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Tag Archives: YouTube

4 Quick and Easy Tips to Create Killer Thumbnail Images for YouTube

Youtube Thumbnail Tips
The other day, a friend of mine shared a YouTube video on Facebook. I don’t usually care much about what my friends like and share on Facebook. But for some reason I was captivated, and I clicked on it.

It was an illustrated picture of a blackhole, pretty with its orange outline and dark background. The caption on the thumbnail was “Mini Black Hole”.

The thumbnail got my attention and I eventually watch the whole video.

It turns out the caption wasn’t misleading. The video was very informative about a mini black hole.

I also learned that if there was a black hole the size of a penny suddenly appeared beside me, it would destroy Earth.

I subscribed to that channel right away, and later that night I binge-watched their video collection.

When you look at their video thumbnails (the channel name is Kurzgesagt), you can see why I decided to watch. Their thumbnails are clear and interesting to look at.
Kurzgesagt YouTube channel

Unlike the tempting thumbnails that only look for more views, these are the kind of thumbnail that actually get the audience to watch the entirety of the video.

Why Shouldn’t You Look Just for More Views?

The truth is I have bad experiences with tempting thumbnails. You’ll know what I mean shortly.

Did you watch it? Now you see what I meant by misleading thumbnails, don’t you?

It’s amazing how a single image can tempt you to click that play button, isn’t it?

FYI, Simple Pickup is an entertainment channel. The more views they get the more their ads revenue is.

It makes enough sense to me. They earn money per view, so that’s all they care about.

But if you’re making video content for your business, you shouldn’t mustn’t mislead your audience just to increase the views on your videos, or they’ll end up hating your company.

Remember, you are not publishing videos on YouTube for monetization, but for exposure.

You can get extra earnings from YouTube. Yes, I get that and it’s good for you. But that shouldn’t be your focus.

The main point of making videos as your content is to get more exposure and leads which hopefully will increase your potential sales and thus, revenue through your products/services, not YouTube ads.

But that will not happen if nobody watches your video. That’s why you should make a custom thumbnail for your video: to make a thumbnail as attractive as possible without misleading viewers with something else.

The main purpose of a video’s thumbnail is to make your audience interested, curious, and eager to watch the video behind it. It’s basically the cover of your video.

While it’s true that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, most people do judge a video by its thumbnail.

There are two ways you can select a thumbnail for your YouTube videos.

First, you can pick between the three frames YouTube chooses for you.


You can upload custom thumbnails engineered to reach more viewers.

The first step is rather easy: one click and it’s done. But I’ll be honest with you, YouTube auto-generated thumbnails suck. They can be blurry most of the time and your audience doesn’t like that.

The other option provides you with the ability to upload your own thumbnail for your video.

As a precaution, you’ll need to verify your account. It’s a far more promising option compared to the first one, though.

Let’s skip ahead and prance on to the part where we talk about how a YouTube thumbnail should be when you’re running a content campaign for your business.

1. Use High-Definition Image that Describes Your Video

While the rest of these suggestions are highly optional (perhaps you’ll use only one of them), this point is a MUST.

There’s nothing more annoying than seeing a blurry or pixelated image as a video thumbnail.

Not to mention the pretty-girl-wearing-a-two-piece-outfit-while-eating-bananas thumbnails that are clearly clickbait and have nothing to do with the rest of the video.

It’s mandatory that you choose a high-resolution image at least 1280 pixels x 720 pixels (or, even better, 1920 pixels x 1080 pixels) that SUIT THE MESSAGE OF THE VIDEO you’re about to publish.

Sorry for the caps lock. I just can’t stress that enough.

It doesn’t have to be a frame from your video. That’s the point and advantage of uploading your custom thumbnails.

According to Bailey Rosser, an audience development strategist, viewers will most likely ignore a blurry or distorted thumbnail: it doesn’t set high expectations for your video.

