes may look unclear in a small size. However, a close-up photo of a single flower can be easy to distinguish, no matter the size, because the image is simpler. Your thumbnail communicates the context of your video to the audience, so make sure they can see what the image is on their devices.

Display a person’s face

Including images of faces can encourage people to look at your thumbnail. This is because people often identify with emotions they recognize on other people’s faces. Showing people in your thumbnail can also allow viewers to gain a sense of familiarity with your content. For instance, if you have video series hosted by one person, having their face in the thumbnail for each video can show continuity and encourage viewers to watch the familiar content.

Follow thumbnail trends

The popular design formats, colour schemes and font choices for YouTube thumbnails typically change over time. Consider monitoring thumbnail trends so that you can update your template with new design elements that keep your thumbnails looking original. Regularly updating your thumbnail format according to these trends may also make your video appear professional.


Youtube marketing Strategy for Your Brand

Youtube has approximately 2.5 billion monthly active users. YouTube is the second largest social media platform in the world. But YouTube’s large user base isn’t the only reason brands shouldn’t sleep on including the platform in their overall Youtube marketing Strategy.

Recent Sprout Social data shows consumers are increasingly turning to YouTube for entertainment, education and product research. Marketing on the platform can help your business increase brand awareness, build stronger relationships, boost SEO and drive high-converting traffic.

In this article, you’ll learn what Youtube marketing Strategy, why it’s important and how to implement it successfully with proven tips and strategies.

What is YouTube marketing?

YouTube marketing Strategy is the process of promoting your brand, product or service on YouTube. Primarily, there are three ways marketers use YouTube:

  • Create original videos: YouTube is primarily a video hosting platform. Publishing high-quality videos is key to succeeding on the platform.
  • Partner with influencers: There’s a reason brands spent over $600 million on YouTube influencer marketing in 2021. The platform is an excellent place to work with creators and build credibility in your niche.
  • Run video ads: 70% of consumers say they’ve bought a product after seeing it on YouTube. Running ads on the platform can deliver high returns for your brand.

YouTube is also the world’s second largest search engine. But ranking on the platform is highly competitive.

There are more than 5 billion videos on YouTube, with 500 hours of content being uploaded every minute. Understanding how the YouTube algorithm works and optimizing your videos accordingly is key to gaining visibility.

Why is YouTube marketing important?

The latest YouTube stats all point to one truth — marketers and consumers love video. Research shows people are 2x more likely to share videos with friends and family over other content types.

And there’s no better place to leverage video content than on YouTube, where people watch over 1 billion hours of video daily.

YouTube marketing has tons of benefits for your business. Below are a few reasons investing in YouTube should be your top priority:

Reach a large audience

YouTube has an incredibly large, active user base. Publishing quality content consistently and partnering with influential creators in your niche can get you massive exposure and traffic.

Better yet, YouTube lets you tap into an international audience. The platform is available in 100+ countries in 80 different languages. With features like auto-translated captions, it’s easy to create targeted content for global audiences.

Improve search visibility

While YouTube is a big enough search engine on its own, it’s also great for boosting your visibility on Google. A significant number of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) now include video carousels, and more than 94% of those videos are from YouTube.

Conducting keyword research on Google and YouTube lets you choose the right topics, match search intent, and optimise your videos to rank higher on both search engines.

Increase brand awareness

YouTube is a great place for generating brand awareness. According to Google, 90% of people around the world use YouTube to explore new brands and products.

Publishing content like product reviews, how-to videos, explainers and video ads can help you spread the word about your business. Additionally, using tactics like visual branding and brand voice consistency can help your audience connect with and remember your brand.

Build trust and credibility

YouTube is the most trusted social media platform for finding and purchasing products. If you’re looking to build credibility around your brand, YouTube is a great place to start.

Video testimonials, brand storytelling, visual tutorials, hands-on reviews and live demos are just a few ways you can shed light on how your product can solve problems. Partnering with creators in your niche can also help you build trust with potential customers.

Drive sales and traffic

YouTube marketing can positively impact your bottom line. In fact, 81% of marketers say video has directly increased sales for their business.

With YouTube’s shopping features like cards, end screens, channel stores and tagged products, marketers have tons of opportunity to sell products both internally and externally through the platform.

Generate leads

YouTube is also an effective lead generation tool. Along with using features like lead form ads, you can share webinar promos and online course trailers to encourage people to sign up.

