What makes a viewer click on a video? There are a lot of factors, but often it comes down to the thumbnail. An effective thumbnail both grabs a viewer’s attention and makes them want to watch your video.
In order to grab attention, your thumbnail needs to stand out. In order to convince viewers to click, your thumbnail has to clearly communicate that viewers will find what they were searching for if they choose your video instead of someone else’s. That means a thumbnail for a beauty video or a gaming video has to look something like the thumbnails for other beauty or gaming videos so that viewers know they’re on topic.
This filmora.io graphic outlines 5 of the most popular thumbnail layouts on YouTube and explains what kind of videos they should be used for. Once you know the basic layout you’re going to use - once you’ve got the ‘familiar’ part figured out - you can focus on how your thumbnail is going to stand out from the pack.
How can you stand out? Search for your video’s topic on YouTube and look at the thumbnails for the top videos. This is a good way to see which kind of thumbnail layout you should use, and it’ll also show you what kinds of thumbnails you need to stand out against. If all of the top results are using mostly darker colors, maybe you can stand out by using a bright border around yours?