I have seen this complaint so often, that I felt compelled to address it. In fact, I recently ran across a forum post where people were commenting on how “annoying” it is that I and other Youtubers put our faces on thumbnails.
Well, let me break it down for you.
We don’t put our faces on thumbnails because we just LOVE making funny faces and can’t get enough of our own image. We don’t do it because we’re jumping on some trending Youtube bandwagon. We do it because IT WORKS.
This is business. It’s marketing. It’s doing what it takes to compete and succeed.
I would prefer if thumbnails without faces performed better, but they don’t. I’ve done the A/B testing many times on my own thumbnails (Thanks TubeBuddy). EVERY SINGLE TIME the thumbnail with a face – preferably with an exaggerated facial expression – far outperforms the one without a face. Sometimes it performs as much as 50% better.
People fail to realize (or purposely ignore) that Youtube is a full-time job for many of the creators they’re complaining about. It not only takes hard work and resilience, but also the ability to learn/understand marketing and implement strategies that increase channel growth.
This is my career and I will do whatever it takes to be successful (as long as I’m not compromising my core morals or values). If that means putting a dumb face on my thumbnails, so be it.
I’m living a life that many people can only dream about. I will plaster my stupid face all over every video I make until the day I die if that’s what I have to do. Wouldn’t you do whatever it takes to succeed in your career or business?
There is a reason people click on thumbnails with faces more often.
Human beings have evolved to detect eye contact, and this is most effective when the whites of the eyes are showing. When a close-up face is shown in a thumbnail, people are more likely to stop and look – and click to see more.
Humans are visual creatures. We communicate by expressing and reading emotional cues in facial expressions. An emotional face on a thumbnail is an effective way to convey to viewers what feelings the video might invoke.
Creators may have only a single chance and a couple seconds to convince a viewer to click. Over-the-top faces grab attention, convey emotion, and compel clicks. This is the purpose of the thumbnail on Youtube.
By putting my face on my thumbnails, I’ve also created a recognizable brand. People see my face and immediately equate the image with my brand of content – for better or worse.
This might mean some people avoid it like the plague because they hate me and everything I stand for. But more often, it means those who enjoy my content will click more often – sometimes even if they aren’t particularly interested in the topic.
Yes, it’s possible to create a brand on the platform without putting your face on the thumbnails. But it’s far easier to find success by doing what works from a marketing perspective.
As a Youtuber, it’s important to cultivate brand awareness and market yourself. Some people might find this annoying, but we know the truth. It works.