What the thumbnail of your video looks like on your website or elsewhere on the Internet can be equally significant as the contents of your video. This is because the relevance of both is a prerequisite for the other. If the appearance of the video does not tempt people to click to start the video and generate positive expectations for it, then the video will not be viewed or it wont have a powerful effect if it is viewed. The functions of the appearance of a thumbnail are:
- Tempting to click by a pleasant design
- Creating positive expectations regarding the contents of the video.
The second point is just as important as the first one. Without it, no tension is formed between the expectations of the viewer and the contents of the video. At best, this tension will contribute to a home run effect, when expectations are fulfilled and exceeded. Expectations can also be diverted intentionally, when a surprise is triggered for the viewer. If low expectations are created unintentionally, they have a confusing effect and flatten the mood even before the video has started.
How should you act?
The thumbnail can and should be changed. I do not believe in pedantic A-Z testing (though it would be interesting to try it), but in an outlook that is tested and monitored through the experiences of new viewer. Decisions have to be made with inadequate information as usual.
A true story
We had a video of our own some time ago, and a very bold thumbnail was added to it. Our e-mail started flooding with requests for bids unusually quickly. Unfortunately, these requests were completely wrong for us. Once we decided to change the thumbnail, the influx of unsuitable requests ended.