One of the most important things that are often overlooked when you’re creating content for YouTube is having an engaging thumbnail. What this means is having a thumbnail that will draw in the attention of anyone who sees it enough so that they would also want to see your content. But, for all of those out there who don’t know the first thing about thumbnails and why they are so important, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone.
Many people just use their default thumbnails, which is a random point in the video, and don’t consider adding or improving it in any way. This is fine if the content of your video is already engaging enough that it does not need a custom thumbnail, but for most cases, at the very least, you should try to hit one of the major points, which are money, jewelry, designer clothes, females, and technology. That last one may not seem like a major point in a rappers video, but trust me, it’s just as important as the other listed points.
Money is one of the most looked at thumbnails on YouTube. Many people want it and will do damn near anything for it, so when they see you with it, they decide that they want to see what you’re talking about, what you’re doing, or how does it affect the video. Ask yourself this question, when you see a video on YouTube that shows you money and how to obtain it, do you not gain a little bit of an interest and want to see if the information is true or not? It’s the same thing for music videos. We get interested in seeing them make it rain when most of us can barely make it drizzle. Hell, I can barely water a cactus.
Like money, jewelry is one of those things that when you see it as a thumbnail, you will gain an interest in the people who have it. Jewelry is one of those monetary things that many people look at and think about the extravagance. In other words, they look at it and say “Wow, look how shiny.” So, when you’re trying to pick out the thumbnail, and you add a snapshot of some jewelry, you will automatically have people thinking about the expenses that you paid for the music video.
Think about it like this, when you have a lot of jewelry in a video, it’s a safe bet to assume that the video is either focused on jewelry or that whoever is in the video has spent a lot of money because of the amount of jewelry in the video, which would also mean that the video was probably well-crafted. For artists just starting out, to have people think that your video is well-crafted and that you’ve spared no expense for it can gain you a lot of fans fast, especially those who would like to be a part of your rise.
The simplest way to explain the appeal of designer clothes is this, what is the most well-known song from Lil pump (Gucci Gang). The reason this song was so popular is because of what it talked about, everybody loves Gucci, and most people want to have it. So, talking about it in the song and expressing how he wears a lot of it will easily gain him a lot of supporters who are like minded.
This could be anything, people that made songs about Jordan’s, Gucci, Prada, Red Bottom (Louboutin) Heels, and everything else that is popular in the designer’s world. Hell, I’d go as far as saying that if you were looking for a way to gain a large fanbase quickly with a single song you could start by mentioning some form of designer clothes that haven’t been mentioned yet. Think about it, if you saw a video thumbnail on YouTube where an artist was wearing a popular brand that you know of, wouldn’t you be interested to hear what they were saying about it? No matter if it was good or bad, it would still catch your interest. Let’s be real; you probably want them to say something bad (so you can defend it in the comments of course).
Okay, it’s not really a shock that this is on the list. Just like it’s not really a shock that many artists use attractive women in their videos all the time. It goes back to the old saying, “Sex Sells.” Those teenage hormones will easily make your video a hit on YouTube if they think that the women in your thumbnail are attractive. It’s not really a complicated formula. Hot women + Thumbnail = Success.
Now, this doesn’t mean that the women have to be half naked just to get the attention of the viewer. Think about it; if you saw a video thumbnail of a supermodel, you would be just as interested in clicking on it because she’s attractive. Sometimes it could be just a recognition thing. Like, “Oh, I know her. I’ve seen her on Instagram/Twitter. Let me check it out and see what she’s doing here.” It’s a new age. Social media stars don’t just make Club appearances no more, they also make appearances in people’s videos and on their social media accounts to gain more viewers.
Last but certainly not least, electronics are the hottest Buzz that you can get in a video. It’s not really complicated when you think about it. From where you’re sitting right now, look around you and see all of the technology that is lying around. Now, think about the newer versions of this technology and how you would like to have it. If you saw a video of somebody with the new iPhone, wouldn’t you want to know what they were talking about?
Technology doesn’t just stop there either. Think about the cars that people have in music videos. How many of those have new technology installed in them? That new Audi is decked out with motion sensors, television, keypad recognition, suicide doors, Etc. When you see something like this, it falls under the same category as jewelry; you start to believe that the artist wasted no expense on the video and start to think again that it is well-crafted.
Does This Apply to You?
Now, for any musician out there who’s wondering if any of this applies to them, here’s a little test for you. Go to YouTube and type in the word rapper. Now, look at the first couple of videos that show up. The thumbnails for these videos show you a popular rapper, jewelry, women, money, and a thumbnail with a lot of people in it. It would be easy to understand why the popular rapper shows up in this list, jewelry and money would be an obvious one when you think about the amount of time that these two topics are used in songs.
Can you think about your favorite artist and how they represent themselves in their videos? Are they wearing jewelry, are they flashing money, or are they posing with the newest technology (iPhone, Mac laptop, Surface Pro 6, Newest Cars, etc.)? To be honest, it can also be applied to the opposite sex in music videos. When you’re watching the new Cardi B or Nicki Minaj videos, aren’t they posing with the hottest male models, with the new Travis Scott or Migos videos, aren’t they posing with the hottest female models? These are some of the simplest forms of promotion that will get people to click on your videos, even if they don’t know much about the artist.
As for posing with a lot of people in a video for a thumbnail, the simplest question that you would have to ask is this. How many artists do you see on a daily basis talking about their crew and how they would ride for them? In most music videos, if it doesn’t have a specific theme in mind, it’s usually filled with the artist surrounded by their close friends, label mates, or crew members.
So, when you’re thinking about that thumbnail for your music video and how you want to reach a group of people, the best thing to do is think about which one of these aspects would best appeal to the people that you’re trying to reach. You can even try going back over a video that you’ve already created and change the thumbnail to one of these. Then sit back and watch the effect that it has on your views.