The more artists we encounter in the independent sphere, the more we realize that artistically, there’s little to no difference between you and the A-listers. The deal breaker lays in your marketing skills and maximizing the tools already available to you for increasing your brand awareness. With that being said, plenty of you miss the mark with your YouTube, Facebook, Instagram thumbnails. So we’ve put together 4 thumbnail rules for you to follow in order to make the little square work in your favor.
4. Make sure your thumbnail represents a moving frame!
Anyone who’s been using the internet for more than 6 months KNOWS what a static image is and what a frame from a moving video looks like. The fastest way to lose views is to upload your song’s cover artwork for the video. What ends up happening is people scroll past your video because they don’t want to see another static cover artwork and hear your audio file. We’ve been mind blown that there are artists who still do this in 2021.
3. Make sure the thumbnail fills up the screen!
Some of you artsy folks started shooting more often your videos in 4:3 aspect ratios or completely vertical 9:16. That’s okay but… consumers have gotten used to HD and 4K content and they subconsciously avoid looking at lower quality formats. So you can keep your throwback ratio but make sure your thumbnail doesn’t give it away. You do that by cropping it so that it fits the square format for IG or the 16:9 HD format for YouTube and Facebook. That way your video looks up to date and fits in with the rest of the videos out there thus won’t disrupt the HD flow for the user. Rest assured, even when they click on your video and realize the format is not the one you put in the thumbnail, they won’t care. Because now they’re already consuming and investing their attention into your music video.
2. Make sure your thumbnail does not include text!
Did you know that social media algorithms limit the visibility of posts that are focused on text? Instagram has shut down most of the meme pages having the world in an uproar just a year ago. You can read more about that HERE. The point is, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram want you to put out moving videos and not informative text. So avoid at all costs for your thumbnail to include text. It will get deprioritized and you’ll struggle to get the attention of even your few existing subs.
1. The thumbnail must be intriguing without being clickbait!
We all hate clickbait. And the more you clickbait your followers, the more your reputation will suffer. The first time your fans will be like “okay, I get it, he wants more views”. The 2nd time they’ll think “Uhm… I thought he did that already the last time”. The 3rd time they’ll be out the door, “He must be click baiting again. Next!” For you to choose the most effective thumbnail ask yourself the following question: “What would make me most curious in clicking my video if I never saw it before?” NOTE: The image MUST be from your music video. Not behind the scenes, not from a photoshoot of that same background, but directly from the visual you’re trying to sell. If you’re a hip hop artist and you got some nice vixens in your music video, put them in the thumbnail. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your views. If you can get people to click for the ass, they’ll have to bear with your face to get to it anyways. So use the most intriguing image available from your music video without click-baiting your fans.
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