Additionally, you can add links to landing pages and lead magnets in your video descriptions. Share your videos on other platforms like social media or websites to get more exposure.

Make extra revenue

Channels that meet YouTube Partner Program’s eligibility criteria can monetize their videos and make money based on the number of views and engagement. Check out our article on YouTube monetization to learn more about how you can earn revenue on the platform.

YouTube marketing strategies and tips

YouTube marketing is competitive but highly rewarding if done right. Simply creating a channel and publishing videos is not enough. Brands need to strategically approach the process of planning, producing and distributing content on the platform to see tangible success.

Below are some tried-and-true best practices to make the most of YouTube marketing and drive business growth using the platform.

1. Create and brand your YouTube channel

The first step to YouTube marketing is setting up your channel — your brand’s “home” on the platform. This is where you’ll publish videos, create playlists, respond to comments, view analytics and more. Follow this guide to create a YouTube channel for business.

But simply creating a channel is not enough. You also need to brand it properly to establish consistency and generate brand awareness.

Customise these elements on your channel so it’s aligned with your branding style guide:

  • Profile picture
  • Banner image
  • Channel description
  • Social links
  • Channel trailer
  • Custom URL

Additionally, ensure your video thumbnails, titles and descriptions are all on-brand, even if you need to optimise them for SEO purposes. You can create a branded thumbnail template based on what works for you, and keep all future thumbnails consistent with that design.

Are you looking for a YouTube banner that doesn’t require additional design resources? Check out our free social media templates tool with free YouTube banners that you can download and add to your channel today!

2. Define your YouTube audience

Before you start creating content, know who your videos are for.

Not all potential customers are watching your videos on YouTube, so find out who makes up your target audience on the platform.

  • Are they males or females?
  • What’s their age range?
  • Where are they located?

Additionally, consider your audiences’ interests to create engaging videos.

  • What kind of content is your target audience currently watching?
  • Which channels are they subscribed to?
  • Why are they on YouTube in the first place?

Use a mix of social media market research, analytics, and social listening to understand your audiences’ problems, questions, and goals — especially in terms of online video consumption.

Build an audience persona to visualise your target audience and keep it in mind every time you create a video for your channel.

3. Conduct a competitive analysis

Identify channels your audience is watching and learn from their efforts. This is important for spotting trends, finding keywords and understanding audience interests. Analysing the competition also helps you set realistic goals and benchmarks for video performance.

your own marketing strategy

  • What does their posting schedule look like?
  • How are they engaging with their audience?
  • What type of videos do they publish?
  • What do their thumbnails look like?

Moreover, find content gaps your brand or channel can fill. There may be dozens of video opportunities your competitors are missing out on. Take advantage of those keywords or topics before they catch up.

4. Create quality YouTube video content

There are billions of videos on the platform and not everything is worth watching. Users have to sift through the noise daily to find meaningful content on the platform. This is also why YouTube’s smart algorithm favours some videos over others.

To stand out, you need to consistently create high-quality videos viewers love watching and engaging with. Check out these YouTube video ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Research audience pain points, analyze trending keywords, and practice social listening to find topics and inspiration for your videos. Also, use good quality equipment, build a powerful story, and invest in editing and post-production to make your videos look professional.

5. Experiment with YouTube Shorts and other features

YouTube Shorts is a recent feature that lets you leverage the power of short-form video — the latest short-form video marketing feature for quick content viewing and increased mobile usage.

Use YouTube Shorts to reach mobile-first audiences and drive more engagement for your brand. Shoot videos up to 60 seconds long in vertical format, and creatively use the built-in audio, text and filters to make your videos stand out.

Also, leverage features like live streams, premieres and 360 videos to consistently deliver unique video experiences to your audience.

6. Optimize your videos with SEO best practices

YouTube SEO is an often overlooked aspect of video marketing on the platform. But it’s crucial for showing up at the right time. Otherwise, your videos will get lost in the sea of unwatched content and stay there for good.

Optimising your videos starts at the beginning of the video creation process — during ideation. Conduct keyword research to find the right topics and angles for your videos. Then, optimise the following elements when publishing on YouTube to maximise visibility:

  • Titles and descriptions: Use primary and secondary keywords naturally. You can also translate your video titles in multiple languages to reach a global audience.
  • Thumbnails: Browse top videos and identify which thumbnails perform well for a particular keyword. Thumbnails with faces, expressions and text often stand out from others and drive more clicks.
  • Tags: Add relevant words and phrases to tell both YouTube and viewers what your video is about. While tags are less important than they used to be, they can still impact your search rankings.

