Call or Text Us Now! 845 244 4888

For a FREE and QUICK consultation (available 24/7)

4 Tips to Creating Killer Clickbait Thumbnails for YouTube

Originally published March 18, 2016  ·  Updated April 5, 2023
4 Tips to Creating Killer Clickbait Thumbnails for YouTube

You don’t have to be proficient at making YouTube videos to know that a good thumbnail can make or break your content.

Over time, people took this for granted and started making images that had nothing to do with their content. This is how clickbait (or linkbait) was invented.

What does clickbait mean on YouTube? The main purpose of such an image is to make YouTube visitors click on a post.

Although it is one of those things that will generate more video views and visits to a channel, people became irritated due to false advertising. Clickbait YouTube thumbnail works well even today. However, serious YouTubers stop using this strategy as it can hurt their channel in the long run.

Points to Consider Before You Make a Clickbait Thumbnail on Youtube:

  • Clickbait is not prohibited by YouTube

    According to YouTube’s site, there is no reason why you can’t create clickbait YouTube thumbnails for your videos. While the platform does not support them, it will not penalize your account if you add such thumbnails to your videos. Still, most users find them annoying.

  • YouTube and Google are connected

    Since Google has bought out YouTube, we can see many more YouTube videos in top positions in a Google search. So by creating a clickbait thumbnail users will see it on both  YouTube and Google (if you manage to rank high enough that is).

  • Clickbait is not a long-term solution

    Whether you’re using a misleading title or image, clickbait is an easy way to get people to watch your content. Unfortunately, even if they watch the whole video, they are less likely to subscribe to your channel. In fact, after a long period of time, clickbait may become annoying for loyal subscribers even if they tolerated them at first. It all depends on how far you take it.

  • People who come through clickbait are less social

    Again, this has to do with the fact that these images are annoying. People simply don’t wish to share, comment or link to stories and news that are based on clickbait. Furthermore, such content is much more likely to get a negative response and dislike on YouTube – something that can send a bad signal to search engines.

  • They are bad for building a brand

    Clickbait is often based on a lie. As such, it shouldn’t be used for creating first contact with potential clients. Even though you may persuade some people to subscribe to your channel and even drive traffic back to your blog, one day it will come back to haunt you.

  • Clickbait is best for short-term revenue

    Regardless of all their drawbacks, clickbait does one thing right – it brings views. Given that the total number of views affects your ad revenue, there will always be people who are willing to build their channel in such a manner.

How do I create clickbait?

Switching from using a regular thumbnail to clickbait is a pretty drastic change.

If you’re still interested, let’s check out some tips that will help you create them.

Keep in mind that some of these tricks work both for clickbait and regular thumbnails.

Here are the answers for you who asked “How to make clickbait thumbnails”, “How to make a clickbait thumbnail”, and “How to clickbait on YouTube”.

1. High-definition images are a necessity

Even though clickbait is meant to manipulate human emotions and make an audience curious, you still shouldn’t forget the basics.

Your YouTube thumbnails should be at least 1280 pixels x 720 pixels. Needless to say, a higher resolution will be better and will lead to a better conversion rate.

High-definition images are also important for clickbait as they make your message more visible. In other words, if you don’t manage to provide a good enough resolution, visitors will not take the bait as they won’t be able to see certain elements of the thumbnail.

Here is an example of clickbait in high-res:

Notice that in this case both the thumbnail and quality of the video are really high. Furthermore, the whole video is pretty high-quality in terms of content. As you can see from the example, even though a person uses clickbait in their thumbnail, the video is very useful: ensuring that visitors are not disappointed.

2. Good balance of Color and Brightness

The next thing on our list is achieving a balance between different elements.

The art style is very important for thumbnails. It is the rarely mentioned factor that has a subconscious impact on viewers. Even though this isn’t necessarily seen as part of a clickbait image, it is a good way of promoting a video regardless of thumbnail type:


A video creator can benefit from keeping color psychology in mind when choosing photos. Using the right colors will induce certain emotions in your audience, allowing you to create a positive impression of your video even before it’s clicked on.

3. Intriguing Text

The text is the most important part of clickbait:

A lot of YouTubers use it to successfully build and maintain a brand.

Text on your thumbnail should create drama and instigate curiosity. But at the same time, it is very important to try and uphold your promise; if you’re creating titles that are really misleading, it will backfire sooner rather than later.

Your title needs to be provocative enough so that people click on it but at the same time it shouldn’t present you in a bad light.

4. Using Emotions

Besides interesting text, emotions are another big reason why people click on a video.

By using emotional thumbnails you are creating a response and need for a person to watch your content. Viewers are simply not interested in things that don’t pique their curiosity or cause some sort of an uproar:

Whether we’re talking about positives or negatives, there has to be some underlying topic that will persuade a YouTube user to give your video a chance.

Are you looking for some extra ways to create an attention-grabbing Youtube thumbnail? In this case, you should check out a brand-new digital marketing bundle. Its package has many elements that will help you to achieve this purpose. 

As an example, it will provide you with 9 fonts and 20 illustrations that can easily draw more attention to your videos. By the way, all the files are sorted according to special topics. 

This means that you can easily find something that suits the key idea of your video.

The Future of YouTube Clickbait

Unfortunately, clickbait is becoming more and more common. Whether we’re talking about a scientific website or an entertaining YouTube channel, this seems to be a method that most content creators are using nowadays.

As you can see, clickbait doesn’t necessarily have to have negative implications if you use it correctly. Still, it can seem a bit unprofessional for developing a brand.

In the end, it all depends on whether or not you’re using them responsibly.

Bonus Tools

There are tools that you can definitely use to help you do this.

Thumbnail Grabber

Open your favorite search engine and type “Get Youtube Thumbnail”, this tool by far is the easiest tool you can use to grab thumbnails from videos.

How to use it? This tool allows you to download your video’s current thumbnail. After downloading, you can edit it, add text and then upload it again. You can also use it to collect and analyze other YouTube channels’ thumbnails.


Need a custom YouTube thumbnail? You got it.

How to use it? This tool helps to create a YouTube thumbnail quickly. It is very helpful if you’re in a hurry and you don’t have a mainstream photo editor installed (aka. Adobe Photoshop). Canva offers a quick and easy way to generate YouTube thumbnails, they even created filters just for this purpose.


After all, you need to learn more about YouTube optimization, especially YouTube clickbait thumbnails to reach more viewers on your YouTube videos. Let’s start by clicking the banner below!

Get a Free Consultation Today