Yes, videos are easier to create than ever, for the most part at least. Creating effective videos is another story, but the point is that the video production process doesn’t have to be as complicated nor expensive as it used to be nowadays.
But that doesn’t mean that video content just appears overnight. Creating videos still takes time, thought, and effort, no matter your overall objectives nor the particular viewers you’re trying to reach. And all that time, thought, and effort can be easily wasted, which is why the thumbnails you choose are so important.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then your thumbnails are the windows to the soul of your video content, and as NY / NJ video production pros who’ve been in the biz for a while now, we know a thing or two about how to go about choosing, or creating, effective ones. Read on to learn more.
1. Tempting’s just fine, but misleading’s not.
The whole point of the thumbnail is to entice people to click it, to turn potential viewers into, you know, actual ones, which is why it can be so tempting to strive to just do exactly that, tempt viewers.
The thing is that tempting viewers to click that play button and start your video is only part of the mission. After all, chances are that you would also like the viewers to actually finish the video, right? Of course you would.
But if you put all your focus and energy into simply tempting viewers to click play, then you’ll probably end up with a thumbnail that does a great job of enticing, yet does very little informing or explaining, and viewers don’t tend to like being kept in the dark nor misinformed.
No one’s saying that your thumbnail needs to tell the whole story of your video, but just that it shouldn’t be misleading or confusing. So, when creating or choosing your thumbnails, remember that tempting isn’t everything.
2. Show the right faces at the right moments.
Like mentioned above, the thumbnails you choose for your videos need to give the viewer some idea of the content to come, but the types of images or graphics you choose or create to do that depend on what kind of video you’re creating.
For instance, if you’re making an interview-based video or have some type of authority figure hosting or speaking within your video at some point, then the best bet is usually to use a close-up image of that person’s face as your thumbnail.
If the person is enough of an authority, their face alone could prove to be enticing enough, but if not, then you may want to consider using an image in which the person’s face or eyes are conveying some type of emotion.
That will draw viewers’ attention and, hopefully, evoke some type of emotion to boot. And trust us as longtime NY / NJ video production experts, if the thumbnail has that kind of effect on viewers, then they’ll want to watch your video to discover what, exactly, is at the root of that emotion.
3. Hint at the action to come in your video.
Now, not every video is interview-based nor does every single video center around a human being, so a close-up image of a face, whether experiencing an intense emotion or not, isn’t always the right choice for the thumbnail.
Remember, the thumbnail needs to hint at the content to come, so if your video is more about the action within in than it is the people, then you may want to put some of that action to use for the video’s thumbnail instead.
For example, if you’ve made some kind of product demo or explainer video, then you may want to think about choosing an image of the demo as it’s happening or of a particularly informative or interesting part of the explanation.
Just remember that the thumbnail won’t be too large, hence the name, so you don’t want to choose an action image that’s unclear or cluttered. You want potential viewers to have enough information to feel the urge to see what, exactly, is happening or how the action occurring in the image will come to its conclusion.
4. Use colors and brand elements wisely.
Choosing the right image is one thing, but taking the time to go the extra step to then customize it for its new function as a thumbnail for your video content is another, and one way to do that is with color.
Obviously, the brighter and bolder the colors the more eye-popping and attention-grabbing the images will be, but remember, your sole objective shouldn’t be to entice. The thumbnail also needs to tie directly in with the video content to come, so don’t go overboard.
You can also apply the laws of color psychology in your thumbnail to try and trigger certain emotions in potential viewers, but that approach tends to work best with graphic-based images rather than still photos from the video itself. For more on that, check out this post from Entrepreneur.com, The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding.
Then there’s the branding of your thumbnails to consider, which you can use color to accomplish, but the point is that making your thumbnails consistent in some way is a great way of connecting your video content and establishing a style and identity with it.
You can even use different elements and colors for different types of videos to let viewers know what specific kind of content they can expect if they click that particular thumbnail.
Don’t forget the basics.
From there, like always, you need to make sure that the image you use is clear, any text involved is readable on all devices, and that a video filled with relevant, engaging content follows your thumbnail, no matter which approach you take to choosing or creating it.
But the bottom line is, like mentioned at the top, the thumbnail functions as the window to the soul of your video content. It’s often the first introduction to your videos and could very well be the last, yet so many videomakers still aren’t putting nearly enough thought into it.
So, give it some serious thought. Think carefully about how you can entice viewers to click while also giving them some hint at the nature of the content to come. Choose the right elements to highlight and use every tool in the toolbox to catch the viewer’s eye. After all, you’ve taken the time to create a video and the last thing you want to do is lose viewers right when they’re at the front door simply because of a poor choice of thumbnail.
About Us: KVibe Productions, a New York/New Jersey full-service film & video production company, can handle every aspect of the production process. Whether it’s a commercial, corporate video, or a feature film, etc., at KVibe, we always create to inspire.