Ruby’s whirlwind SMMW 2023 trip is back with Part 2, diving into Pat Flynn’s thumbnail wisdom.
Whether you’re a YouTuber, a blogger, or a content creator of any kind, your thumbnail serves as the first impression for potential viewers. It’s the appetiser to your main course – your video, article, or piece of content. It should tell a story and must not be misleading so that people are more likely to click and stick through the whole video.
So ask yourself this: Does your thumbnail pass the vibe check?
There are three main requirements to be click-worthy. It needs to be:
- Visually interesting
- Inform through storytelling
- Bold and eye-catching
Pat Flynn‘s keynote on “Captivating an audience with long-form content” stood out as a game-changer. He emphasised three critical rules to achieve pitch-perfect thumbnails: simplicity, the rule of thirds, and recognising what’s at stake.
1. Do Not Over Design
In a world where simplicity reigns supreme, it is crucial not to overwhelm your audience with messy-looking thumbnails. Elaborate and cluttered layout can be visually noisy and can turn away your potential viewers from clicking in.
Remember, your goal is to capture attention at first glance, and simplicity often is the best option to achieve this treatment. A clean and straightforward not only saves your audience time but also makes sure that your message is clear and concise.
2. Follow the Rule of Thirds
Photographers and designers have long employed the rule of thirds to know the sweet spots of the layout.
The idea is to divide your design into three equally horizontal and vertical sections which creates a 3 x 3 grid – kind of like the opening title card for The Brady Bunch. By bringing the main subject to the centre, it stands out more than objects that are further away and will receive less attention.
For YouTube thumbnails, it’s recommended that the main subject fills up two-thirds of the frame. This approach will immediately grabs the audience’s attention at first glance and encourages them to click.
3. What’s at stake?
People generally have a low tolerance for long, exhaustive chatter. The key to is to add some entertainment to grab people’s attention in a distracted world.
Think of it as a sneak peek into the most exciting part of your content. Just as Pat Flynn highlighted in his keynote presentation, by shifting the most engaging part of his Pokémon Cards challenge video to the front, he saw a 54% increase in retention compared to the typical drop-off after 30 seconds. This example illustrates the importance of piquing viewers’ interest right from the thumbnail.
YouTube now offers creators easy access to “Typical Audience Retention” data, available in YouTube Studio under analytics. This data provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your content.
By analysing audience retention, you can draw significant conclusions:
- Engagement: You can gauge whether your video captures viewers’ interest. If you notice a sharp drop in retention after the first 30 seconds, it may suggest your title or thumbnail is misleading or that you’ve prematurely revealed the main point. To address this, maintain engagement throughout and save the key message for the end.
- Video Length: If your audience steadily declines before the post-roll, it’s a sign that your video might be too long. Consider splitting it into a two-part series to keep viewers engaged and coming back for more.
The competition for attention is fierce. To win clicks and watch times, you need strong captivating titles and visually stunning thumbnails. Consider this: AI tools doesn’t just serve as an aid but are essential partners for your creative journey. By embracing this AI advantage, you can capture new audiences and thrive in any platform.
We’re not done yet! Part 3 is coming up, and it’s all about cracking the code to stand out on LinkedIn.
Missed Part 1? Read it here.