Remember that thumbnails appear all over YouTube and on various devices. So make sure your thumbnail is clear and understandable in different display sizes, namely smartphone display, tablet display and desktop display.

In addition to the image resolution, you should make or choose an image with high contrast and lots of visual depth. That way you’ll have your subject really pop in the thumbnail.

Take a look at this video’s thumbnail from TheBackyardScientist.

It’s the definition of a high-resolution thumbnail with good composition, and actually represents the rest of the video even though it’s not raw frame taken from the video.

2. Apply the Psychology of Color

If you want your viewers to have certain emotion(s) triggered, you should consider applying the psychology of color to your thumbnail.

KISSmetrics made an awesome infographic about color psychology in relation to marketing. It’s a perfect reference for business owners and marketers. Click the thumbnail below for the full-size infographic.
Color psychology

Applying color psychology works best with non-photographic thumbnails. That’s because it’s easier to add, remove or modify the color composition of your image.

How you apply the colors to induce certain emotions in your audience depends on the product or service that you offer.

For example, we made a video about the history of St. Valentine. We wanted to make the audience feel the love, purity and sweetness of the legend of love.

That’s why we chose red and beige as the basic colors for our thumbnail and added a big heart as the universal symbol of love.

3. Authority Figure and Faces

Having an authority figure posing for your YouTube video thumbnail gives your audience the impression that your video (and therefore your company) has a solid stance in that particular niche.

YouTube Creator Playbook also suggests that face pictures attract most of the viewers’ attention. In fact, we humans have psychologically evolved to look for eye contact and faces for figure recognition.

Therefore, a close-up picture of an authority figure looking straight at the camera tends to work best in attracting viewers’ attention.

If you’re active in content writing or content marketing, you might have bumped into this video:

Sujan is a well-known expert in growth marketing and entrepreneurship. He writes regularly for major websites such as Entrepreneur and Forbes.

This type of thumbnail is effective in catching the audience’s eyes. Sujan Patel is an expert with lots of audience who look up to him, making his presence in a video’s thumbnail persuasive to his audience.

The text written on it is also good to make the thumbnail easier to see in smaller displays.

4. Well-Sized Text

Generally, a video thumbnail should be able to speak for itself.

Even so, there are occasions when a brief sentence is needed to show what’s beyond the thumbnail of your video.

Sometimes those texts serve to clarify the content, to explain expressions, or simply to add impressions to entice viewers to click that play button, like this example.

There are subjects that can’t be covered simply by using images, like expressions. Take the example above of the subject of YouTube’s #1 subscribed channel owner, PewDiePie, reading mean comments about him.

If you do need to add text to your thumbnails, 1 to 6 words is enough. More than 6 words will take up too much space from your thumbnail.

The purpose is to expose the visual component as much as possible, but still effectively tell people what the video is all about using one image.

On that note, make sure that the text is readable in all display types (mobile or desktop) so your audience doesn’t have to squint their eyes.

Better yet, add your brand watermark into the thumbnail of your video. A case study by Wasp shows that a custom-branded thumbnail can pay off with more views.

In smaller sizes, recognizing a face from a thumbnail is almost an impossible task. That’s why text is needed.

In the example above, the “Lip Sync Battle” part is what counts. It’s hard to see what Ellen is posing for, especially when the thumbnail appears in small size.

It’s one among many cases where you should add text to your thumbnail.

Additionally, the TV show’s editor crew managed to squeeze the logo in there. It gives them more exposure and more recognition when their videos are displayed in YouTube’s suggestion bar.

YouTube channel suggestion


In a nutshell, here’s how you make a good YouTube thumbnail for your video content campaign:

1. Pick a high-definition image (1280×720 or more) that describes your video.
2. Compose the color of your thumbnail based on how you want your audience to feel.
3. Put face pictures of an authority figure(s) to attract the audience’s attention and trust.

So, what approach do you think you’re going to use for your YouTube videos? Let me know in the comments.

