1. Curiosity

Curiosity refers to the use of elements or techniques that are designed to make viewers curious enough that they have to click and watch the video to close the open loop you’ve created in their mind. Sometimes you can do this by making your title and thumbnail play off one another which can create be a powerful combination. This can include a provocative or intriguing headline or image, a mysterious or puzzling visual element, or a hint of something surprising or unexpected that the viewer wants to learn more about.

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2. Face First

In a face-first thumbnail, your facial expression is the most important thing. The best way to connect with someone is through the yes. So make sure your face is up close and your eyes are nice and right.

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3. Before & After

A "Before & After" type of YouTube thumbnail is an image that showcases the transformation or progress of something over a period of time. This type of thumbnail typically consists of two images, one showing the "before" state of the subject and the other showing the "after" state. The images are often placed side by side, in the same location with a similar background, allowing the viewer to see the contrast and the changes that have taken place. This type of thumbnail is often used for videos that demonstrate a product or service that has improved or transformed a person, place, or thing. It can also be used for videos that showcase a personal or physical transformation, such as a weight loss journey or a home renovation project.

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4. Desire

Desire YouTube thumbnails are images that are designed to create a sense of longing or desire in the viewer, and to entice them to click on a video. These thumbnails typically include images or graphics that are associated with luxury, pleasure, self-development or satisfaction, such as pictures of desirable objects and results, attractive people, or beautiful landscapes. The goal of a desire thumbnail is to create a strong emotional response in the viewer and to make them want to watch the video in order to experience the feelings or sensations that are suggested by the thumbnail image.

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5. Comparison

Comparison YouTube thumbnails are images that are used for videos on YouTube that compare two or more things. These thumbnails typically include images of the things that are being compared, as well as any relevant graphics or text that help to illustrate the comparison. The use of comparison thumbnails is a way to grab the viewer's attention and to give them a clear idea of what the video will be about. Comparison thumbnails are often used for videos that compare products, services, or experiences, and can help viewers to make informed decisions about which option is best for them.

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6. Extreme

An extreme YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that features extreme or intense content. This type of thumbnail typically includes images or graphics that are designed to indicate that the video will be thrilling, exciting, or extreme in some way. The use of extreme thumbnails is a way to grab the viewer's attention and to make them want to watch the video to experience the excitement or intensity of the content. Extreme thumbnails are often used for videos that feature stunts, sports, or other activities that are dangerous or extreme in nature, and can help to build anticipation and interest among viewers who are looking for a thrill.

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7. FOMO

FOMO, or "fear of missing out," is a feeling of anxiety or regret that can occur when someone believes that they are missing out on something interesting, exciting, or valuable. A FOMO YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that is designed to tap into this feeling and to create a sense of urgency or desire in the viewer. These thumbnails typically include images or graphics that suggest that the viewer will miss out on something important or desirable if they do not watch the video.

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8. Headers

Headers in a YouTube thumbnail can provide important information about the video, such as a teaser, an answer to a question or a brief description of the content. This information can help to grab the viewer's attention, add context and give them a sense of what they can expect from the video. Ryan Trahan did a great job of this with his ‘I Survived The Worlds Loudest Room’ video where the thumbnail built off the title and showed him in pain with the header ‘41 minutes in’. This video is begging to be clicked on as you want to see Ryan’s journey from 0 to 41 minutes and how he survived it.

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9. High / Low Saturation

A high/low saturation thumbnail is an image that has a high concentration of colour, which makes the colours appear vibrant and rich. This type of thumbnail is often used to create a striking visual effect and to grab the viewer's attention. A current trend on YouTube is to use the colour orange, sometimes red for clothing with a light or dark background. The orange colour stands out and screams ‘look at me’ which is what you need to do to get clicks on the homepage when you’re competing with dozens of other videos.

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10. Jeopardy

A jeopardy YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that deals with a situation or issue that involves risk, uncertainty, or danger. Typically, this conversion prompt pairs well with the extreme and shock & awe tags for grabbing attention.