YouTube’s algorithm also favours videos that see more engagement. Promote your videos on other platforms like social media and forums to get more views and give it an initial push.

Also, link to your video from other videos on your channel using cards and end screens. Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask people for likes, comments and shares. You’ll be surprised at how effective proactively reaching out can be.

7. Actively engage with your audience

YouTube marketing is all about building an engaged subscriber community. And interacting directly with your audience is a great way to do that.

Respond timely (and nicely) to the comments on your videos. Take audience questions seriously and answer them quickly to resolve any issues.

Additionally, create interactive video content on YouTube to engage with your audience. For example, host live Q&A sessions and webinars, publish behind-the-scenes content and premiere videos to watch together with your audience in real-time.

8. Attract more YouTube subscribers to your channel

Subscribers are the bread-and-butter of all YouTube channels. The more subscribers you have, the more exclusive features you’ll be able to access. Plus, YouTube’s algorithm is likely to rank your videos higher if you have more subscribers.

Create problem-solving content that meets audience goals to get more YouTube subscribers. Ask people what they want to see on your channel and keep your promises. People subscribe to channels they’re getting value from and want to see more of.

Also, promote your videos outside of YouTube to widen your reach, and build relationships instead of pushing out one-way content.

Finally, stick to a consistent publishing schedule so subscribers know when and how often to expect your videos. Consistency is the key to YouTube marketing success. While creating and editing quality content takes time, make sure you have a posting schedule and stick to it.

Having a proper publishing schedule makes it easier for you to plan your content and schedule videos ahead of time and sets and expectation for your subscribers. YouTube channels with consistent publishing are generally favoured by the algorithm as well.

9. Use YouTube ads to drive targeted traffic

Running YouTube ad campaigns can help you reach a wider audience, drive traffic to your website and deliver personalized messaging to your target audience.

YouTube supports three types of ads:

  • Bumper ads: These are short, non-skippable ads that run before a video starts.
  • In-stream ads: These can be skippable or non-skippable, and run at certain points throughout your videos.
  • Overlay ads: These are non-video ads that appear as banners or text on top of or below your videos.

Be careful about your goals when running ads on the platform. YouTube ads are not meant to replace your organic strategy, but to boost it. Also, views acquired from ads don’t contribute towards monetization revenue.

10. Partner with YouTube influencers

There are millions of creators on the platform with thousands of loyal subscribers. Brands can partner with YouTubers in their niche to promote their products and services in creative ways.

Does it work? 70% of marketers believe so!

Here are some ideas for YouTube influencer marketing campaigns:

  • Unboxing videos
  • Product reviews
  • How-tos and tutorials
  • Day-in-the-life vlogs
  • Contests and giveaways

Set a budget prior to working with creators and use influencer marketing tools to narrow down your search for the perfect brand partner. Set expectations upfront, share creative briefs and involve creators in the planning phase to streamline the process.

Additionally, plan ahead for product deliveries, and consistently measure performance during and after the campaign to tweak your future strategy.

11. Monitor your YouTube analytics

Tracking YouTube analytics helps you identify your best (and worst) performing videos, understand what type of content resonates with your audience, and find out which specific factors impact video performance.

You can access the platform’s built-in analytics in YouTube Studio. Track metrics like views, subscribers, watch time, audience retention, traffic sources and devices. Also, analyze audience demographics and interests.

Knowing this helps succeed on the platform and create an effective long-term strategy. It also helps you focus resources where they matter.

YouTube marketing tools

Channel and video branding tool

Canva is an online design tool that lets you create branded visuals for your videos and channel. Use and edit templates for YouTube thumbnails, profile pictures and banners. You can also add creative intros and outros to your videos using the tool.VidIQ 

Video marketing and analytics tool

VidIQ is a specialized video marketing intelligence tool for YouTube creators. Its key features include daily video ideas, keyword research, optimization suggestions, competitor analysis and performance metrics. The tool also comes with a free Chrome extension for easy access.

Keyword software tool

Ahrefs is a popular SEO tool used for keyword research and site analysis. The platform also offers a YouTube Keyword Tool that lets you find trending keywords in 170 countries. View detailed reports for each keyword showing search volume, clicks, questions and other data.