6 Great Examples of Legally Allowed and Forbidden Content for Online Video

Copyright Infringement
Lately, YouTube content creators have faced a bunch of issues: YouTube copyright strikes.

Basically, YouTube is taking down one or more of their videos (or even entire channels) due to reports of copyright infringement or violation of YouTube’s community guidelines.

Many YouTubers have uploaded videos in which they rant about how badly YouTube’s “law enforcement” efforts are made. Like GradeAunderA’s hilarious rant:

What’s sad is that the videos and channels struck down were not ALWAYS proven wrong, and the guilty and naughty ones (violating copyrights, containing violent or graphic content, etc.) are left untouched by the mighty YouTube.

Some of the channels and videos shut down by YouTube were successfully brought back, mostly due to channel owners’ complaints and fan support.

But still, they lost their ad revenue for a period of time, which for many channels could mean hundreds or thousands of dollars.

In this post, I’m going to talk about what you CAN and CAN’T put in your videos to avoid strikes on copyright infringement or other law violation, not only for YouTube but also for Internet publishing in general.

What is Allowed to Put in Your Video:

There are certain content you are allowed to use in your video without having to contact the copyright holder. Here are some of them:

1. Royalty-Free Music

You’re maybe wondering what the heck “Royalty-Free Music” is. One thing you need to know for sure is that “royalty-free music” is NOT free.

Royalty-Free Music means that you only have to pay once for the music, but you can use it once or 1,000 times without having to pay another cent.

You can easily find royalty-free music across multiple online music libraries. We recommend PremiumBeat, AudioJungle, and IBAudio. Freesound is also an awesome place if you need royalty-free sound effects.

Here’s an example of music you can get from AudioJungle.

Of course, you CAN use music and sounds that aren’t royalty free, but it’s more costly since you have to pay whenever you want to use the music.

2. Picture of Public Spaces and Private Properties

According to Photojojo, you are allowed to do any filming or photography in public places (includes: sidewalks, streets, parks, malls) to the extent to that you can take pictures of private properties (such as houses, buildings) as long as you are not trespassing.

If someone’s house is visible from the sidewalk where you shoot the video, it’s fair game; nobody can sue you for doing that.

If you’re looking for a solid example regarding this matter, this music video of Vanessa Carlton making her way downtown is excellent.

And no, she has never been sued for showing those private buildings in her video.

Speaking of trespassing, you should not expect a “No Trespassing” sign to be present all the time. And simply extending your camera lens over a fence could mean trespassing.

However, this does not happen often if you’re creating animated videos, like us, since we are obviously using materials that we rightfully create and own.

But you have to be more careful with your intellectual property like images, brand logo and style, which I’ll talk about in the next point.

3. Your Own Intellectual Property

If you’re dealing with a lot of animation videos like BreadnBeyond, I’m guessing you have your own team of creative illustrators.

This is one among many of our animated video, which was born purely out of our creativity and ideas.

But if you don’t have a team of illustrators, or you can’t do the drawing part yourself, NEVER ever use other people’s artwork without their permission.

Intellectual property is protected by the law, so if you want to use other people’s intellectual property, a letter of permit is mandatory or else they can sue you for that.

Copyrighted images aren’t always watermarked with © (“circle C”).

The truth is, one doesn’t have to file any special paperwork to be granted copyrights to their intellectual property, namely images.

Social Media Examiner wrote an awesome article about image copyright and how you can use it for your own projects.

Your own images are the safest bet for you to use in your videos.

Not only are you free of worries about someone claiming his or her right to particular frames in your video, you will have copyright of what you just created.

What’s Not Allowed to Put in Your Video Without Permission

There are things you can simply merge in with your video, but there are limitations to what you are legally allowed to do. These are off-limits from what you can merge in with your video without the owner’s permission:

4. Copyrighted Music and Sound Effects

Music and sound effects that are subject to copyright are commonly under legal protection from plagiarism and copyright infringement.

