YouTube Thumbnail: How To Improve CTR (By An Expert)

Article last updated on:
April 10, 2024

This guide teaches you how to:

  • Improve your click-through-rate on YouTube videos…
  • Simply through thumbnails
  • So you can revive even your old videos

We won’t bore you with stuff you know already.

How to improve CTR for YouTube Thumbnails

The short answer is: You need to make simple, straight-to-the-point thumbnails and A/B Test them to find which one’s most relevant.

Let’s break down each step.

1. Make them more Unique

Facts & Stats YouTube Thumbnail Style - Example from Vox
  • Eye-Catching Visuals: Use bright colors, high contrast, and clear, high-resolution images.
  • Faces: Show your own or use a relevant face that sparks emotion.
  • The “X Factor”: Incorporate a surprising element or something unusual to make your thumbnail stand out.

2. Clear scope → Don’t use many Words

YouTube Thumbnail with Text Overaly - "2023, A Look Back" from Vox
  • Directly Relevant: The thumbnail image should directly relate to your video’s content.
  • Text Overlay: Include clear and concise text using bold fonts and contrasting colors. This is your chance to introduce the video’s topic or highlight a key benefit.
  • Keep it Simple: Avoid cluttering your thumbnail with too much text or busy visuals.

3. A/B Test to find the Winner

Illustration of thumbnail testing on YouTube
  • Test Different Thumbnails: Use Thumbnail Test to see which thumbnails perform best for your audience. Consider A/B testing different variations to see which gets more clicks.
  • Track Your CTR: Monitor your click-through rate over time and aim to constantly improve it. There’s no magic CTR number, but any improvement over your average is a win.

That’s it!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Click-Through-Rate for Thumbnails?

According to YouTube, between 2% and 10% is a normal range for impressions click-through rate (CTR) for half of all channels and videos on the platform.

  • Smaller channels or videos might have more fluctuations in CTR due to a smaller sample size.
  • The age of a video can also affect CTR → Newer videos might see a higher CTR initially.
YouTube's advice on thumbnail CTR
YouTube’s advice on thumbnail CTR

Find more info in Google’s official guide: Impressions & click-through-rate FAQs.

The image above is taken from that article.

What is a good CTR for thumbnails?

A good CTR for thumbnails on YouTube is anything above your channel’s average. YouTube states that anywhere between 2-10% is a normal range.

For instance, here’s where a good thumbnail CTR starts:

  • If 3% of your viewers click your video…
  • A good Thumbnail CTR starts at +4%.

Just has to be equal or above.


That’s all you have to know on improving CTR through thumbnails.

We really hope you found this guide helpful!

Thank you for reading this,

About the author

David is the head of the editing team at ThumbnailTest. With his help, the editorial team is able to provide you with the best free guides related to YouTube thumbnails and A/B testing.