What is thumbnail and why is it important for your videos?

what is thumbnail

We call this phenomenon a neologism. It happens both by creating new expressions and words and by assigning new meanings to terms that already exist. They can be artificial or spontaneous, but the second example occurs more frequently. This is the case of the word thumbnail. Although it has a literal meaning, its semantics has changed with technological evolution. In this article, you will discover what is thumbnail about and learns about its usefulness in the current days.

What is Thumbnail?



Look at your thumb of the right hand. Ready, you just found a thumbnail. In its literal translation, it is the union of the words thumb (thumb) and nail (nail). “Stop eating your thumbnails right now,” your mother might say a few years ago.

In the digital environment, this is the term used to designate a thumbnail image. Although most people do not know what a thumbnail is, it is very likely that they have already met several thumbs throughout their lives. Do you know that stop image that appears in a YouTube video? Or have you already seen the photos in a small size in the gallery of your smartphone?

You have certainly already observed them in your favorite blog and, after clicking on them, you have been able to see them in their original size. If you have not understood yet, take a test right now! Go to Google Images and look for any term. First, you will see a series of thumbnails. Then, you will choose the one that corresponds with your search, and you will click to see it in a larger size.

use of a thumbnail

What’s the use of a thumbnail?

Thumbnails are very important because they are light files. This means that, on the Internet, the loading time of the pages will be shorter, and you can use multiple images to illustrate them.

The same goes for when you want to find an image on your computer. Have you ever noticed that sometimes they take time to open? Without a doubt, it is much more practical to see all the miniatures at once, and then choose the one you will use.

What are the channels and where it is used?

use of a thumbnail

Surely you have understood the meaning of using them in blogs and websites. Thumbnails represent a shorter loading time. That being the case, they save the user’s Internet band and allow the general visualization of the visual content. However, a thumbnail acquires new functions when used in videos. Audiovisual content has the highest growth rate among Internet formats.

Observe some interesting facts about this feature:

  • The videos influence the decision making of 90% of the users;
  • ⅓ of all online activities are consumed in the video;
  • A common user attends, on average, 32.3 videos per month;
  • 80% of users remember an assisted video in the last 30 days;
  • The videos increase the rate of clicks in email marketing between 200 and 300%;
  • The videos included in landing pages increase the conversion rate by up to 80%.

 The most significant of them:

YouTube reports point out that the consumption of videos through mobile devices increases 100% every year.
So, it can not be denied that this type of content tends to dominate the digital market. In that context, a good thumbnail can mean the difference between a visualization in your video and the user’s resistance.

Why is it important for the success of my channel?

On YouTube, the thumbnail is also known as “personalized thumbnail.” She is responsible for bringing a preview of what will be discussed in the video. Also, it is a good way to spread your brand and strengthen the visual identity of the company.

importance of thumbnails

Think about it: when the user observes the thumbnail of your videos, you need to identify them as yours immediately. This also occurs when a consumer distinguishes a product by packaging format, logo or colors.

When Kinder added new products (different from the traditional oval format) to its catalog, nobody had any doubt that it was the original chocolate. This happens because people remember it: white and orange, it’s Kinder.

I am sure you will also remember some brands when you see the symbol of an apple in an electronic product. Or a horse in a red car. The same goes for that green glass beer packaging and the brown container and the peculiar format of a chocolate product. All this is called branding and is related to the image of your product or service. With the videos, that also happens.

What are the components of a thumbnail?

The first thing you need to know is that YouTube is also a search engine, like Google. That is, YouTube has an algorithm to position the most important videos and bring more quality to the user. A thumbnail is a fundamental element for the choice of the Internet user.

Therefore, she will help you receive more clicks, visualizations, likes, comments, sharing and all the other viral effects that result from the commitment. Also, it’s a great way to include additional information about the content and get the public’s attention. Next, you will know what the essential components for a good thumbnail are:

Text thumbnails

1. Text

The text is one of the most important elements of a thumbnail. He can, for example, synthesize the topic that will be treated, complementing the title. It can also be created in numbers, indicating that the video is part of a series.

It is important not to exaggerate the number of characters since it is a miniature. The indicated thing is to use short expressions, from one to five words. Also, make it fit your personality. If your channel is humorous, use funny sources. If it is educational, try to create a serious atmosphere.

And do not forget: people need to identify your channel immediately. Therefore, it is important, also, to maintain originality.

Colors for thumbnails

2. Colors

As you have seen in our Kinder example, colors have a big impact when we talk about branding. They can also highlight and mask elements, depending on the degree of importance. As in the texts, there is a hierarchy of information for the user.

In this aspect, the strategies are based on the same concepts of images for conversion. Here you have a very interesting article about the Psychology of Colors if you want to go deeper into the subject.


3. Image

Another important element in a thumbnail is the images. A tip: includes a moment captured from the video. If the content has the presentation format, put the most important slide (or something that summarizes the video). In the case of videos in which there is a presenter, how about putting an interesting picture of the person?

Or, even, insert icons that represent the essence of the topic to be treated. You can also choose monochromatic backgrounds, depending on the objective. If your video is more oriented to audio, for example, as in podcasts or songs, which also have their place in the platform.

Explore, also, the curiosity factor of the viewer. If there is a climax in the video (such as the revelation of a surprising secret or a funny moment), use a paused image only a second before it plays.


4. Icons, emojis, and memes

The language in the images is another factor that influences the quality of the model. The icons are excellent resources because they say a lot, without taking up much space. The emoji, for example, can simplify the understanding of the content.

Yes, they are the same ones used in WhatsApp or Messenger. They are in the user’s subconscious and, therefore, they carry an implicit message. The angry emoji can represent a bad situation, while the palms can mean something important.

The same goes for memes. ” Troll,” ” Seriously,” ” OMG,” ” Forever Alone,” ” Like,” ” Like a Boss,” ” Lol ” and ” Like a Sir ” are some of the best known. But if your content is very serious or your person does not understand these games, you can opt for smaller icons. The Icon Finder can be a good option to find them.


5. Objective

Of course, your thumbnail must match the content of the video. Otherwise, the user will abandon it at some time. And you do not want this to happen since it represents an increase in the Community Guidelines.

That is, your video may receive an age restriction if it has sexual, violent or explicit content. Also, it is possible, even, to be removed from the platform. In cases of recurrence, you can lose the channel. From now on, you have it in your hands. Use the image editor you want.

The most indicated is Adobe Photoshop. Also, the Canva offers the possibility of online production and recommended standards. Other options are PicMonkey, Fotor and Viso Catalyst.

How to add a custom thumbnail to my video?

How to add custom thumbnail

You will need a verified account to send custom thumbnails to your videos. For that, you will only have to conform to YouTube that you are not a robot through an automatic voice or text message.

Step 1: Log in to Google and access YouTube.

Step 2: Click on the photo of the channel, in the upper right corner, and select “Creation Studio.” Or type www.youtube.com/dashboard in your browser.

Step 3: Select the video and click on “Edit.”

Step 4: Next to the preview screen, click on “Custom thumbnail.”

Step 5: Load your image.

Step 6: Click on “Save changes.”

To simplify, at the end of each video upload, you can select the “Custom Miniature” option.

Certainly, following these practical tips, you will be successful when creating your thumbnails and you will optimize the visualizations on your YouTube channel.

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