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6 Tips for Creating Better Video Thumbnails

6 Tips for Creating Better Video Thumbnails

Not everyone sees videos automatically playing in their feeds when they visit social media, as social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn let people turn off autoplay. When these people visit the social network, they will see a thumbnail instead of the video automatically playing.

So, the number of views your video generates will depend heavily on how good your video thumbnail is. This is why, after you edit your video, you shouldn’t just upload and publish it immediately. Instead, you should create a beautiful and enticing thumbnail that will help attract more views.

Here are some top tips for creating better thumbnails. They will get more people to click the play button and ensure that you get better results from all the effort you put into creating your video.

See What Types of Thumbnails the Most Viewed Videos Have

Before you create thumbnails, you should do some research by going through the most viewed videos from your competitors. Observe their videos closely to see what types of thumbnails they are using. This will give you a good idea about what works and what doesn’t.

Find Some Templates

There are many sites out there such as Canva, Stencil, and Crello that offer templates for making thumbnails. You can also buy templates from sites like Creative Market. So, before you go about creating these thumbnails you should buy some templates. They will make your job a lot easier. If you have a large enough budget, you could even hire a graphic design pro to create a unique template for you.

Make it Very Attractive

People publish millions of posts on social media every day. So, you are competing with other videos and photos in their feed. How are you going to make more people watch your video instead of your competitors?

The answer is to design highly attractive, attention-grabbing thumbnails. You can do this by adding a lot of high contrast, attractive colors and other overlays that stand out. Another way is to use fancy fonts. There are a lot of unique fonts out there that make heads turn.

Use a Picture from the Video

Using fonts and colors will help attract attention, but how do you get people to watch the video? The answer is to tease viewers with something from it. An easy way to do this is by adding a picture from the video to the thumbnail.

You can just take a screenshot of the videos, then use a tool to remove the background as this will give you some extra space around the image. You can then place it on the thumbnail with a template.

You could also add some extra text that teases the contents of the video. This could be a quote from the video or the title.

Brand the Thumbnail

Make sure you brand the thumbnail by adding your logo or company name or website. This will inform people about who created the video. If they watched your videos in the past and liked it, they will be more likely to view this one too.


Always be ready to experiment with your thumbnails. You should do this both with the video and without the video. When you create a thumbnail and slap it on a video you can add the details on a spreadsheet and track the performance. You could also create several versions of the video with different thumbnails and split test them with ads to see which one generates the most views.

You could also just publish an image version of the thumbnail to see which image types fare well. You can then pick the winner as your thumbnail.


Creating thumbnails can seem difficult when you just get started, but it’s something that just takes time to get used to. So, be patient at the beginning and soon it will become your second nature and you will enjoy the benefits of all those extra views.

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by Marissa Collins //

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.