The Thumbnail Phenomenon: Why it Matters More Than the Video Behind it

You’ve spent a significant amount of resources and time producing that new video. It’s great and you know it has a realistic potential to land additional business. If your viewer clicks on the link and spends just 10 seconds on it, they’ll be hooked. However, there is one crucial aspect of this video release that is just as, if not more, important than the whole video itself.

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It’s the thumbnail; the little square image that is the deciding factor of whether that potential client or contact will give your video, and your firm, a chance.

There is a whole science behind what compels someone to click and even if they do not click, a thumbnail with the right branding can still leave an impression. Netflix just released a great study on the effective characteristics of thumbnails. How many times have you been on Netflix and chosen a new movie or series to watch based on the thumbnail image?

Here is what we took away from their findings and how they can be applied to the science of an effective thumbnail.

  • Emotional expression – The use of visual emotional appeal gives a sense of depth and meaning to the greater content.
  • People – The use of a few individuals is beneficial but if there are more than three in the shot the effectiveness drops significantly. It’s an effective tool to use individuals whom are recognizable to your audience.
  • Branding – A clever thumbnail gives insight not only to the content of the video but also to what your firm stands for as a whole.
  • Think about the thumbnail while shooting – Actual images from your video can make a compelling thumbnail.
  • Supplementary images – They can be inspiring as long as they accurately represent your content.
  • Don’t be afraid to edit – You can add color and even supporting images such as another person that captures the essence of your message.
  • Track viewership and traffic – Check to see which thumbnails are the most beneficial; the kind that increase click-throughs.
  • Always ask the question – What makes viewers compelled to click?



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