In a content landscape where algorithms mediate what content users see, if your videos don’t earn early engagement, they will quickly get lost in the noise. To stand out in searches, recommendations, and newsfeeds, powerful first impressions are paramount. One commonly overlooked element for creating more engaging online videos is the humble, ubiquitous thumbnail.
Vevo, YouTube’s leading music video channel, offers an illustrative case study. After switching out a music video’s thumbnail from a dark, blurry image to a light image of the video’s two stars, Vevo recorded a 4,000% growth in views on the video within two weeks.Netflix also understands the power of thumbnails, famously carrying out rigorous A/B tests to constantly improve engagement.
The takeaway: optimizing your video thumbnails is one of the highest-impact quick fixes you can make to improve your video performance. The following best practices will help you get started on the right track to attracting eyeballs.