12 Thumbnails to use on YouTube and Grow your SaaS

Read a curated list of YouTube thumbnails with examples for your SaaS YouTube videos from YouTube experts and SaaS Founders to grow your SaaS.

12 Thumbnails to use on YouTube and Grow your SaaS
Note: SaaSwrites is a curated growth marketing hub and resource built to help SaaS founders grow their products. We sincerely thank all our experts for their constant value addition to this world.
Updated: 01/04/2022

  • YouTube is the most used video platform in the USA.
  • 2nd most visited website Globally
  • 2nd most used social platform Globally

1. Shock & Awe

Explanation: People are naturally curious about things they've never seen before.
Tactic: Use bold lettering and imagery to emphasize the most shocking moment of your video. Include emotional facial expressions.
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2. Comparisons

Explanation: Side-by-side comparisons will attract avid supporters from both sides. This effectively doubles your target audience.
Tactic: Bring attention to the most extreme difference (price, size, skill, age, etc.)
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3. Reactions

Explanation: Dramatic faces attract attention—people click because they can't help but want to see what provoked it.
Tactic: To make the reaction more genuine, use a still from your footage, not a posed shot
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4. Join Along

Explanation: Behind-the-scenes and candid content builds affinity with your audience–the viewer feels like they're a part of your journey.
Tactic: Re-frame mundane situations (ex. studying, cleaning, traveling) into chances to join a day in the life.
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5. Ask A Question

Explanation: People crave closure. Asking a Q in your thumbnail opens a loop that can only be closed by watching.
Tactic: Use the video title to tease at the answer you pose in your thumbnail. Keep the Q to less than 5 words.
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6. Stickers

Explanation: Recognizable objects allow you to communicate the topic of your video without using words.
Tactic: Use a colored outline stroke or drop-shadow to give the stickers a multi-layer effect
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7. Negative Space

Explanation: Draw attention to key elements of your thumbnail by de-cluttering around it Tactic: Use a single color or blurry background. Put 1 or 2 key elements in the foreground.
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8. Brand Consistency

Explanation: Keeping an element of your thumbnails consistent makes your videos familiar–even to non-subscribers.
Tactic: Include a small logo. Use a design style or color palette consistently.
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9. Arrows & Emphasis

Explanation: Draw attention to small details within your thumbnail that hint at what will happen in the video.
Tactic: Show "before" the action happens. Use arrows to trace the path of movement.
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10. Big Numbers

Explanation: Big numbers are un-natural (and therefore generate curiosity).
Tactic: Use commas to make the number appear longer. Don't make it too round or it'll come off as fake.
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11. Headline

Explanation: Pique curiosity and provide context using a headline that complements an otherwise plain thumbnail.
Tactic: Keep headlines to less than 3 words. Use a large font. Position it across the top of the thumbnail.
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12. Pop-Outs

Explanation: Zoom in on a specific spot on your thumbnail to emphasize the video's primary focus.
Tactic: Use a border around the pop-out to make it clear. Zoom in to show texture, small details, or important elements.
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Written by


Ricky is the founder of SaaSwrites. A SaaS founder himself, Ricky found it difficult to grow and market his product after building it. When he arrived on Twitter, he realized there was a lot of great information but not organized in a way that can truly help SaaS founders and makers. He started SaaSwrites as a curation of all the best marketing and growth resources to help other founders with their SaaS growth. Ricky runs two SaaS products - Beejek (a digital receipt platform for retail stores) and IntroSend (a community engagement tool for businesses and community managers). Say hi to Ricky @rickywrites on Twitter.