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4 Common Video Thumbnail Mistakes Video Marketers Make

With the high demand for online videos these days, many marketers tend to think that having made a video and putting it up online means that the work is done. Wrong.

Video thumbnails are just as important as the content of your video. Thumbnails can spell out the success or demise of your content because it gives viewers an indication of
what your video will be about and the quality they are yet to expect.

Here are some common mistakes online video marketers make when it comes to video thumbnail selection:

The Face Fail

Talking heads are now common place with brands seeking to generate an active online presence as it is an effective way to build a connection with your followers. When it comes to choosing a video thumbnail, there are some facial expressions that are undeniably less flattering than others. Always make sure to put your “best face” forward; choose a frame that features a friendly face rather than one that makes you look as if you’re about to break out a yawn.

B-O-R-I-N-G Thumbnails

With some videos, such as ones made up of a lot of screencasts and graphs, setting the stage for a boring experience is common place. While thumbnails should be able to convey a brief, accurate description of what your video will be about, make sure to still include some human touch for your viewers to connect with. A simple shot of the presenter smiling, face-to-camera, is always better than a dull whiteboard illustration.

Blurry Images

If your video is that of you walking around the city, driving in a car, or something similar, chances are that there’s lots of motion in your video and that your default thumbnail would include some motion blur. As it is said that a picture can paint a thousand words – a blurry or unpolished thumbnail can suggest a low video quality. While it may seem like a tricky task, do your best to select a good quality image frame.


As the saying goes, “The eyes are the window to the soul”. Often times, dictates that our subject should be positioned in the middle of a video frame; however when displaying a centered-play button on your thumbnail, it may sometimes cover your subject’s eyes. Make sure to maintain that instant human connection by positioning your subject’s face away from the play button.

Always be intentional with your video thumbnails, especially if your video will be featured on a prominent page on your website. Be intentional with every thumbnail; while choosing a frame from your current video is the most common practice, you can also go the extra mile by taking a photo specifically for thumbnail-use rather than just leave it to chance based on what’s available after all the editing has been finalised.