What Are Thumbnails And Why It Is Important To Use

When you see something what do you do? You either like it or dislike it. And what generates this likeness or dislike ness? The visual. That means the human mind reacts to visuals far before any other thing because we recognize visuals far before text or other attributes. This is the same approach we use when we interact with anything around us. Let me give you an example. We consume a lot of video content each day, still, we don’t randomly watch anything that comes in front of us. Right?  We make active choices based on certain factors, and visual is one of them.

So how do creators make a mark when the number of watched videos per day is 500 billion? 

The answer is Video Thumbnails. You can create the world’s best content but if you don’t get thumbnails to service, you can’t get a wider reach. So if you want to have a deeper understanding of thumbnails, keep reading.

What Are Thumbnails?

A thumbnail is a reduced image of a video, blog post, or file that gives an insight into what the video, blog post, or file holds. To put it shortly, a thumbnail is a face through which people judge the content and decide if they should click or leave. However, the thumbnail should not be out of the content’s context or it will leave a bad impression. For example, if you search iPhone 7 pro on Youtube, you will get to see multiple video results, showing unique video thumbnails.


Why It Is Important To Use Thumbnails?

There are multiple vital reasons why the use of thumbnails is essential, some of them are mentioned below.

  1. Thumbnails allow you to be specific while giving the audience an idea of what the video is about, to convince them into clicking and watching your video.
  2. Video thumbnails or blog thumbnails work like a magnet to attract users to watch videos or read blogs.
  3.  Thumbnails offer key aspects that why someone should watch the video.
  4.  Good and consistent thumbnails add a professional look to your videos and your channel.
  5. Thumbnails increase your reach.
  6. Attractive thumbnails make people watch the video.
  7. Using a thumbnail saves your video from looking awkward or unprofessional as Youtube will put any random part of your video as a thumbnail if you don’t add one.
  8. 90% of the viewer-attracting videos on Youtube have thumbnails.

Things To Keep In Mind While Creating Thumbnails:

  1. You can either use one picture or a composition of multiple pictures for a thumbnail.
  2. The composition should be balanced and visually appealing. 
  3. Each element of thumbnails should be clear and readable and shouldn’t look rushy when looking as a whole. Because rushy or unreadable thumbnails will fail the purpose of creating it in the first place as people might not understand what it represents. 
  4. Don’t consider background, foreground, or middle ground (if any) as one. That means, your foreground should stand out from the background.
  5. Adding a face, especially yours, adds the human touch and attracts more viewers, giving a sense of authentication.
  6. You can use a still from your video to create a thumbnail but if you don’t find it suiting the thumbnail, you can photograph them. However, make sure to shoot the video in high quality as it enhances user experience and facilitates you to create video thumbnails from videos. 
  7. Don’t be shy about editing pictures or playing around with compositions to generate creative thumbnails. Also, there is no harm in using filters or features like adjusting contrast, brightness, clarity, etc.
  8. Always run a size test and preview your thumbnails before using them to see if they look the same attractive and visible in the thumbnail’s size as the actual size.
  9. Don’t rely on Youtube-generated thumbnails but create your video thumbnails yourself to deliver your message better.

What Are The Qualities Of A Good Thumbnail?

A good thumbnail helps attract viewers and increase your reach and has certain qualities that are mentioned below. So a good Thumbnail

  1. is optimized for all devices.
  2. Speaks the subject of your content.
  3. Has a warm and welcoming face. 
  4. Includes video title in an easy-to-read format.
  5. Depicts the speaker’s face to convey the message in a creative, friendly, or humorous way to engage emotions. 
  6. Should include the brand’s name and logo.

Here is an example of a thumbnail you can see to drive an idea of what good blog thumbnails or video thumbnails looks like. It doesn’t have the company’s name and logo but speaks loudly about what it offers.


4 Type Of Image Choices You Can Consider To Create Thumbnails?

  1. Product Pictures:

If your video contains a demonstration like how to do certain things says cooking, cleaning, exercise, DIY products, and Useful hacks. You can either use a picture of the final product you have created or the results achieved from exercising, cleaning, etc.

  1. Video Screenshots:

If your video is of high quality you can use a screenshot of a certain part of it, especially the one showing the face. Because people tend to engage in things that convey emotions and speak about the subject fully. But avoid using blurry or low-quality screenshots because such visuals scare people away.

  1. Layouts:

Most professional, or educational video contains layouts and is an effective way to use a high-quality photo you already have to create a thumbnail that stands out among others. But make sure it should be appealing at all costs to get a wider reach.

  1. Illustrations:

Another effective way to create a thumbnail is using illustration but you will have to put extra effort into it. However, if you can endorse the effort, you can deliver your message in a unique way and of course, can make a mark if you stay consistent with this approach.


Thumbnails hold quite a significance and can be seen almost everywhere in our digital surroundings. From your laptop folders to the apps you have installed on your phone, you can’t unsee them at least now after reading this. So while you should and must add thumbnails, make sure to be creative and think out of the box to stand out and be the one people choose among all others.


Why We Use The Term Thumbnails?

Thumbnails derive their name from their size as it equals the proportion of Human Thumbnails.

Do We Have Defined Specifications For Youtube Thumbnails?

Yes, there are specifications (Size, File Format, Dimensions, Aspect Ratio) that you consider before creating video thumbnails for Youtube. 

Size: The size of a Youtube thumbnail should not exceed 2MB.

Dimensions:1280*720 are the perfect dimensions for Youtube’s thumbnail and are also effective in ways, they can be used on almost all other platforms.

Format: The suggested formats for YouTube are JPG, GIF, PNG, and BMP because these are the only formats that will work there.

Aspect Ratio:  There are multiple defined ratios but 16:9 is what works best on Youtube. Also, this ratio facilitates syncing all the players and devices to video. 

Do Thumbnails Trends Exist?

Like all other things, Thumbnails trends also exist, and the most common these days suggest to

  • Use your photo on thumbnails.
  • Add an interactive question for text in the thumbnail.
  • Utilizing the image of a product.

Is It Necessary To Add Text In Thumbnail?

No, it isn’t necessary but it is useful. That means, it is estimated that thumbnail with text get more clicks and wider reach than plain images.

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