It is not restricted, per se, for you to use in your video, but if the music and/or sound effect is subject to copyright, you need to track down the copyright holder and settle what’s to be done if you want to use his or her intellectual property to avoid future unexpected lawsuits.

If you want more choices of music, you can go to community-run audio sharing website like SoundCloud.

Many artists in SoundCloud provide their contact information in their music description. It’s easier to set an agreement if you know who to reach in the first place right?

SoundCloud Song Owner

If you are very lucky, at best, nothing will happen even if you use someone else’s music or even earn money out of it. But you should expect at least first-degree burn if you play around with fire

According to Reelseo, these are the consequences of using other creator’s copyrighted audio:

a. On YouTube, your account may receive a strike.
b. Your audio may be muted.
c. Ads may be placed on your videos, with the benefits going to the original artist/publisher.
d. You could be sued by the owner of the work you are using.

5. Copyrighted Clips and Stills from Other Creators

The source of clips and images aren’t always clear on the Internet. But as our fellow at VideoUniversity put it: just because you can’t find the owner, doesn’t mean you can get away with it.

It’s best to assume that every image, artwork, clip and video you can find on the internet is subject to copyright. A case as simple as using a photograph as the basic material for a digital artwork could lead to a lawsuit.

Obama Campaign Poster

A famous street artist, Shephard Fairey, created the “Hope” poster during Obama’s first presidential run in 2008.

The poster rapidly spread and became the symbol of Obama’s campaign. Mannie Garcia, whose photograph was allegedly used by Fairey as the raw design, demanded compensation under the name of his agency.

Although they came to a private settlement, these hassles could have been avoided had the permission been in Fairey’s possession by the time his poster went viral.

6. Community Guidelines Restrictions

Community guidelines are not always related to copyright or trademark infringement.

However, video publishing websites have their own community guidelines that act as the border between what you can and cannot publish in those websites.

Generally, they prohibit the use of nudity, violent, hateful, and spammy content.

As stated in YouTube’s community guidelines, a first-time community guidelines violation is treated as a warning and the ban is temporary. This is the same for the second violation, until the third violation when your account is gone for good.

YouTube Community Rules

YouTube copyright strikes are automated and therefore, mistakes are inevitable. In many cases, even when you’re not violating any community guidelines of copyright laws, a warning or takedown may happen.

But with enough evidence of your innocence, you could get back what you lost from the strike. We too have got some warnings regarding copyright matters, but we’re more than 100% clear that we’re on the good side.

Meanwhile, according to Vimeo community guidelines, users are only allowed to upload their own creations. As for promotional content, users are required to use Vimeo Pro, a paid service from Vimeo for marketing campaigns.

Vimeo Guidelines


Skimmed through the article? Here, have something to take away:
1. Always try to track down beforehand who owns the content you want to use.
2. If you can find it, make an agreement. Otherwise, avoid using that intellectual property.
3. Follow the community guidelines for the website you’re publishing.

Copyright laws seem unclear, but we’re obligated to obey them anyway. I hope what I’ve written can help you understand what content is allowed in your video.

If you have stories to tell or questions to ask regarding copyright in videos, let me know in the comments!

9 Helpful Hints To Get More YouTube Subscribers

youtube subscribers

By 2017, 69% of all content viewed online will be video according to Cisco’s recent research.

YouTube will continue to be one of the top destinations for audiences to view video. Currently, the popular video sharing social media platform has one billion visitors each month and is the second largest search engine (based on queries submitted).

Among its other achievements YouTube can boast that:

– Three billion search queries are submitted every month.
– 50% of all Internet users are active on YouTube.
– 100 hours of video content is uploaded every minute.
– 6 billion hours of video are watched every month.

These facts alone make YouTube one of the most vital marketing platforms for your business.

But to be successful you need subscribers to your channel, so how do you attract YouTube users to subscribe?

1. Be Consistent And Constant

If you want to be successful on YouTube, your content strategy needs to be consistent and constant.

