I Reviewed 400 Thumbnails to Prove THIS (6 Keys to MAX Click-thru Rate)

Not satisfied with how your YouTube thumbnails are doing? After reviewing almost 400 real thumbnails, I made this video to show you 6 secrets to getting a higher click-thru rate (CTR) on your thumbnails, with REAL examples of thumbnails that work.

Check out my YouTube program Project 24! https://channelmakers.com/go
This is why I made the program (and what’s in it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz0mVGR3JJc

I use vidIQ on my channel: https://vidiq.com/channelmakers
This is why I use vidIQ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAQcnJGC2mU

0:00 Where The Data Came From
0:50 GOOD #1
2:10 GOOD #2
4:07 GOOD #3
5:32 BAD #1
7:30 BAD #2
8:44 BAD #3
9:45 Several Thumbnails That Are WORKING

What do you think of this video? Let me know: https://airtable.com/shre0hEysXMEeEz9g

#growonyoutube #youtubethumbnails

Legal Notice: Channel Makers is a product of Income School LLC. The “Channel Makers” name and O logo mark are trademarks of Income School LLC. Income School LLC is a limited liability company headquartered in Idaho, USA. Results mentioned not typical. No business is guaranteed to succeed, in fact, most new businesses will fail. It takes hard work, skill, and time for a new business to grow. The name “Project 24” is not a guarantee of success in 24 months, but refers to those who have a goal of creating an online business in 24 months. Some will succeed, others will not—just like any business.

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howdy howdy everyone nate here i ask you

