Want To Grab Your Video Audience’s Attention? Try These Tactics

Video is of course the way of the future but there are all kinds of things that you can do to stand out in the crowd. Of course you can have an amazing description, but that is only one piece to the puzzle.

Some other tactics you can consider is having some amazing thumbnails. Of course you can stick with some of the basic tactics of thumbnails, but these particular strategies I’ll share with you will help you stand out amongst others. After all, there are millions of minutes of watch time uploaded every hour, you need your video to stand out.

Expressive Thumbnails

If you are familiar with thumbnail tactics, you might’ve heard to include your face in the thumbnail. Having a face or a person in the thumbnail would warrant more clicks compared to if you stuck with a landscape shot or something.

But why not take it a step further?

One way to attract a lot of attention is to be showing some kind of expression. A smile, or just a friendly position to invite someone in and watch your video.

But why stop there?

Many Youtubers have taken those expressions and have made them pop out a little more. Some include a border around themselves that contrast with the background. Others take a clip from the video and make themselves pop out with the background being faded.

Whenever you are filming, think about what emotion will have the biggest impact. Think about your title and pick the most appropriate emotion to reveal. Whatever the emotion is, make as dramatic as possible.


If you’ve been thinking of adding in an expression, you may feel compelled to add in more elements to a thumbnail. After all, a thumbnail is a way to describe your video as well. Viewers should know everything that’s going on right?

Well yes, but if you make a thumbnail too busy, people won’t understand what the video is about.

First, the images you use need to be simple, and easy to understand. Make a point of only including up to two subjects in the thumbnails.

Second, if you’re adding in text, be sure to keep it to a few words and ensure people can understand what it’s about.

While other companies may break those rules with their video thumbnails, what’s more important for you at the start is to grow your audience. You’ll have plenty of time to experiment with your thumbnails but it’s best to have a strategy to stick to at the beginning. This means having less noise and keeping it simple.

Keep It Focused

On top of keeping it simple and neat looking, you want to keep it focused. What I mean by this is to make sure that the pictures you use are focused and not blurry. Use decent or high-quality equipment and techniques to ensure your shots are in focus.

If you are using images from other sources, make sure they are high resolution.

Having this high resolution is key because if you embed this video in other places, the thumbnail won’t look stretched or weird if it’s posted on sites or blurry.

One other thing to keep in mind too is to ensure you are close enough to your subject. Be sure to zoom in on someone’s face if your goal is to show off a facial expression or show off finer details of a product you want to feature in the video.

Manage Brightness, Text, And Colour

Dark images are tough to see and will not get the attention of people’s eyes. It’s hard to make out so why bother figuring out what it is? For appropriate brightness make sure to use colours that capture people’s attention. Make sure they are bright, but also that they contrast.

An example of this is a bright picture of someone’s face and clothing against a darker background.

What’s also important to keep in mind is that even if your original shot is not taken with a bright or dark background you can still alter it. We have tools like Photoshop and other image altering tools that can alter an image’s look.

Another thing is text. As I said earlier you want to keep it limited and you still should, but there is nothing wrong with including the title of your video in there. Some people may gravitate to that rather than the title generated by Youtube. This can give people a quick look into what the video is about.

Of course, make sure the title isn’t too cluttered and that it enhances the thumbnail more.

Put A Lot Of Focus On The Subject

As a general rule, never use the thumbnails that are recommended by Youtube. They will never accurately represent what your video is about in most instances. Not only that but they don’t follow this advice of keeping the subject on point.

The idea about this is to put more focus on what your video is about.

Are you showing off a product? Have it take center stage of your video.

Are you teaching people something? Have a picture of you doing a gesture or showing how to do something. Make sure it looks clear to people what exactly you’re doing or trying to represent.

Try Branding Your Thumbnails

If you’ve been uploading videos on Youtube for a while, consider branding your videos. Youtube has their logo everywhere so why not include your own in your videos? Add an icon or image in one of the corners to tell people this is your video. This can also build trust amongst viewers once they understand what that image represents. If your videos have a sort of style or offer a lot of value that people like they will recognize that your videos are worth clicking through.

But you also don’t have to stop there.

One other thing you can consider is having a certain thumbnail format used for specific videos. If you’re making various types of videos you could differentiate them by using a certain style.

You can also use that style to distinguish between a series of videos. For example, whenever I do an interview with someone, the thumbnail is drastically different than when I’m sharing tips or tools with you. They’re two different series but have their own branding.

Ensure That Your Thumbnail And Title Is Related

A thumbnail is kind of like your description, it gives people an idea of what your video is all about. Even if your video starts off differently than what the main focus is, don’t make a point of showing that in the thumbnail. Ensure the thumbnail describes what your video is about.

Are you instructing people how to make a garden? Your thumbnail should show you working on a garden.

Are you tasting various foods? Have the foods you’re tasting lined up.

Make sure everything flows together and makes sense to whoever is looking at your video and considering watching.

No Click-Bait

While some people use an unrelated thumbnail accidentally, some people will do it on purpose. This is called click bait. It’s a tactic that misleads people in order to get more clicks. It’s essentially lying and presenting the thumbnail in a appealing way that’ll make people want to click through.

While you’ll get an initial surge from this tactic, it’s not really good in retaining an audience. Viewers will feel fooled and tricked and will get angry with you. Not only that but if it’s not what they were looking for they will click through and leave. This hurts your ranking with Youtube who will bump your video down.

One way to ensure that everything flows together and you don’t fall into using this tactic is to ask a question:

“What is my main focus for this video? What’s the purpose of this video?”

When you understand what your video is about you can prioritize making a thumbnail to best represent the video.

Try These Thumbnail Tactics

A good thumbnail is as good as a description for some people. Remember that people will click your video for a variety of reasons. Some will come due to the title, others the description, and others for the thumbnail.

Ensuring those three elements are put together with the best of your abilities will ensure that you will not only grow your audience, but also be able to retain them and build your brand. Remember that you don’t need millions of subscribers either to make it big on Youtube, even having as low as 20,000 subscribers can help your business thrive both on Youtube and in other areas.