Hacking the YouTube ‘Playbook for Brands’: Thumbnails that Pop

/ Jun 2, 2014


While creating optimal metadata for your brand’s YouTube content involves a lot of ins and outs, making the perfect thumbnails for your videos requires only a few, simple guidelines to getting it right. Follow these and you should end up with eye-catching images regardless of what context viewers see them in.

Make sure to have visual cues that relate to your brand.

If your brand logo is a certain color, say green, stick a bunch of green objects in your video. Any of those green-centric frames will serve as a way to attract viewers not only to an intriguing video, but also to one that looks like it came specifically from your brand.

Keep it compelling.

A thumbnail is no good if people are going to gloss over it for something brighter and shinier nearby. Use an image that people won’t be able to help themselves but gravitate to. The Brand Playbook picks out close-ups on faces as particularly good image to use, here. Faces have been psychologically proven to attract attention from other humans, after all (skim an introductory psych textbook if you don’t believe me). Also, high-contrast imagery that makes you want to stare always works. Just think about this before you pick your thumbnail: Would you want to click on this video?

High-resolution means a better image (duh).

This advice is so important that it outweighs how obvious it seems. The Brand Playbook specifically points to 640px x 360px min. with a 16:9 aspect ratio as the optimal presentation for your thumbnail. This will help the foreground of your image stand out from the background, which you’ll need to do to make people discern your thumbnail at a variety of sizes. After all, you never know what size internet users will see your thumbnail in, so you’ve got to make it catchy whether it’s tiny on the side of the screen or a number one search result.

It’s got to represent.

We went over this with the metadata, and this tip stands for thumbnails, as well. They have got to accurately represent your videos’ content. If they don’t, you’re honestly screwing everyone over, from viewers who expect one thing and get another, to your brand that is now known for false advertising. You must also remember that YouTube has a zero tolerance policy for, to put it delicately, inappropriate content. You know what this means, so don’t include anything too racy in your thumbnails.

Having completed thumbnail strategy 101, your brand is ready to move onto perfecting its YouTube videos’ annotations. There’s plenty to learn there, so stay tuned.

Tags: , , , , ,


MTV Labs Taps Rapper A$AP Rocky as Creative Director


FCC Cancels Vote on ‘Unlock the Box’ OTT Proposal


Collab Signs Horror Channel BlackBoxTV to Network, Partners on...

PewDiePie 3-2-15

PewDiePie Expands Revelmode Gaming Slate with DoubleMoose Deal

Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!

Storyful Launches Viral Video Marketplace


Pioneering Hip Hop Exec Lyor Cohen Joins YouTube as Global Head...


Legendary Digital Reveals Alpha Subscription Service Launch...


Time Inc. Teams with Digital Comedy Producers Jash for Branded Content

Amazon Logo

Amazon Greenlights Three Comedy Pilots as Series


How the Cartoon Network Combined the Best of VOD and Linear TV...


Jukin Media Goes Viral for Brands with Ethos Division Launch

Streamy Awards

Streamy Awards Trade In VH1 for YouTube, Again


Matching Ads to Videos Not So Simple, According to Zefr’s...


Plug Pulled on Canadian SVOD Service Shomi


What’s Trending on the Twitter Sale

Machinima Logo

Machinima Teams with SiriusXM for Daily Esports Radio Show


AwesomenessTV, Vice, Complex to Power New HearstLive...


VIDEO: ‘Dirty 30’ Confessions with Stars Hart,...


Facebook Says It’s Sorry It Vastly Overestimated Video...


Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian (‘The...


Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who...

Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

Why Verizon is Pursuing Vessel, the...


How Canvs Media is Harvesting Emotional Insights on YouTube,...


Marlon Wayans Getting ‘Naked’ for Netflix with Regina Hall


HuffPost RYOT Launching Virtual Reality Comedy Series and News...


YouTube Launches #voteIRL Campaign Targeting Digital-First Generation


How Top YouTubers (incl. Tyler Oakley & Meghan Rienks)...


Charlie Sheen to Star in Crackle Feature ‘Mad Families’


Gunpowder & Sky Buys Distributor FilmBuff As Vision for...


Toy Freaks Top Viewed YouTube Channel in August According to...


Emmy Wrap-Up 2016: Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’)...


Twitter Scores 2.1 Million Viewers for Thursday Night Footall Kickoff


Vloggers Not Unique Snowflakes: 90 Million Flag YouTube Videos...

Mode Media

‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down


Who Is Winning The Marketing Revolution And Why?


Netflix Orders ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Series...


What Is ‘Swedish Dicks’ and Who Is Selling It?


How GMC is Using the AOL Series ‘Seamlessly She’...


Liberty Global to Put Netflix on Set-Top Boxes in 30 Countries


Getting to the Spine of VR’s Monetization Challenges with...