Get more video views with this free YouTube thumbnail template (available in Word, Google Docs and as a PDF). This template will guide you through the process of creating a custom thumbnail for any kind of YouTube video. Whether you’re just starting out or you already have an active channel, you can use this template to make better YouTube thumbnails.
YouTube Thumbnail Template
Why Use a YouTube Thumbnail Template?
CTR (click-through rate) is one of the most important factors to YouTube success.
A higher CTR means more video views. And it also gives YouTube a signal that people are interested in your video. Which can mean more recommendations, leading to even MORE traffic.
The video thumbnail has a HUGE impact on CTR. In fact, a bad thumbnail can ruin the performance of a great video. While a great thumbnail can make a so-so video much more popular.
The following template will help you create a great custom YouTube thumbnail. One that stands out and drives a high CTR.
Here’s what’s included in this YouTube video thumbnail template:
- The 3 major components of a high CTR YouTube thumbnail: What every video thumbnail should include.
- Tips and common pitfalls when designing a YouTube thumbnail: Including colors to use, how to write overlay text, and more.
- How to put together a great thumbnail image, step-by-step: What I’ve learned from growing Backlinko’s YouTube channel to over 400k subscribers.
How to Use This Template
- Download and fill out the free YouTube Thumbnail Template on this page.
- Create your video thumbnail. You can do this yourself with a tool like Canva or Photoshop. Or hire a designer on 99designs, Upwork or Fiverr.
- If you haven’t already done so, verify your YouTube account here: https://www.youtube.com/verify. It’s required in order to use custom thumbnails.
- Upload the thumbnail to YouTube (here’s how).
How to Increase Your YouTube Video Click-Through Rates
Video thumbnails are important because they have such a big impact on CTR. As I said, a higher CTR means more video views and shares. (Often, MUCH more.) But thumbnails aren’t the only way to increase CTR. Here are some other great ways.
- Use the YouTube Creator Studio to monitor your CTR. Look for “impressions click-through rate”. If you notice a video has a low click-through rate, upload a new thumbnail with a different design or text.
- Optimize your video title. Here are 3 tips: Add brackets or parentheses at the end. Include a specific number. And use a length of about 40-50 characters. For example, “How to Rank #1 in Google in 2020 (7 New Strategies)”.
- Make it emotional. Our Google CTR study found that using emotionally-charged words in titles can increase CTR in search results. In my experience, that’s just as true on YouTube. Similarly, Netflix found that including a person’s face with an emotional expression in the thumbnail leads to more clicks.
- Zig when others zag. When you’re first starting out, it’s great to follow best practices like these. But another powerful way to increase your CTR is to stand out. So don’t be afraid to try something different. For example, if competing videos use cluttered thumbnails with lots of text and graphics, you can try a minimalist design.
- Give your video description plenty of attention, too. This doesn’t have as big of an impact on CTR, but it makes a huge difference in how often your video will show up in search. Check out our free YouTube Description Template for help with yours.