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What Are Thumbnails & Why They Matter

Creating a good first impression is vital, so you have to pay attention to every aspect of a post. If you're creating video content of any sort, a high-quality thumbnail is essential.

When deciding whether you're going to commit the time to watch a video, viewers (often subconsciously) take the thumbnail into account. If you're scrolling through videos, what are the odds that you will click on a video with an unprofessional thumbnail or no thumbnail at all? The chances are probably pretty slim.

To make sure that your thumbnails are as effective as possible, there are a few things you need to know. Let’s talk about what a thumbnail is, why it's essential for your content, and how to make your thumbnails stand out in a crowded sidebar or search.

What Is a Thumbnail?

In the world of technology, a thumbnail is a miniature graphic used for file organization. In most cases, it is a condensed version of a photo or video that details the contents of a given file.

Before customized thumbnails became popularized, video thumbnails were usually a random or median frame in a given video. This would help the video creator (and anyone else looking) figure out the content of a given video file. It informed someone of the content of a video before they watched it.

As online videos became more popular, customized thumbnails became an essential part of online video sharing. On websites like YouTube and Vimeo, almost every video will have a personalized thumbnail. They show observers what they can expect from a video and provide a stronger first impression. They also inform potential viewers of the quality, content, and creators.

While just choosing a frame from inside the video was once the standard for online thumbnails, those kinds of thumbnails now communicate a lack of quality and effort on the creator's part. If you're sharing your video, make sure the thumbnail looks intentional, engaging, and professional.

Why Are Thumbnails So Important?

Why are thumbnails so important these days?

First of all, everyone is doing them. Any video creator or brand worth its salt is putting custom thumbnails on their videos. In order to keep up with a competitive market, you should do the same. The content can all be great, but the initial appeal and overall experience are less enticing, which means fewer people will engage with it.

Thumbnails are also crucial because they can snag an onlooker's attention if done correctly. When you put in the effort to make an exciting thumbnail, scrolling viewers are more likely to click on your video.

How To Create a High-Quality Thumbnail

Here are some critical things to focus on when creating an impactful, attention-grabbing thumbnail. If you're making thumbnails for your content, ensure that they follow all of these guidelines to maximize your chances of attracting a viewer.

Be Bold and Clear

Ensure your thumbnail provides as much clarity and concise information as possible. Don't give away everything about the video in the thumbnail, but give away just enough detail that viewers know what to expect. If people click on a thumbnail expecting one thing and get another, they'll probably click straight away.

Be bold in how you choose to create a first impression. Use specifically-chosen images and attractive yet provocative designs. That's the best way to grab attention.

Focus on Consistency

If you're uploading a series of videos, make sure they all have consistent thumbnails with a common thread tying them together. This will make your content cohesive, easily recognizable as yours, and more visually appealing. If your videos have different kinds of thumbnails, viewers might not realize it's you making all those videos.

Create a template or style for all of your thumbnails to share, and stick to it. Over time, this will create a uniform, visually appealing group of videos that people will feel good about clicking on.

Show Faces

One secret that can change the game is incorporating faces. When people see an actual human in a thumbnail, they will automatically be more likely to click on it. Trust us — it works!

If there are people in the video, use their faces for the thumbnail.

How 7 Wonders Can Help

If you want to work with a company that has been creating high-quality videos and thumbnails for years, 7 Wonders is here to help. Our skills in visual storytelling, even within the context of a simple thumbnail, change the game for our clients. If you are looking to increase your brand's online presence, check out how we can help you.

If you have any questions or want to connect with our award-winning teams, reach out to us on our website! We’re always excited to work with new companies, brands, and individuals on making sure that their dreams turn into realities.


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