Does Changing Thumbnails or Titles Get You More Views?

If you want more views on Youtube you might have wondered if changing your thumbnails can help. Also, what if you update your title would that help? Youtube is a tricky beast and I was curious about this for myself, so I did some digging and found some interesting stuff.

Changing a thumbnail or title can help a video get more views if you do it right!

Keep reading and I’ll share 5 ways to make a title more clickable, the one way that determines if you should change a title. 2 ways to make thumbnail more clickable, and 2 ways to determine if you should change your thumbnail.

Does Changing a Title Hurt Your Rankings?

Youtube is very tricky because not all the views come from searches. Some views can come from “related videos” or your channel home page.

If you’re interested in ALL the ways you can get found on Youtube you can check out a blog post HERE I made on the topic. Knowing how videos get found can only help you.

When you create a video Google looks at the video and tries to find the audience that would enjoy the video. Something called “metadata” is used to help. This “metadata” includes the title of the video, description, what you say in the video, and anything else that is used to help Google determine what the video is about.

If you change the title of the video to something that “doesn’t match” the other metadata on your video then this isn’t going to help because Google already made up its mind about your video.

If you change the title of your video into something that matches your “metadata” from something that is boring to something that is more clickable it can help your rankings.

This leads me to how to make a title MORE clickable.

What You Want in a Title?

A title is probably the most important part of a piece of content. Your title summarizes what the entire video is about and so Google puts a lot of weight on it.

A good title does 2 things.

  • Explain what the video is about.
  • Have some type of clickability to the title.

Explaining what the title is about is fairly self-explanatory. The second part is where it can get interesting and you can change to get more views.

Your secret weapon to getting more clickability is “curiosity.”

Here is an example…

Instead of a title that just says “Does Titles Matter?” You could have it say “Does Titles Matter? An Expert Weighs In!”

When you have a title that says an expert weighs in then you could call an expert or quote one.

You could also mention “3 Mistakes to Avoid.” This technique reminds me of the saying…

If it bleeds it leads

We as humans are programmed to avoid danger so danger gets our attention right?

The third idea is to ask a question. When you see a question you almost “have” to stop and answer it in your mind right? This gets attention and can help with it being clickable.

The fourth idea is to use STRONG words. Strong words could be…

  • Crushing
  • Explosive
  • Incredible
  • Magnificent
  • Shocking
  • Overwhelming
  • Mind-Blowing
  • Thrilling

The key is to use words that stand out, that you don’t see a lot. A wonderful book on marketing is “Differentiate or Die” by Jack Trout. Being different is good.

The last idea that I’m hesitant to share because it’s overused is numbers. Yea, using lists like “99 ways to get more clicks” just helps and larger numbers work better than small numbers.

What Makes a Thumbnail Clickable?

The truth is people “do judge a book by its cover.” According to Youtube, 90% of the Best performing Youtube videos have a custom thumbnail. A custom thumbnail is one you custom-made and not auto-generated.

If your thumbnail is fuzzy that is hard to see then viewers will probably think your WHOLE video is that way. If the video is low quality then viewers will probably think the whole video is that way.

The rule of thumb is a thumbnail should have high resolution. The more pixels the better. Youtube is a video platform.

Also, the thumbnail shows up in all kinds of devices (TVs, Phones, Computers), even if the thumbnail is on a tiny phone you want a thumbnail the viewer will understand.

Image by Claudia Dewald from Pixabay

Small text is hard to see on a phone. If you want to use text it’s probably better for it to be clear and big.

It’s easy to “overthink” making the PERFECT thumbnail. The 2 rules of making a great title also work for a thumbnail.

  • The thumbnail explains what the video is about.
  • Has some element of clickability to it.

Does Changing a Thumbnail Hurt Your Rankings?

Ok, I’ve been on Youtube for “a long” time. I had one channel with millions of views then my computer got stolen and I lost that channel.

I cried a river, built a bridge, and got over it.

My new channel has some thumbnails that I could change. Should I change old thumbnails to give the videos more life?

It depends.

This reminds me of a saying “sometimes it’s better to cut bait.” This means if a video has not gotten ANY views recently it’s probably better to take the video behind the barn and shoot it. Yea, it’s dead sadly.

If the video has gotten some views recently then you have something to work with.

If you think you have an improvement then sure give it a try. The video platform provider VEVO actually went through lots of its old videos and updated the thumbnails.

The trick is the videos WERE getting views and in 1 video the thumbnail was dark. All they did was brighten it up and the video saw an increase in clicks. You can view the whole article HERE.

Again, it’s easy to overthink thumbnails. “Most of the time” quality is attached to your own EGO, but this is worth thinking about.

Getting a second opinion on what thumbnail is better could also help.


Youtube has gotten a lot more competitive than when I was on the platform in the early 1900s. Ok, I’m joking it was probably 2005 or something.

Timeless copywriting skills still work on Youtube just like they work on blogging. If you want to get better at copywriting the only place I would recommend checking out is this guy HERE because he is one of the best.

One way to get MORE views on your Youtube videos is “the hook.” Yea, at the beginning of your video, mention why someone should continue to watch YOUR DAMN video.

The hook could be similar to the hook I used in this blog post. Keep watching and I’ll share 5 ways to make your title more clickable.

Then “of course” you have to deliver on the hook right? Another idea is to start with a story because a story draws people in right?

Lastly, this is just my thoughts but a video probably should have a call to action at the end. Maybe your call of action is to watch another of your videos. Maybe you want people to check out a blog post, this is one that I use a lot.

As the saying goes strike when the iron is hot.

It’s probably best to ask for likes or subscribers at the end of a video NOT at the beginning. How is someone going to like a video if they have never seen it? It’s like putting the cart before the horse right?

If you’re interested in Youtube then “Youtube Shorts” is a wonderful tool that can help grow a channel and earn you money, I wrote a post on it that you can view HERE.

I hope this blog post on changing thumbnails and titles to get more views was helpful to you. Bye for now.


Affiliate marketer for 10 years, domain investor for 2 years, a recent crypto guy, and part-time surfer. Hopefully, this blog can benefit you.

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