James: James Schramko here, SuperFastBusiness.com, chatting with Kan from SocialWave.com.au. Good day, Kan.
Kan: Good day James, how are you?
James: Kan, you are my video man, expert, especially when it comes to YouTube. Lately, you’ve been getting great results. And I’m not surprised. It seems like a lot of people have fallen out of favor with the other popular social network, and YouTube’s probably picking up all surplus goodwill. Now, I want to ask about thumbnails. My team sent me some pictures. They modeled for me, they actually got someone to take pictures of them. And they said, James, can you please send through these pictures? And they made me do all these poses. And I said, What is this for? Surely, you don’t want me just to model for you? And they said, No, we want to use them for thumbnails for the YouTube videos, because they’d been learning about how the thumbnails are so important. So I want to ask you Kan, because you know about this stuff, how important are thumbnails and what tips have you got for us about using effective thumbnails for YouTube videos?
Kan: Thumbnails are probably one of I’d say the top three most important things when it comes to YouTube videos. And that’s because you need to hook people in to watch the video. So the best example I use is, think of your thumbnail as a really good email subject line. So just the same way that an email subject line is supposed to make you click and open the email to read the rest, the same thing with video. If you have a really great thumbnail, and you’re scrolling through a feed, and you’re looking at what to watch, and you see a really sharp one, that forces you to click that through and then go watch the rest of the video.
James: Right. So how do you learn what a good thumbnail is? I mean, when I was interested in knowing about it, I spoke to some expert once before, and she said to me, your thumbnails should be messy. I said, What do you mean? She goes, All your videos look exactly the same. It’s like I’m looking at a whole wall of boring sameness, no offense. Yeah, I’m not offended, like I’m here to learn. And she said, You gotta make them messy. So I went and looked at some of the top YouTubers and I noticed they’re really catchy. Is that one method, or is there another proven way to test thumbnails?
Kan: I think variety is sort of what it is. So rather than having looking like it’s cookie-cutter thumbnails, they do need to have some variety. So if you have three to four different styles that you can cycle through, maybe even more, just to be, you know, to keep things fresh. But what I find is, we’ve seen a lot of data across, you know, 40 to 50 YouTube channels that we’ve been helping to build. And one of the things that does really, really well is to have your face on the thumbnail versus a thumbnail that doesn’t actually have that. For some reason, that gets a lot more click-through as well, pulling different facial expressions like a shocked look, or inquisitive look, some sort of, I guess, you know, expression that reflects the topic that you’re talking about. And then the third thing that really features in thumbnail is also just the text that you use on the thumbnail.It needs to be large, it needs to be short and sharp and choppy. But it also needs to complement the topic of the video. So if the video says, you know, here are the five things to know about video marketing, don’t write, “Here are the five things to know about video marketing” in your thumbnail. It needs to be something different. It needs to be something like, “You will not believe…” or you know, not too clickbait-y, but something that complements basically…
James: “Do you make these marketing mistakes?”
Kan: I did, yes, exactly. So we made these exact problems. And we weren’t getting click-throughs. And we basically split-tested and we tried doing ones without facial expressions and one with, and then of course doing the thumbnail text the same as the topic of the video and then ones without that compliment, and we found that these ones performed best.
James: Well, now I’m going to ask my team to pick one of the ugliest, weirdest ones that they found from my selection and just put it right here. There you go. So now we know why my team asked me for these weird pictures. And that could be a great thumbnail for this, you know, are your pictures strange enough or something? Kan, do you review people’s YouTube channels and tell them how they might be able to improve it?
Kan: Yes, so we do initial consultations or strategy sessions. And definitely a lot of our clients ask us to audit their channel and we can give some feedback there.
James: Love it. Thank you Kan. Where can we find out about you?
Kan: You can head on over to SocialWave.com.au and you can actually book a strategy session directly there through our Calendly, otherwise you can actually fill in the contact form or just email me [email protected]
James: Thank you. And you serve international customers?
Kan: Yes, no restrictions, we’re all global.
James: Love it. Thanks, mate. See ya.
Kan: Thanks, James.
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