How To Enhance Your Target Engagement Using Video Thumbnails

How can you iincrease engagement rates with your videos?

Videos are an important part of your digital marketing mix. One-third of all time spent online is spent watching videos, and the ability of videos to convert watchers is unprecedented.

A video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%, and audiences are 64% more likely to buy an item online after viewing a video.

Videos embedded within your emails can also increase click-throughs by up to 300%.

However, many small businesses (just under 80%), don’t utilise any video marketing. This can seriously affect their online success.

It Isn’t Just Shooting A Video

Once you’ve committed to video marketing, you need to find a place to host them. Unless you have a high-powered server, your own website is not a good option. They will just slow down your website too much. That is why a video sharing website, like YouTube or Vimeo, are better as these videos can be embedded into your website or email template.

YouTube is also great for helping you with your website’s page rank on search engines.

However, just uploading a video isn’t going to get you success. There are many elements to a successful video marketing campaign. First, each video needs to have a keyword orientated description written that needs to be about 300 words.

Then, all videos with speech should include closed captions.

Finally, you should consider a unique and custom thumbnail.

What Is A Video Thumbnail?

A video thumbnail is an image that represents the video to internet browsers or email subscribers. It is the first thing they will see, and most will make their decision about whether to watch a video or not based on the look of the thumbnail.

When uploading to YouTube, your videos will be scanned, and YouTube will give you the option of three video screenshots to represent your video. These can be then used to promote your video on the channel, and anywhere you embed your video.

However, generic or autogenerated thumbnails are always great for video promotion. In fact, YouTube states that 90% of their top performing videos and YouTubers use custom thumbnails.

There are several reasons for this:

  1. Autogenerated thumbnails can seem randomly selected and can sometimes look unprofessional.
  2. You can design custom thumbnails, so they have the best graphics, your branding and call-to-action to engage with users.
  3. It demonstrates you’ve taken the time to develop your content and therefore, it will be perceived as being higher quality.

How To Develop A Custom Thumbnail

Developing a custom thumbnail for your videos isn’t challenging. All you need is a camera and Canva, a free graphic design program online.

First, take an image that will represent your video. The best custom thumbnails contain these aspects:

  • Great colours.
  • A face.
  • Action shot.

Next, go to Canva and sign in. Then create a new custom image that is 1280 pixels by 720 pixels.

Upload your image and drag it into the editing area on the right-hand side.

Then add some text and branding.

Then you can download your video and upload it to YouTube or other video sharing website. The only issue you might have is that your image when downloaded from Canva can be greater than the 2MB limit YouTube sets for custom thumbnails. However, using another free tool, RIOT, you can reduce the file size down significantly to match their requirements.

Once uploaded, you have a custom thumbnail that will display everywhere you’ve embedded your video, including in email marketing communications.


Video marketing is important and can be a useful addition to email marketing campaigns. Emails with videos have better click-through rates and lead to a greater number of enquiries or direct sales.

The most successful videos are those which contain custom thumbnails, the image that represents the video when it is not playing. These can easily be produced, but there are key considerations for developing the best custom thumbnails.

If you match those requirements, your videos will be watched a lot more.

Do you use video marketing in your campaigns? Do you include videos in your email marketing campaigns?

Let us know in the comments below.

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