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11. Large Numbers

Large numbers can be used in a variety of different ways in a thumbnail, largely depending on the niche. Finance and Real Estate YouTubers will use large dollar amounts to grab attention and quickly communicate how expensive something is or how much money they’ve made. Other YouTubers may use numbers to showcase weight, quantity, age, views and dates to communicate very quickly to the potential viewer.

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12. Mistake

A mistake YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that deals with a mistake, error, or misunderstanding. These thumbnails typically include images or graphics that suggest a mistake has been made, such as pictures of people making surprised or embarrassed expressions, or images of objects or scenes that are out of place or incorrect in some way. Mistake thumbnails are often used for videos that offer advice or guidance on how to avoid or correct mistakes, or that explore the consequences or lessons of making a mistake.

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13. Pain Point

A "pain point" YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that addresses a problem or issue that is causing discomfort, frustration, or inconvenience for the viewer. The use of pain point thumbnails is a way to grab the viewer's attention and to indicate that the video will offer solutions or relief for the problem or issue that is causing pain. Pain point thumbnails are often used for videos that offer advice, guidance, or products or services that can help to alleviate the pain point and improve the viewer's experience.

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14. Question

A question YouTube thumbnail often includes a header that poses a question that will be answered in the video. This type of thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that poses a question or mystery to the viewer. These thumbnails typically pair well with arrows and curiosity conversion prompts and usually include elements that suggest a question or uncertainty.

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15. Quotes

A "quotes" thumbnail is an image that includes one or more quotations or excerpts from the video. The use of quotes in a thumbnail is a way to grab the viewer's attention and to give them a preview of the content and tone of the video. You’ll find that the best quote thumbnails are paired with questions, beginner, shock and awe, and curiosity conversion prompt tags.

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16. Shock & Awe

A "shock and awe" YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that is designed to surprise, shock, or impress the viewer. These thumbnails typically include images or graphics that are attention-grabbing and dramatic, such as pictures of dramatic events, extreme sports, or other exciting or intense situations, usually caught in the moment. The use of shock and awe thumbnails is a way to grab the viewer's attention and to make them want to watch the video by combining it with the curiosity tag.

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17. Single Photo

Single photo thumbnails do exactly what it says on the tin. They are an image that is made up of a single high-quality photograph that is related to the video's content in some way. The most powerful of this thumbnail style are the videos which have a strong title. Single photo thumbnails are also often used for videos that have a clear, concise, and straightforward message, as the simplicity of the thumbnail can help to reinforce the video's message.

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18. Social Hacking

A social hacking YouTube thumbnail often includes an image of a celebrity or well-known person, a brand, or anything else that’s remotely popular like a TV Show, Movie, Product or Service in order to grab the viewer's attention and to entice them to click on the video. This is often done in the hope that the viewer will recognise the famous person and will be curious to find out more about them and what they are doing in the video.

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19. Stop

A "stop" YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that deals with a topic or issue that is important to stop or prevent. They typically will include an X symbol on one side and a checkmark on the other to indicate the correct way of doing things. Stop thumbnails are often used for videos that offer advice or guidance on how to stop or prevent a particular problem or issue and pair well with comparison and before & after conversion prompts.

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20. Timelapse

A timelapse YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that shows how something evolved over a long period of time. These thumbnails typically include text or photos that suggest the passage of time, such dates, numbers of days or age. Timelapse thumbnails are often used for videos that show creation of a product, the construction of a building, or other slow processes that are made more interesting and dynamic. Pairs well with comparison, transformation and before & after conversion prompts.

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21. Warning

These thumbnails typically include text, icons or images that suggest caution or danger and what not to do. They usually will include warning signs or symbols. Warning thumbnails are often used for videos that offer advice or guidance on how to avoid or protect oneself from a particular problem or issue, or that raise awareness about the potential dangers or consequences of something. The clickability is high for warning thumbnails as it can create panic in a viewer that wants to prevent danger and learn how they can prevent such things happening to them.

