And it’s not just because the auto-generated video thumbnails suck!

We’ve all been there. You’ve spent ages crafting an incredible video for social media, and are finally at that sweet final stage of uploading it to social media and YouTube.

But hang on a minute – why has it chosen a horrendous freeze frame as your face for the thumbnail?!

Sometimes I really think they set the algorithms up purposely to find the moment you’re at your least attractive to use as the video thumbnail.

But you can avoid it by making your own… and here’s how (plus some other advantages!)


What is a video thumbnail?

But first, we’ve skipped a few steps. A video thumbnail is the image used on social media sites to represent your video when it’s not actually playing.

It’s most used when someone is looking at your video library, or maybe they’ve searched for a key phrase and are looking for a video to watch from those results.

So in that sense, it’s useful to think of a video thumbnail as your shop window. It’s your opportunity to grab people’s attention and get their eyes on your content.


What should my video thumbnail look like?

Usually some combination of text and images will do the trick. 

The text is often your video title – make sure it’s nice and big so that people can see it clearly while hunting amid hundred of other videos.

Images are then there to grab attention or represent your video. If you’re trying to do the former, there’s nothing wrong with going quirky and different. If you’re a business, it’s often better to just pick a photo or graphic which looks professional and is related to the content. 

You want to make sure that the thumbnail matches the branding of your business or channel. So that’s making sure the colours and fonts match your logo and website. This way, if someone is looking at your whole content library, or a video has been linked to your website, it all matches and looks really cohesive.

All VideoHQ videos come with a branded thumbnail, and the graphics within the videos themselves are also designed to match your brand.



How can I make a video thumbnail?

There’s two main options.

The first it to make it yourself on a website like Canva. Canva has lots of templates that you can modify, and also has ways to save your brand fonts, logos and colours so it’s really easy to design a video thumbnail which fits your business.

See my Youtube page to see what it looks like with thumbnails designed on Canva.

Secondly, if there’s been a really strong title page or frame within your video which you think works, then in your editing software select the option to ‘save current frame’. I recommend doing it this way rather than screenshooting, because on a Mac computer the file size of a screen shot is above the limit that YouTube accepts for a thumbnail.

For an example of a thumbnail made from the video title board, see this blog series I edited for Alison Bradford.


Want to find out more about other benefits of having VideoHQ produce content for your business? Get in touch for a free 30 minute consultation.