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Video thumbnails - components and what you should pay attention to

Visual presentation through video thumbnails influences human attention and thus can deliver an advantage. Learn more in our article.

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As a marketer, it is important to understand how important the video thumbnail is to the success of a video on demand format. It is the first thing viewers see before they decide whether or not to click on the video.

A poor or uninteresting thumbnail can cause potential viewers to overlook your video storytelling, while an eye-catching and engaging thumbnail can help increase your click-through rate.

But which components are important for thumbnails in video marketing and what should you pay attention to in order to achieve the best results with your video thumbnails?
To answer this question, this article discusses the different options for your thumbnail selection, creation and publication, including custom and auto-generated thumbnails.


Definition: What are Video Thumbnails?

A video thumbnail is a small preview image that serves as a thumbnail for a video. It is usually displayed next to the title and description of the video and gives the viewer a first visual impression of what the video is about.


Components of a video thumbnail

- The image:

The image should be clear and well lit to convey the content of the video. It should also be tailored to the format of the video to avoid distortion.

- The text:

The text in the thumbnail should be concise and meaningful. It should encourage the viewer to click on the video by giving a brief overview of the video's content.

- Branding:

Branding is an important component of the thumbnail. It helps identify the video as part of your brand and increase your brand awareness.


What to look for in video thumbnails

- Attract attention:

An eye-catching thumbnail grabs the viewer's attention and encourages them to click on the video. Use bright colors, strong contrasts, and appealing images to attract attention.

- Consistency:

Make sure that the thumbnail matches the content of the video. It should not mislead or confuse the viewer. If you have multiple videos on a particular topic, you can use a consistent design to emphasize your brand and theme.

- Relevance:

The thumbnail should convey relevant information about the content of the video. If the thumbnail does not match the content of the video, the viewer will be disappointed and may not be interested in your content anymore.

- Size:

The size of video thumbnails varies depending on the video platform and device. As a rule, however, the thumbnail should have a resolution of at least 1280 x 720 pixels to ensure that it is easy to read on different devices. Most video platforms recommend an aspect ratio of 16:9 for thumbnails. If the thumbnail is smaller than 640 x 360 pixels, it will be displayed blurred or pixelated on the platform.

Tip: It's important to check the specific requirements of the platform you're uploading your videos to ensure that your thumbnails are displayed optimally. Make sure the thumbnail is easy to read and reflects the content of the video in an appealing and memorable way.


How do I choose the right video thumbnails?

There are two ways to select thumbnails: automatic and custom thumbnails.


- Automatic thumbnails

Many video platforms and free tools offer automatically generated thumbnail templates. These are often generated from a random frame of the video and can sometimes be inappropriate or uninteresting. If you choose to use automatic thumbnails, make sure it's relevant and engaging.


- Custom thumbnails

Custom thumbnails are individually designed thumbnails created specifically for your video. You have full control over the design and can ensure that it reflects the content of the video in the best possible way. There are several tools you can use to create custom thumbnails, including graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop or Canva. With a well-structured video platform, there's also the option to add custom thumbnails.

Tip: When choosing your video platform, find out if they have the options to add their own thumbnails.


If you decide to use custom thumbnails, there are some tips you should keep in mind:

- Use clear and distinct fonts:

Use fonts that are easy to read and put the thumbnail text in the foreground.

Video Thumbnail Fonts

- Use memorable images:

Choose images that reflect the content of the video while being interesting and eye-catching.

- Keep it simple:

Don't try to pack too much information into the thumbnail. Keep it simple and meaningful.


Upload thumbnails

Once you have selected or created a thumbnail, you need to upload it to the video platforms. Most platforms allow you to select or upload a thumbnail when you upload the video.


Some tips for uploading thumbnails are:

- Make sure the thumbnail is the right size: Make sure the thumbnail is the recommended size for the platform. Most video platforms have specific requirements for thumbnail size and aspect ratio.

- Save the thumbnail in the correct format: Ensure that the thumbnail is saved in the correct format. Most platforms accept JPEG, PNG, and GIF files.

- Check the thumbnail after uploading: Check the thumbnail to make sure it displays correctly and that it reflects the content of the video well.

Create video thumbnail



In addition to an elaborate customer journey, the video thumbnail is an important component of video content marketing. It can make the difference between a high and a low click-through rate. There are many ways to select, create and upload corporate video thumbnails.


Regardless of which method you choose, make sure the thumbnail is eye-catching, relevant and meaningful. With these tips, you can ensure that your thumbnails are successful and that your product videos, video podcasts and other video formats get the attention they deserve.

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