for your very best and your very worst

thumbnails a few weeks ago and i got

almost 400 thumbnails in response from


because in this video i wanted to go

over exactly what makes a good thumbnail

versus a

bad thumbnail and in fact i’m going to

do something in this video i have never

done in any of my videos so let’s get

right into it all right before i get

into the good and the bad on these

can i just take a moment to appreciate

you guys so with all of these thumbnails

that i’m seeing here

it takes tons and tons of work to

produce thumbnails so thank you for

sharing those and also for being

vulnerable and sharing

some of the not so good thumbnails now

in order to demonstrate this

i’ve selected a few of these thumbnails

to demonstrate both sides of them and

just know

especially when i talk about the ones

that need improvement all of these i

share with your consent and as always

i’m gonna do my best to provide the best

constructive criticism i can on each of


the first principle of thumbnails that

are working really well

may be surprising to you and that is


familiar faces or objects within the

thumbnail and in fact this first one the

creator of the channel

submitted two thumbnails for the same

video the first thumbnail was

this if we look at this it did all right

but then in his note he said

i took this and i switched it for a new

thumbnail and it shot through the roof

this is the new thumbnail just added a

familiar object to a lot of people just

the simple act of adding money into the

thumbnail made this one much more

clickable because it was a familiar

object for people you may also recall

here a video i did a while back about

some channels that grew

weirdly fast and one of those channels

in every single thumbnail they

incorporated a familiar object

with an unfamiliar object or a familiar

object combined with an unfamiliar thing

and the combination of those two things

is eye-catching because it’s a familiar

object people’s eyes are drawn to it but

then also the unfamiliar thing

creates the curiosity in fact i wanted

to show you another one here this one


very well i’ll show you this one now

before you judge on this and in fact the


on this was like i purposely did this

very simple this thumbnail is set up

very similar to another thumbnail that

went mega viral

on youtube and it was the history of the

entire world i guess

so the creator of this channel decided

to copy the format of that thumbnail and

it did well

the next principle of excellent

thumbnails comes right here in this note

from the creator of these thumbnails

i’m just kidding i wanted to show you

the contrast between what they submitted

as their

worst thumbnail and their best thumbnail

because the concept i’m about to show

you here is that

you can stretch reality in your

thumbnails in such a way that it creates

intrigue let me show you so first of all

the less good thumbnail if i go here

i see this and i’m immediately wondering

well what what am i even looking at and

more on that here on the bad thumbnails

here for a moment

but contrast that with this

clear simple idea but stretching reality

are you actually going to take scissors

and cut off that bolt to make it look

like that no you’re not but it stretches

the reality

of the concept that is shown in the

video and in fact i could show you

hundreds upon hundreds of examples of

this same thing working

on youtube because when we look back at

this we’ve got a very clear idea we say


we’re not going to have broken off weird

shards it’s actually going to look like

a brand new

bolt here and then again the reality

stretching here is

scissors it’s a relatable object again

we’re going to familiar objects here but

the scissors we’re not

literally going to take just paper

scissors and cut this off that would be


but it does make the viewer myself

included say wait a minute

what are you going to use to cut that

and how in the world are you going to

make it look

like a brand new bolt and in fact when

we look at the data on this one the

lowest one we got a 0.7

click-through rate this highest one that

i just showed you a 4.3

click-through rate and it’d be a good

thing to note here that click-through

rate isn’t the end-all when it comes to

thumbnails a typical journey for

click-through rates on a video

is to start off higher as it reaches

your core audience the group of people

who watch a lot of your videos and then

taper off and then

as it gains popularity to settle at

around three percent or

in that range because your thumbnail at

that point is reaching

new audience that may not know you as

well and also that same thumbnail might

be shown to some of the same people who

already watched the video

the next principle of good thumbnails

i’m gonna see if you can get

just by my bringing up this thumbnail

here i’m going to bring it up and see

what you see

so right away what is the feeling you

get from this thumbnail we’ve got an

old-fashioned image here and then it’s

tour the bewitched home immediately we

got some mystery we got whoa

well what’s what’s inside this home is

it haunted what are you feeling as you

look at this image

now before i give you the answer which i

think you’re already catching on to here

i’m going to show you the other

thumbnail that this channel submitted

that got significantly less attention

here we go

aside from the difference this one being

a computer generated image and all that

what is the big difference here okay

i’ll say it

it’s mystery mystery and intrigue

across all of the thumbnails that i

looked in this dataset and

across youtube anytime a thumbnail was


that gave an interest or a promise of

something but you weren’t

quite sure but you were curious those

videos consistently

performed well so for your own videos

what you’re looking to do

is provide enough intrigue that they

want to know the answer they want to

know the final thing they want to know

how the story plays out because when you

do things like that it could be the

difference between in this case 3 700

views on a video versus

385 000 views on a video you want that


try this adding more mystery to your

thumbnail isn’t that awesome

so i gotta say it if this video is being

helpful to you i would love it if you

would boop the like button so it can

spread to more people

thank you genuinely thank you for

booping the like button i appreciate

that now

let’s get into the bad part of

thumbnails or especially the things to

avoid and now i know i forewarned you on

this but i feel bad if i don’t say this


i’m to take the filter off and no this

is constructive criticism i’m just going

to speak

very clearly about why these thumbnails

aren’t working all right let me show you

this first one and

talk about contrast six views on this

one versus

almost 350 000 views what is going on

with this thumbnail

okay what am i seeing one i am seeing

that looks just like a screenshot of

from the

video itself also the text doesn’t look

super professional

but the overall feeling when you look at

this what is the feeling you get

for me it feels like i’m checking in on

on somebody like vlogging about their

life and it doesn’t give me a compelling


to watch the whole video now i’m going

to give another example here to drive

home the point from a different angle


is again a contrast 109 views on this

one versus almost 65

000 views on the top performing one now

the top performing one

is this it’s about a tesla it’s

aesthetically pleasing it answers a


question the video is is this interior

type worth the extra thousand dollars

for this tesla

contrast that with this one

now hold on is this one aesthetic yes

it is but tying it back to the principle

here is there a clear reason to watch

this video

just from this thumbnail this one is

more of a video essay feel and in fact i

know that because i watched the video

where i click through onto the video

it literally says a video essay now what

does that tell me about this video it

doesn’t mean

that you shouldn’t try to do those

aesthetic black and white

thumbnails what it does tell me is that

this audience was not expecting that

type of content

and based on previous experiences with

the channel

they didn’t have any clear reason to

watch a video essay the next big issue

to avoid with your thumbnails is when

there is no

clear idea very similar to the no clear

reason to watch but if a thumbnail

doesn’t deliver any clear

singular idea that people can capture in

two seconds or less

you’re in for trouble let me show you an

example here this one

did significantly lower than the other

videos on the channel this 24 000 views

this one did

just under 250 views and let me show you


okay we’ve got a cool idea the versus

five minutes versus

60 minutes but the problem is what’s the

difference between what’s happening on

the left and what’s happening on the

right there’s no clear visual

difference going on here which means uh

why would i click on that i don’t see

any difference

i’m gonna move on now contrast that with

their top performing thumbnail let me

show you

this is about a video game obviously but

what’s the idea here

with this gun with this setup you can

get instant reloads in this game there’s

a single strong idea coming through

on this thumbnail and it’s executed

within the thumbnail this thumbnail

could be a strong idea but it’s not

executed so i think the idea here is a

solid one five minutes versus 60 minutes

you’re getting better right but to

improve the execution on this one

all i would need is a clear visual

difference between the 5 minutes and the

60 minutes i hope you’re catching on

here the next big mistake to avoid

in your thumbnails is putting too much

into the thumbnail if it feels cluttered

or if anything’s obscured on the


you’re docking your points your

thumbnail points because people have two

seconds or less to decide to click or

tap on your video

and if you confuse them if there’s too

much going on they can’t tell what’s


clearly within the thumbnail they’re

going to move on so to show that i

wanted to show the contrast between

two more thumbnails this is again from

the same channel this first one

over half a million views on it if you

look at the thumbnail

it’s clear every single glitch we’ve got

a clear idea the text is clearly

readable and it’s a aesthetic right

now contrast that with this one

a lot more this is partially the nature

of the game it’s more pixelated there’s

a lot more noise going on

but what’s happening is the text is

harder to read and this word is

literally being covered up right here so

when you’re looking at this look at your


thumbnails how noisy are they how many


are going on in it now because i got so

many thumbnails in response from you

guys i had to find a way to feature more

of you in this video so what i’m going

to do is take a minute to show

several more of your thumbnails and

don’t worry i only chose the good ones

okay hold up pause i had to make a note

on this one there was one single thing

that would way

up level the quality of this thumbnail

if we took away the two frames made it

into a single photograph

and then we took that photograph from a

unique angle top down from the side

whatever it is give it a nice unique

angle and then add a little bit of

filtering to the photograph and that

would uplevel this thumbnail

a lot more okay back to the music

okay i got a pause again here because

this one before you go on saying whoa

this looks way too cluttered

look at the other thumbnails in this

industry and i’ll tell you exactly why

this one is doing well

it’s performing well and it fits the

niche okay no more interruptions


wait wait pause i’m just kidding i just

really like this thumbnail

so now if it was cool to see more

examples of thumbnails then let me know

in the comments

and also i have to say here i am working

on the

ultimate guide at least i think it’s the

ultimate guide to youtube thumbnails i’m

going to publish it here on my channel

shortly and in that video i’m going to

show you the exact

steps that i take to increase

click-through rate across the board on

any type of video now as of recording i

have not produced that video yet but

when i do i’m gonna put it right here

for you to watch next and in the

meantime i’m gonna set this video right

here to be the one that

youtube thinks that you should watch

next alrighty and nate out




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