You can’t expect one video to grant you success overnight. Even the big brands have to deliver content over multiple videos. The more videos you produce, the more views you have for your brand. For instance, one of Volkswagen’s latest video campaigns utilized a story over three videos, which saw them achieve 155 million views.

2. Be Remarkable

With over 100 hours of video being uploaded every minute, you need a way for your content to be distinguishable from the crowd, and it has to be remarkable.
You need to deliver content that explains your best-kept secrets and most effective strategies. This is the information your competitors won’t be able to share.

3. Share Useful, Valuable Information

Customers want more bang for their hard earned bucks. Today they are looking for information they can use to improve their lifestyle or to fix problems.

Ensure your content follows this golden rule to earn their trust so that when they bumped into a problem that they can’t solve, they’ll come to you.

4. Ask For Subscribers

At the end of the video, simply thank the viewer, and ask them to subscribe. In order to make it more effective, do this in three parts:

Part One: Tell them what to do i.e. “subscribe to our channel”.

Part Two: Tell them how to do it: i.e. “by clicking on the button above”.

Part Three: Tell them why: i.e. “to stay informed of the best video marketing practices”.

5. Use Annotations

Annotations are the messages that often appear over a video as it is playing.

While some YouTube marketers seem to overuse these, a couple of well placed annotations help you grab the attention of your audience and convince some to take action.

There are a few ways you can do this; however, the best two options are:


The button – embedded in the video that enables your viewers to take action without leaving the video.


The speech bubble – that directs users to take an action, but they will likely have to do it off-screen.

6. Add A YouTube Widget To Your Site

Your website receives a lot of traffic.

However, 70% of that traffic will not return unless you have them subscribed to something. While most people advocate a mailing list, you can also offer them the chance to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

It might get a better result because it will be less obtrusive (no emails pinging into their inbox) and YouTube videos are generally less salesy.

7. Be A Featured Channel

Use the powerful marketing tool of ‘word of mouth’ and connect with other YouTube marketers. Ask them to place you on their ‘Featured Channels’ and you’ll gain momentum from their audience.

The more traffic you gain, the more subscribers you are likely to have signing up to your channel.

8. Interact With Your Community

You’ll see better results when you interact with the YouTube community. There are three ways that you can create meaningful interaction:

– Ask questions of your commentators, i.e. why did they like the video?
– Watch and comment on other videos.
– Encourage your viewers to reply with videos. This connects their audience to your profile as well.

9. Offer Something

Everybody likes to receive something, so give your viewers a reason to subscribe or promote you. Many YouTubers have successfully implemented competitions like:

– At 500 subscribers I will give away $100 in Amazon vouchers.
– When we have 500 subscribers our managing director will shave their head on YouTube.

This will intrigue audiences and they will want you to reach that target. This strategy is also known as gamification.


YouTube is going to be a major influencer for your online success in the future. The core aspect of marketing on YouTube is the number of subscribers you have. Therefore, you need to implement particular elements that will encourage users to subscribe to your channel today.

How many subscribers do you have? How many subscribers have you added this month?

Let us know in the comments below.

Take action:

– Set yourself a realistic subscriber goal.
– Add two annotations to your next video.
– Add a widget to your blog / website that connects to your YouTube channel.
– Create a reward for your subscribers when you reach your goal.
– Connect with other YouTubers to be listed on their Featured channels.
– Spend 15 minutes a day interacting with the YouTube community.


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How to Produce a Promotional Explainer Video – Explainer Video Production

Having a promotional explainer video is a great marketing tool for both small and large companies. A promotional explainer video helps your business to reach potential customers. A promotional explainer video also can be used as a powerful internet marketing tool that is able to your target audience directly for free. It can be easily delivered to your target audience by e-mail marketing, search engine optimization, and video sharing site like YouTube or Vimeo. Explainer video production is not expensive compared to television advertisement, it can be easily produced and it is a valuable tool to market your business.

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