Should you use text on your YouTube thumbnails or not? Which is better for attracting clicks and more views on YouTube? It depends on the kind of videos your making. Derral Eves shares why he uses text and when it’s best to not use text and just go with a very engaging, visual image for your YouTube thumbnail instead.

  • Check Out Derral’s Channel on YouTube
  • One of you guys called WhyKnot wrote in and asked this. How important is it to add text to a thumbnail? I’m actually rethinking a lot of this type of stuff on my own channel because I do use text, as you know. And you use text also on your thumbnails.

    I actually do.

    So what’s your advice? Text, no text? What do you think?

    What Type of Channel Do You Have?

    Well, it really depends on what type of channel that you actually have. We actually pay a lot of money to see what videos actually convert off of what thumbnails, and I’ve found that if people are looking to be entertained, you know what, you can get away with just doing more of a ha ha in a thumbnail, or in a shocked look, or something to grab– ha!

    That’s my thumbnail right there.

    But it’s basically something to really draw their eye in because really, you’re competing with all these other videos that are going on. However, we also found that how to videos or instructional videos, if you do have text in it, it actually gets people to pull them in if it’s graphically appeasing.

    So if it’s more like a storytelling type of channel, like maybe the vlogging or web series or something, probably go more less text?

    No Text on Thumbnails

    No text at all. I definitely would do no text at all if you actually have some great animation or the pictures are engaging.

    Right, yeah. OK, cool.

    If they’re not engaging, they’re boring, but text on there for sure;

    Derral has done a lot of research on this. How do you go about testing them if people wanted to know for their content how to best– if they should text or no text?

    Well, believe it or not, we actually do everything on Facebook. We actually run Facebook ads and see what text– so titles– work and what thumbnails actually work. And we’re able to see– we can do split testing and see which actually has a higher conversion, and then we kind of narrow it down. And honestly, I’ve seen on bigger campaigns where we did that, we would see 80% more click through rate, which would get a lot more views. And if you can work on your titling too at the same time, you’re going to actually find that people are actually going to share that video as well.

    OK, cool. I think like one of the things that I’ve been thinking through with my thumbnails is like the text kind of seemed to take over, and it kind of almost overpowers the rest of it, which can be fine in some cases. But I’m feeling like I find I tend to click on the thumbnails that are more visual then like I just reading the same thing I just read in the titles type of thing.


    So I’m thinking about kind of still using text but trying to make it a little bit more visual as well. When I do use text, I try to not use the same text in the thumbnail that I’m putting in the title. Like, I don’t want to insult people’s intelligence, be like I just read that, Tim. Thank you very much. So when you do use text, should you copy? Should you not copy what’s in the title?

    Yeah, it really depends–

    How do we complement?

    When to Use Text on Thumbnails

    It really depends on your strategy. Like for me, I might use common keywords that people would see visually. And then oh, look at the title.

    Just like pop out.

    Yeah. Yeah, it’d be able to do that. That works extremely well. But honestly, sometimes when they’re glancing through, they’re not even looking at your title, they’re looking at that thumbnail. And so whatever grabs your attention to have them click on that video, that’s the most important thing.

    Cool. And so there’s something else you should click on. It’s called a link in the description below.

    That goes to Derral Eves, and what will they find there?

    They’re going to find a lot of tutorials, a lot of things about YouTube, channel evaluations, Q&As, kind of like your channel.

    So if you guys like Video Creators, which you should and you do, right, so you should definitely check out Derral’s channel. You’ll learn a lot of really great YouTube stuff from him. I subscribed. I watch your stuff when it comes through, and so you guys definitely should, too.

    So check that out and then go past a little bit further and you’ll get to a comment section, and I would love to hear from you guys about how you use text on your thumbnails, do you, do you not, what kind of text works best, what kind of doesn’t. And what have you learned from your own experiences about using text on thumbnails? And if this is your first time here, I’d love to have you subscribe because–

    Time is really cool.

    Well, that’s true, I guess. That’s not where I was going with this. I love helping you guys as creators grow your YouTube Channels and your audiences because I really believe, and I know Derral does too, that a lot of you guys are doing awesome stuff on YouTube that are changing lives.