10 Ways Your YouTube Video Thumbnail Negatively Affects Your View Count


TechsPlace | Did you know your YouTube video thumbnails can affect your view count in so many ways? Well, breaking news; it does, and it does that in a big way.

With billions of videos and only 24 hours, users can only view so much a day. One of the key determinants of which video viewers eventually watch is the thumbnail. Reports say 10,113 YouTube videos have grossed over 1 billion views. No doubt, good YouTube thumbnails contribute.

On the other hand, a poor, bad or misleading video thumbnail hands down gets you a thumbs down and a “no, thanks”, not to mention high bounce rate and low audience retention ratings, which are all bad news for your YouTube view count.

Making small changes to your YouTube video thumbnail regimen can yield big results. In this post we’ll highlight ten (10) important ways your YouTube video thumbnails may be affecting your view count negatively, so you can start making those changes, but first

What is YouTube Video Thumbnail?

A YouTube video thumbnail is like the cover photo of a YouTube video, which is usually a still image or freeze-frame taken from a scene in the video inside.

The 7 images to the left of the screenshot above are video thumbnails showing the length of each video, (abridged) title, etc.

YouTube automatically pulls three scenes from your video, one of which you can select as your video thumbnail. Users can also create custom YouTube thumbnails using video editing software, among others.

YouTube Video Thumbnail

Properties of a Good YouTube Thumbnail

Here’s how a good YouTube thumbnail should be:

  • at least 640 pixels wide
  • preferably 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • at least 2MB
  • JPG
  • GIF
  • BMP
  • PNG

These will ensure your YouTube video thumbnails are optimized as much as possible.

10 YouTube Video Thumbnail Issues

  1. Thumbnail is the Wrong Size

If you fail to adhere to the Google recommended the size of 2MB, 1280 x 720 pixels, etc, your thumbnail may not display correctly.

This may result in very tiny fonts, distortions, blur, etc: all of which may make your video thumbnail less attractive or the characters illegible. Develop a YouTube thumbnail checklist and ensure all these parameters are checked off before posting your next YouTube video.

  1. Title and Thumbnail Image Divergent

The image you choose for your thumbnail is as important as the image of you it creates in the mind of viewers. If your title says “Happy Home Owners L.A” and your thumbnail image(s) show(s) sad, unhappy faces, you’d be sending conflicting messages.

Ensure your thumbnail image(s) and video titles are in agreement and speaking one language, the sort you want your viewers to hear, understand and act on.

  1. Thumbnail/Title Looks like Clickbait

Clickbait is a total waste of time and data for viewers. If one or more elements of your YouTube thumbnail including title and images resemble clickbait, viewers may skip your content.

You may even have very helpful, actionable content inside, but people will judge your book by its cover, very few may dive in to discover. Realize that viewers hate clickbait, then try to not make your thumbnails or title resemble clickbait in any way.

  1. Thumbnail Looks like One(s) They’ve Already Seen

If your YouTube thumbnails look like or resemble one(s) they’ve seen in the past, they may pass, especially if their past experiences haven’t been pleasant.

They’d judge your content by the cover that looks exactly like the one(s) they didn’t enjoy viewing. It’s worse if your titles are also alike or similar.

As a rule of thumb, you might want to Google best and worst YouTube videos in your niche, take a cue from them and try not to look like or emulate the worst of them.

  1. Thumbnail is Over-Sexualized

Sex sells, but the portrayal or use of it as a marketing tool isn’t always well bought. It might confer an unfair advantage plus portray you like a cheap, unethical business.

As much as possible play down sexuality in your marketing videos. Deep product knowledge and understanding of customer needs is far sexier.

Make sure your marketing videos are as clean as can be, starting from the thumbnail you choose to use, so as not to offend certain segments of your market.

  1. Thumbnail Is Culturally Offensive

People feel very strongly about their culture, whether food, clothing, language, lifestyle, etc. In trying to sell, try not to sell the wrong messages about other people’s cultures with your videos.

This can lead to negative reactions from people who feel offended by your content, which may lead to a total boycott of your brand. Think twice, even thrice, about your video content and thumbnails before hitting publish, to be sure it won’t offend.

  1. Thumbnail is Religiously Offensive

Religion is another very powerful force, in fact, one of the most powerful. Religious conflicts have been ongoing for centuries. Do not turn your YouTube marketing videos or thumbnails to a new battleground by being religiously insensitive.

Not only will offensive videos be avoided, but you could also be called out and banned from using YouTube if your thumbnail as much as hints of it.

  1. Thumbnail is Politically Offensive

A lot of things can tick people off. Politics is one of them. In America for instance, it has always been about the Liberals and the Democrats.

Contentious issues like culture, religion, and politics are best left where they belong: outside your YouTube marketing videos and thumbnails. When marketing your business, stick to the business of marketing. That’s the way of the professional.

  1. Thumbnail Lacks Call to Action

A good call to action can do many things for you or your brand, including getting you more views. Whether vocalized or written, a good call to action can go a long way.

Including a good call to action in your YouTube thumbnail can encourage passersby to stop over and click to see what’s inside. It could be as simple as “watch this” or “click to watch” or other variations of it.

  1. Thumbnail Lacks Professionalism

A poorly done thumbnail may be your undoing. If you’ve invested some time and effort into creating a good video, don’t bury it inside a poor thumbnail, sorry thumbnail.

Learn how to create effective YouTube thumbnails that will get you more clicks, views, conversions, and conversations. This includes using the right size, dimensions, images, titles, color codes, tools, etc.


Your YouTube thumbnails may have been your Achilles heel until now. Now that you know, take steps to fix these and take your YouTube game to the thrones, where it belongs.