Creating a high-engagement video requires careful planning and filming, but your target audience will never enjoy the video if they’re not tempted to click on it in the first place. Thumbnail graphics are an essential part of communicating with your audience, giving them a snapshot of what they can expect when they click play. Unfortunately, overlooking thumbnails is one of the most common mistakes in video marketing. Without good thumbnail graphics, your videos may not get the clicks and views that your brand deserves.
Having an effective thumbnail graphic is an important tactic in grabbing the attention of your ideal audience and increasing viewership. Here are my top tips for using thumbnails to capture more viewers.
Use a B-Roll Shot
Thumbnails are first impressions, so using a high-quality still is a priority. One easy way to use an impressive shot for your thumbnail is to capture it from your b-roll footage. A still from your b-roll will naturally be relevant, high-quality, and engaging for the video’s ideal audience. Consider a drone shot of the location or a still of one of your cast members as your thumbnail. Your chosen image will work as long as it has to do with the video’s story.
Avoid Stills of Interviews
While using your b-roll is a smart choice, taking a still from an interview is not recommended. Only a few minutes into trying to capture a still from an interview, you’ll realize how difficult it is to take an appealing still of a person who is mid-sentence. It will take too much time – if it’s even possible – to find a high-quality still of their face in a nice neutral position.
Add Brief and Relevant Text
In addition to using an engaging picture for your thumbnail, you’ll want to pair it with a brief and informative snippet of text. This text could be the title of the video, or it should at least communicate the point of the video in an eye-catching and interesting way.
Use a GIF
Spice up your thumbnail for an even better chance at increased viewership by using animated GIFs. GIFs are not always allowed as thumbnails on video hosting sites, but you can use this feature on Vimeo. The best part is that it’s not common for video creators to use GIFs as thumbnails, so your video will stand out even more on feeds. Keep creative features like this in mind when choosing platforms for sharing your videos.
Make Sure There’s a Play Button
When helping my clients use their websites for video marketing, I don’t recommend uploading videos straight to the website. Hosting videos on your website can cause a host of problems. One of the issues could be the way the video presents on your site – the chosen video player might not make it obvious that the video is actually a video. You also miss the opportunity to build up an audience across channels and improve engagement on a video hosting site like YouTube. Instead of uploading your video directly to your website, you should embed it.
In the case that you choose to host rather than embed, or your video player is customizable, make sure you make the play button visible. The visible play button over the thumbnail lets your site visitors know they can click on the video to begin watching.
If you’re interested in learning more about creating the best thumbnails for your videos, contact Monzo Media Productions.