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YouTube Thursdays - Thumbnails!

Industry Observer with Nature As Neighbors

YouTube Thursdays - The Importance of Thumbnails


What's a Video Thumbnail?


A video thumbnail is called a thumbnail because it's roughly the size of a human thumb nail.  Thumbnails represent a smaller compressed version of the video's original content and provide a link to it.


YouTube offers various thumbnail default options chosen at random from your video. However, using a custom thumbnail can help you better connect with your target audience. 


For the most part, we've used nature as neighbors scenes hoping to compel viewers to watch our videos. Though we're learning that video thumbnails with a real face have a greater impact in terms of authenticity. 


Here's a screen shot of our usual thumbnails.  We see some hits and misses. 


In observing the thumbnails above, most missed the mark with in terms of text to foreshadow the story, or topic of the video. You can read it below, but it's much more compelling to have a text tease on the thumbnail. 


We still maintain, for the most part, it's best to use real faces (not avatars) in the thumbnail when it's relevant. Otherwise, what's the point. If you're trying to build connections, you want authenticity.




Since so many people are using similar poses and expressions on their video thumbnails ( surprise, doubt, happiness, pointing, waving, etc, ) we think the herd mentality of this approach will soon tire. 


The bottom line for us is always authenticity. Be careful with the cutesy stuff unless it really is a big part of your true personality. 


Here is a thumbnail we recently created for a video that is still in editing mode. It will be interesting to see how it performs compared to similar videos. 



Remember, you are welcome to share your own YouTube Channel in the comments below. And, it's always good form to return the favor when someone visits your channel and subscribes, likes a video, and/or leaves a comment.  


Don't forget to join the YouTube Thursdays Group and Happy Thursday. 

Posted by

Debb Janes  Bernie Stea
Call or Text 360-608-4900

We help buyers and sellers in Camas, Washougal, Brush Prairie/Hockinson, Salmon Creek, Felida, and other Vancouver, Washington Areas. 

We bring our passion for nature and beautiful environments to Real Estate. Multigenerational and family estates, country land and homes, and small farmsteads are our speciality.

We agree with our clients, "The true luxury of rural living is having elbowroom for the soul.



Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Shannon Jones that is so good to hear. 

Oct 16, 2020 08:24 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Hey there, marti garaughty - thank you. Always appreciate the support from you. D

Oct 16, 2020 08:25 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Abby Stiller good for you. D

Oct 16, 2020 08:25 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker, Instructor Astute comment, as always. Yes, it can apply to all marketing. D

Oct 16, 2020 08:26 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Hi Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR I appreciate your thoughtful and gracious comment. D

Oct 16, 2020 08:27 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Exactly. Kathy Streib I'd rather just have a thumbnail with an interesting scene than see a caricature of someone. 

Oct 16, 2020 08:28 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Endre Barath, Jr. You are a busy man. I did recently enjoy looking at the gorgeous video you posted of land for sale. 

Oct 16, 2020 08:29 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573 as usual, valuable advice from you. I have been lax of late in terms of checking performance, etc. I need to get back in the game. D

Oct 16, 2020 08:30 AM
Steven Beam
RE/MAX Alliance - Parker Colorado Real Estate. - Parker, CO
Parker Colorado Real Estate

I really need to spend some time updating my youtube page. Thank you for the pointers. 

Oct 16, 2020 09:31 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Thanks again for all the great info Debb. Your blog is always so informative!

Oct 16, 2020 10:19 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD - Thumbnails? You've come a long, long, long way since you started using the videos for real estate. Kudos to you for the knowledge you acquired by not giving up. Continuous improvement is always possible when you stick with something you enjoy. 

My level is still in infancy. 

Oct 16, 2020 01:36 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD - Thumbnails can be very frustrating when they don't come out right.  I figured out that Instagram takes the thumbnail from about the 10-second mark.

Oct 16, 2020 05:42 PM
Robin Miller
Mexican Beach Bum, Broker-Rocky Point MEXICO - Lukeville, AZ
Enjoy life and rental income at the beach

Love the post, good reminder to use thumbnails. I also manage our local association's channel as well, at times the agent will send me their thumbnail if they don't like the "random" image Youtube shows. I love Youtube, wish I could spend more time on it. If anyone has feedback or comments, I'm always looking to improve: https://www.youtube.com/user/mexicanbeachbumtv/videos

Oct 17, 2020 12:00 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

I do use thumbnails but, not of photos of me - I'm just not as photogenic as you and Bernie! LOL

Seriously, I love what you're doing and thanks for the reminder to occasionally add a photo to the thumbnail.

Hope to see you on Tuesday!

Oct 17, 2020 02:57 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I usually just go with the thumbnail they pick, but sometimes will pick a random scene from the video.  I haven't yet tried adding a custom thumbnail, but maybe that's a good idea.

Oct 17, 2020 05:24 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

I was wondering if you can make a different thumbnail. All my market posts have just the first frame & there are no people. Huh, what to do? I will ponder it.

Oct 18, 2020 12:11 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Thank you for the tip about thumbnails. I have to do better with those.

Oct 19, 2020 05:37 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD You always give great tips - so glad Carol Williams  feature this as I missed it 

Oct 19, 2020 09:18 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Lyn Sims - yes, that is a custom thumbnail. Try CANVA - You can work with their templates - then you upload it to your video. D

Oct 22, 2020 08:15 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great information and thank you for sharing the link in your latest post!  Always enjoy learning something new.  You guys have always been an inspiration for me with video!

Jun 19, 2021 08:20 PM