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How Important are Thumbnails, Description, and Tags on YouTube Videos?

Sarika from InVideo
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Did you know that apart from titles for YouTube videos, your thumbnails are the next best thing to get the attention of your users? Many YouTubers spend hours perfecting their thumbnails as they would perfecting their videos! Also, your descriptions and tags can affect your reach, searchability, and can even affect your views!

A thumbnail gives the creator an opportunity to convey in a few words why the viewer should choose to watch their video amongst the many others in the search results. It is thus imperative that you spend quality time making the thumbnail so well that it grabs the attention of the viewer immediately.

Don’t just add the title phrase to your image. Think of the user when you make the thumbnail. What is it that will peak their interest and get them to click on your video?
Use this space as an opportunity to communicate with your user a key aspect of what the video offers that they should care about. Adding a smart call-out will intrigue the viewer and is one of the main tricks of how to get more views on YouTube.

For example, if you’re speaking about a product, in this case, an iPhone 7 Pro, a picture of the device will immediately connect with the viewer. If you add text in a graphic highlighting one of the main features of what the video talks about, it makes the viewer more curious.

YouTube Video Thumbnail - search results for iPhone 7 Pro

It is also crucial for viewers to identify with your thumbnails. Nick often uses the word “YouTuber” in his thumbnails because his audience identifies with it the most. They then know that this video has information that is important for them. You will also see a lot of photography-based channels use the word “Professional Photographer” in their thumbnails. This is their way to directly call out to their community, i.e. people who are interested in learning to shoot, edit and become professional photographers.

To create quick and easy thumbnails without using complicated applications like photoshop, you can use the thumbnail generator on TubeBuddy or Vidiq. Their thumbnail generators let you choose a still from the video or upload an image, to which you can add text, your logo, and other images.

Now comes the description of the video. While a lot of people think that no one reads the description of a video on YouTube, it actually gives you a great space to share more with your audience.

The description of the video is the second thing they read after the title and it helps them choose if they want to indulge in the content or not. However, that is not its only purpose.

YouTube Video Description Example

Over the years, marketers have creatively used this space to reach out and engage with their communities. They use the space to redirect viewers to other relevant content or share information about their products and where to buy them. Content creators also use this space to give their viewers nuanced highlights, making it easier to interact with their content.

Writing timestamps and bookmarks in the descriptions lets your audience skip to the part that is most relevant to them. These are called chapters on YouTube and it lets you break down your video into separate sections, each with an individual preview – making it most useful for long videos that have a lot of important information.

When you’re working on your description, remember to not be sloppy. Your description should not be a blob of words, instead, it should be a well-organized resource of information and call-to-actions.

Always remember that the description of the video must be written in a natural and organic language. It should also include 1-2 keywords that best describe your video. The main keyword used in the title must also be a part of your description. With the right keywords, you can get free YouTube views and increase the viewer’s watch time.

As businesses and creators on YouTube, this space is essential to have a conversation with your audience that can lead to an interaction in the comments section. Also, it is important to add links that can redirect your viewers to subscribe to your channel or find you on other platforms, or allowing your user to explore more relevant content on your channel.

YouTube Video - Relevant Tags & Links

The next most important and equally crucial part of uploading your video is adding relevant tags. Tags let people discover your content on YouTube. It is the best way to let search engines know what your content provides so it can match it to the viewer’s expectation.

There are multiple tools like TubeBuddy and Keywords Everywhere to get the most relevant tags and you will also come across them when you’re manually researching for your title (so don’t forget to make a note of them).

The phrase that is key and should rank the video has to be your very first tag. Following that, add tags in the order of importance. It’s important to remember that relevance is key when using tags. If you don’t add the relevant tags, YouTube will not be able to connect your video to the viewer’s search, leaving it undiscovered and out of its recommendations.

We can’t stress how equally important all of these are in getting free YouTube views. While of course you can handle these manually or you can use tools like TubeBuddy and VIDIQ to help you with keywords, generating thumbnails, fetching relevant tags, graphing insights, and doing A/B testing. Most of these tools are free and make it easier for businesses to put out more video content, week after week.

These tools also provide insights on what’s trending, how you fare alongside your competitors based on views and watch time and they also introduce you to tools like end screen and cards on YouTube that can enhance your channel’s productivity.

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