Thumbnail – Preview Image With Great Power

Thumbnail – Preview Image With Great Power

The keyword for customer acquisition on the Internet is attention. Among many other things, getting these with visual impressions is a perfect idea. And that’s exactly what you can use the so-called thumbnail for.

You can find out exactly what this is and how you can use it for yourself in this article.

Thumbnail – what is that anyway?

The term thumbnail (“thumbnail”) stands for the miniature or preview image of a larger image. This term was chosen primarily because of the size of the graphic. Because the user only gets a first glimpse of the original in a small, compact size – about the size of a thumbnail. The original can be opened by clicking on the image. This can be a website, a larger graphic, a video, or something similar.

A good example of the use of thumbnails is the image search on Google. For example, if you enter the term “success” in the search bar, you will see a large number of small images. And if you click on one of these images, Google will show you a larger version of the graphic. It is the same with YouTube, for example. All of the small pictures for the videos are YouTube thumbnails.

And the use of the preview image can also be observed very well in social media; the optimization takes place through social media marketing. Take Facebook, for example. In the feed, you get almost exclusively small images, and when you click on them, the larger graphic is displayed.

Why you need a thumbnail

You notice: You can find thumbnails everywhere now. And this not only for image and video searches but also for search results and feeds in general. But why is that so? Why are images and graphics used more and more?

The background to this is quite simple. And for that, we have to dive briefly into the field of psychology. By nature, humans are very visually inclined. This means that he focuses more on an image or video than on Text or grasps the visual more quickly than the Text.

And this is exactly what is used in marketing by companies as well as in user-friendliness with search engines.

For you, this means that by using an image, you increase your likelihood of being found and clicked or, from a company perspective, the acquisition of customers on the Internet. So to attract more attention to position yourself in the market.

In addition, you get much faster loading times with the smaller graphics, as they have a much smaller file size than the larger version itself. And fast loading times are also rewarded by your users, as they rarely want to wait longer than 3 seconds for a website to load.

On the other hand, if you don’t use a thumbnail for your content, you automatically have disadvantages these days. Your content will be seen less, and therefore fewer people will come to you. So you will simply get lost in the mass of information. You will also be disadvantaged by the search engines. And that is exactly what must be avoided.

The importance of thumbnails for search engine optimization

The goal of search engines is to enable ever better usability and an ever greater user experience. Accordingly, the search results are more and more adapted to the users and made it more pleasant for them. This also includes the use of general human preferences, such as graphical representation rather than pure text results.

Let’s take a closer look at the current two largest search engines: Google and YouTube.

Google itself announced some time ago that the mobile version, in particular, will display significantly more graphics than before. Especially in the mobile version, especially for local search queries. The same is now also true for general search queries. If you enter the word “success,” for example, many articles with the respective image appear on the right side of the general web search on Google. The pure text results in between are unfortunately mostly scrolled over and overlooked.

This means that Google will reward you if you increase the user experience with visual impressions and short loading times, among other things. And the best way to do this is with thumbnails, which means that you rank higher or higher in search results. A good parallel example that most people should be familiar with is the use of hashtags, which also attract a lot of attention and cause potential click-baiting.


It’s even more important with YouTube. Because here, only miniature images are used to give a preview of the video behind. An important aspect: 300 hours of video material was uploaded to YouTube every minute in 2017!

With this mass of other videos, it is essential to get noticed and attract the users’ looks and clicks. Most of the time, appealing and meaningful videos are clicked. The best way to do this is to use custom thumbnails for your videos. And the better your preview image is designed, the more attention it will attract, generate clicks and appear more often on the homepage and higher up in search results.

This is how you create a thumbnail.

The good thing is: creating your own thumbnails is relatively easy.

In the beginning, you should decide which program you want to use to create your thumbnail.

There are three different variants:

  • from your content management system
  • online
  • offline

With the content management system, graphics in smaller and more compact variants are often already integrated automatically. So you don’t have to worry about anything else. You should use this, especially if you run websites, blogs, or the like. One example of this is the free WordPress program.

It looks different if you have your own videos or your own video channel on YouTube. Then you should create your own pictures, especially for your video; it is often used in so-called influencer marketing. You can use various programs for this, such as Photoshop, Gimp, or Photo editor.

If you want to create your thumbnail online, you can, for example, use the free website

In order to create your perfect thumbnail, here are a few things to watch out for:

  • the correct resolution (at least HD with 1280x720px or FullHD with 1920x1080px
  • 16: 9 format (because this is also how the videos are played
  • Use clear, large images
  • If you use Text, make it big enough and make it short, powerful
  • Design large areas (for example, a larger colored area next to the photo
  • Use high contrasts (light – dark – contrast, color contrasts)
  • Round off corners or set colored frames or place circles and arrows on the picture

further tips for practice

  • Think about recurring elements that you would like to use regularly. This can be a logo, a certain color combination, or something similar. This increases your recognition value and gives your channel visitors a good, uniform design and looks more professional.
  • When you have created your thumbnail, zoom out and check whether it is still clearly visible in the small format (test for mobile version)
  • Take a single, separate picture, and do not use a picture from your video.
  • Look at the thumbnails of the other videos in your category. What can you do differently?
  • Only use Text if you upload explanatory videos, vlogs, or similar Text is not required for other videos.

In order to create custom thumbnails on Youtube, you should make sure that your channel is verified and in perfect condition. Otherwise, you will, unfortunately, not get this option.

Bottom line – thumbnails are a great thing to grab attention.

Use the advantages of the small preview image for yourself and your content, and place yourself at the top of your market! Catch potential visitors and win new customers. Creating these isn’t difficult and doesn’t take long, but they have a huge, lasting impact on you.