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22. Transformation

A transformation YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that shows a transformation or change of some kind. These thumbnails typically include objects or people that are in the process of changing or becoming something else, or images of objects or scenes that have been completely transformed in some way.

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23. Weird Objects

A "weird objects" YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that features or discusses unusual, strange, or unexpected objects. The more strange or out of the ordinary they are in shape, color, or design, the better.

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24. Branded

Branded YouTube thumbnails are images that are used for videos on YouTube that are produced by a specific channel group, brand or company. These thumbnails typically include the logo or branding of the company, as well as other elements that are associated with the brand, such as colors, fonts, and imagery. The use of branded thumbnails is a way for companies to promote their brand and to help viewers easily identify their videos among the vast number of videos on YouTube. Branded thumbnails can also help to build trust and recognition with viewers, as they provide a clear indication of the source of the video and the content that can be expected.

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25. Icons

The use of recognizable icons and apps in the thumnail can create a sense of familiarity as they may want to see how they can use these tools in their own lives. If there are icons that a viewer doesn't recognise they may be compelled to click and find out what they may be missing out on. The app Notion was very popular on YouTube in 2019 due to creators using the app's icon in their thumbnails.

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26. Anti-Clickbait

An anti-clickbait typically will answer a question that is posed in the title. Rather than relying upon curiosity where YouTubers will create intrigue to entice you to click and satisfy your curiosity, anti-clickbait gives you everything upfront. This type of thumbnail is meant to avoid the use of "clickbait" tactics, which are designed to grab the viewer's attention and lure them into watching the video. This type is generally considered to be more honest and transparent, which can help to build trust with viewers and improve the overall viewing experience. For instance, the title “What is the slowest music humanly possible?” works well with the thumbnail that says 'it's about 33 bpm’.

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27. Repetition

When the same visual element is repeated multiple times, it creates a pattern that the viewer's eye can easily follow, which can make the thumbnail more bizarre and appealing.

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28. Top Down

A simple type of thumbnail that is used for creators that work with objects and other smaller items that can fit on a desk. Top-down angles work well when paired with text, repetition, colorful, and before & after conversion prompts.

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29. Circles

Circles provide a simple way to tell your viewer where to look. It's important to highlight an element of your thumbnail that is going to contribute to the viewer wanting to click.

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30. "Me"

One type of YouTube thumbnail that is designed to catch the viewer's eye and generate clicks is the "Me" thumbnail. This type of thumbnail typically features the word "Me" in big, bold letters and uses a large red arrow that points to the YouTuber. The goal of this type of thumbnail is to make the video stand out and draw the viewer's attention, and it is often used for videos that show the YouTuber doing something extreme, the scale of an object or in a unique location. By highlighting the YouTuber and using a bold and distinctive design, the "Me" thumbnail is able to grab the viewer's attention and make them more likely to click on the video and watch it.

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31. Mistakes

A YouTube thumbnail that shows a mistake and the solution is powerful for getting clicks because it appeals to the viewer's desire for knowledge and problem-solving. The clear visual representation of the mistake and solution using the green tick and red cross immediately communicates to the viewer the content of the video and provides value.

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32. Arrows

The use of arrows in a YouTube thumbnail can serve a number of different purposes, depending on the context and the specific design of the thumbnail image. In general, however, arrows can be used to direct the viewer's attention to a specific part of the thumbnail image, or to highlight a particular element within the image. For example, an arrow might be used to point to the face of the person featured in the video, or to indicate the title of the video. Additionally, arrows can be used to create a sense of movement or action within the thumbnail image, which can help to grab the viewer's attention and entice them to click on the video.

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33. Beginners

A "Beginners" YouTube thumbnail is an image that is used for a video that is intended for people who are new to a particular topic or activity. This type of thumbnail may include images or graphics that are designed to indicate that the video is suitable for people who are just starting out, or who may be unfamiliar with the subject matter. The use of the word "Beginners" in the thumbnail may be explicit, or it may be implied through the use of visual cues and imagery. For example, the thumbnail might feature a person with a confused or curious expression, or it might include images of basic tools or equipment that are commonly used by beginners in the subject area.

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