How To Grow Your YouTube Thumbnail Click-Through Rate To Beat Distractions

How To Grow Your YouTube Thumbnail Click-Through Rate To Beat Distractions

Last updated on July 12th, 2020 at 07:42 pm

This post may contain affiliate links.


Your YouTube thumbnail click-through rate is one of the most important things you need to improve on your YouTube channel, because you’re competing with many distractions on the platform.


If you don’t get that first click, your video will never get views. So it’s key for your thumbnails to stand out.


  1. Just a small percentage improvement can get you significantly more views. It’s easy to think that if you improved from 2% click through rate to 4% click through rate, you’d be improving by 2%. But actually you’re improving by 100%, because you’re doubling the number of clicks, and thus doubling the number of views.
  2. You can find your thumbnail’s click-through rate in new YouTube Studio Beta.


Here’s how you can make your thumbnails stand out and get a better click through rate.

  1. Show Faces. Our brains are built to identify friendly faces and quickly gauge mood, safety, intent and value. Faces get our attention.
  2. Use bright colors. Bright colors, like yellow, get attention over dull colors.
  3. Use the “X Factor.” Something unusual that catches the eye or doesn’t make sense, like an incongruent yellow scooter, can help you get clicks.
  4. Use high contrast. Do this in Photoshop.
  5. Use pattern interrupt. Stripes or patterns that are not like everything else will catch your attention.
  6. Use stand-alone photos or screenshots from the video. The photos should be very relevant to what’s in the video.
  7. Smiling helps. Smiles seen to get more clicks than serious faces.
  8. Show high emotion. Whether the faces show the video’s host as happy, sad, surprised, afraid, angry, shocked, or other high emotion, these get more clicks. But if you’re a business, the happy emotion is always a good emotion to rely on most of the time.
  9. Don’t use profile photos – instead get mid-talk screenshots. Profile photos are boring and don’t get many clicks. Ideally you want an action shot where the host is in the middle of saying something interesting. The viewer will want to click to find out what was said.
  10. Show whites of eyes and whites of teeth. Our brains key on these.
  11. Use Text. Just have 2-3 words on the thumbnail that complement the title, but don’t repeat it. Make the text large and make it stand out, because 99% of these views will be very, very small.


In your thumbnail, choose an honest-yet-enticing representative image from the video. For instance, if you put an image of a woman in a bikini in your thumbnail, but your video isn’t about women in bikinis, then your video will get a low audience retention, which will make it quickly rank lower, and the YouTube algorithm will hide it from the viewers who you want to see the video.


Brighton West can be found at He helps life coaches, executive coaches, speakers and authors use YouTube better. He’s also has a unique and successful process for making video testimonials that will help you sell your services.


How To Get Clickable YouTube Thumbnails