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How To Get More Video Views By Increasing Thumbnail CTR

Until these days, we’ve only been able to measure the total amount of watch time. We were able to measure things like average view duration, audience retention, and of course accumulated watch time. The problem is, that’s not really how YouTube measures watch time. YouTube is measuring watch time on a per impression basis, meaning how often viewers are clicking on your videos
However, that’s all about to change, new features coming to YouTube in 2018, will allow everybody to get more views. YouTube is currently working on adding things like impressions, click through rate (this is basically just how often viewers are clicking on your thumbnails and your videos), as well as unique viewers to your videos. In this article, I will explain what changes are about to be made on YouTube and how you can take an advantage – or how to increase thumbnail CTR that will result in more video views for your channel content.

Optimize Your Thumbnails To Get More Video Views

Now, we know YouTube does in fact split test videos against one another in suggested videos, and probably also split testing videos against one another in browse, as well as search, and locations on YouTube. Now two of the metrics would be displayed next to each other – One being the click-through ratio as well as impressions, and the other being average view duration. And these really are the three most essential traffic sources on YouTube.
This is how it would play out on YouTube in real-time. For example, YouTube shares your video on the home page of 100 subscribers – your subscribers, as well as non-subscribers. Now, if the click-through ratio, again that’s how many people are actually clicking on your video, is lower than the average, that would negatively impact your watch time metrics, and your video would struggle to remain on the browser traffic source. And again, that’s the home page. And that’s element number one, the click-through ratio of your video.
Now, the second element as I mentioned, is average view duration.

This is how long, on average, a group of viewers watch your video. If your video has a very high average view duration that’s really going to help you, especially if your click through ratio is higher on your video. Let’s simplify this whole split testing thing to make it easy to understand. And to do so, we’ll focus on two videos – videos A and B in a split test scenario. Now, both videos have an average view duration of five minutes. And both videos are shown to 100 users on the YouTube homepage, the user’s homepage. Video A generates one click per those 100 impressions. And Video B generates three clicks per those 100 impressions. Thus, video A generates five minutes of expected watch time per one hundred impressions. Not that great. Video B generates 15 minutes of watch time per 100 impressions because the click-through rate is three times of that of video A. And thus, the winner of this split test is obviously video B because of the increased click-through ratio. Video A may get demoted on YouTube because the expected watch time per impression is lower, and video B would be promoted over video A on the browse, and possibly suggested in search and traffic locations on YouTube.
And this is why creating compelling thumbnails is absolutely critical,
and why I urge you to regularly test, and tweak varies thumbnail designs to drive and compel viewers to click, Which leads us to the second part of this article – How to increase thumbnail ctr and score more video views instantly.

When YouTube rolls out their new features, meaning click through ratio and impressions, we’ll be able to know beyond a shadow of a doubt which thumbnails are more compelling, and that is some powerful knowledge. And furthermore, it allows you to really test out your thumbnails to drive more clicks and get more views, and basically, increase thumbnail ctr.

more video views
more video views

Get More Video Views By Increasing Thumbnail CTR

Although we have no accurate answer on what it is that draws users to pick a particular thumbnail, you can try to leverage the power of science because we know the human mind is visually drawn to certain things over others. Statistically speaking, or scientifically speaking, the human eye is drawn to vibrant, rich, and saturated colors over those that are pale and, well, pale. And scientifically, that’s how you can get noticed on YouTube by leveraging the power of science to compel viewers to notice your thumbnail first and click.

Visual hack number one, leverage bright saturated colors. For example – the color red. Red is the most vibrant color of all. Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t use blue, but when you select a blue just make sure, again, it’s vibrant, it’s saturated and it’ll really draw viewers in and you’ll win the click. And by the way, this is stuff that YouTube has said helps with search traffic viewership and click through ratio. Yeah, click-through ratio. YouTube has said that thumbnails increase click-through ratio, especially the good ones that we’re going to make.

Visual hack number two, leverage the power of a face. Doing so will amplify your videos because human beings are drawn to faces. The most successful YouTubers time and time again incorporate their face in their thumbnail. Now, it’s not about being incredibly good looking. It’s about using what you got and doing the best you can.

Visual hack number three – diagonal lines over straight. Create an angular border, it really pops and grabs the eye of the viewer, which can help your thumbnail look so much more compelling and impressive.

Visual hack number four – think comprehension. Viewers don’t read thumbnails on YouTube, viewers comprehend, they understand what the thumbnail is about. Comprehend means just that, to understand. And that’s all you want viewers to do, you want them to understand the core element of what your video is about. So, as you’re creating your thumbnail Simply ask yourself what is the core message this video contains that I want viewers to comprehend. A good thumbnail shouldn’t have lots of words, 2-4 words are enough versus seven or eight. Less is more and that takes us to the next visual hack.

Visual hack number five – large dominant objects over smaller ones. The human eye is compelled and drawn to bigger objects in photos or images, and this is why you should always create the biggest words you can, and I do that by reducing the number of words in the thumbnails. It’s very effective and always works to win the click.

Visual hack number six – use contrasting colors. Colors are something that so many YouTubers mix up. Now, you can even create more contrast by incorporating what’s called a stroke around the lettering. You can add a small five-pixel black stroke, and the text stands out even more.

Visual hack number seven, leveraging the power of pleasing color combinations. Let’s take a classic example – Superman. The red and blue clash and don’t really match up, but notice all the other elements – especially when it comes to the lettering, the emblem, the giant S on his chest, the background is yellow. Yellow and red work much better than blue and red, and this is why the color combination with the Superman design works really well. In fact, if we go even deeper, you’ll see that the Superman belt is also yellow, this is to create a color balance. Bottom line, Superman without yellow, total dork.

Visual hack number eight, the eye is drawn to those items that are in focus. The focal object should be very sharp, and the rest of the thumbnail is blurred. Darker areas should be blurred as well because the human eye is drawn to brighter colors over darker colors.

Last but not least – creating repeated patterns in your thumbnail design, and the reason being is because the human eye is drawn to patterns and when you create a complete thumbnail design that you repeat over multiple thumbnails, and those show up together in suggested videos, or the search location on YouTube, they’re going to stand out. They’re gonna draw attention because of the patterns.
So, how can you create patterns? Well, incorporate and leverage the same colors again and again. Furthermore, the style of the thumbnails is a kind of costume pop art for your videos. You can also use the same font and add an element or a logo to your thumbnails.

To conclude, if you want to be a part of YouTubes search list and attract more video views, you should start by increasing your thumbnail ctr, and you have the full guide to do that. Increasing your thumbnail ctr will not only draw subscribers and non-subscribers to watch your videos, but it will engage them and help you increase your watch time, ctr, impressions and get more video views.

Mark Robinson

I'm a passionate video marketer with years of Youtube marketing experience. If you need help with your channel optimization, keyword analysis & research, channel optimization tips and tricks - feel free to leave me a message!