A source: https://www.businessinsider.com/youtube-creator-mrbeast-shares-thumbnail-strategy-advice-team-2022-10 (Amanda Perelli) If you are interested in articles on businessinsider.com, then you can buy a subscription on their website. This article was taken from the site for the purpose of quoting + part of the material from open sources.
YouTube star MrBeast is one of the platform's top creators with more than 105 million subscribers.
His strategy for success includes crafting the perfect, eye-catching thumbnail image.
Here's what he does to drive views, which he described at the creator conference VidSummit.
With more than 100 million subscribers, Jimmy Donaldson, known online as MrBeast, is easily one of the top performing creators on YouTube.
He has 19 YouTube channels ranging from gaming to philanthropy to global channels in French, Spanish, and Japanese.
On Donaldson's main channel, his viral videos show him recreating Squid Game (291 million views), burying himself alive (196 million views), and spending 50 hours in solitary confinement (194 million views).
But reaching the level of success Donaldson has as a video creator has as much to do with drawing in the viewer with eye-catching imagery as it does with the video content.
Donaldson recently spoke about his content strategy during a question-and-answer session with Samir Chaudry from the YouTube channel Colin and Samir (1 million subscribers) at the creator conference VidSummit in September. Donaldson went in depth into his use of thumbnail images, which he said his team is "obsessed" with.
Chaudry asked Donaldson what his team does when a video isn't performing well, and how much of an impact switching a video's thumbnail image can have.
"I think a lot of people know by now that if your click-through-rate (CTR) is low, you can just try out a different thumbnail, and obviously if more people click it, it will do better," Donaldson said. "Some people take that a little too extreme. They will upload a video, and two hours later they are swapping thumbnails. I think it's OK to give it some time."
Typically, Donaldson said his team waits about a week after uploading a video to try out a different thumbnail image if the video's CTR is low.
But changing the thumbnail image isn't a cure-all.
"Sometimes it's just not the thumbnail," Donaldson added. "It's just a bad idea and there's not really much you can save with the thumbnail."
MrBeast has a dedicated YouTube thumbnail team
Still, Donaldson and his team strategize at length about the thumbnail before uploading a video.
During the Q&A, Chaudry showed the audience a photo that Donaldson sent him with about 20 thumbnail versions for a recent video, "Survive 100 Days In Circle, Win $500,000."
"Before I upload a video, we make a couple different versions and I send them to my friends like Colin and Samir," Donaldson said. "It's kind of like a thumbnail feeler. I say 'hey, which one do you like?' And then I gauge which one to go with. You don't have to go this extreme. I'm probably the most extreme with thumbnails. We are very obsessed over it."
A good thumbnail accurately describes the content within the video, has a clear focus, and includes bright colors, he said. Donaldson is usually the focus of each of his thumbnails.
He said he has a team of around six or seven people who are dedicated to crafting the thumbnails for the videos across his several channels.
Occasionally, his team will recreate a scene from the video by building a physical set, or by using Photoshop.
"Sometimes when I film a video I just forget to take a thumbnail," he said. "I ended up hiring someone who is good at 3D modeling. They can build whatever it was in Photoshop. We have three people who are amazing at photo manipulation."
While he uses metrics like a video's CTR to gauge audience interest, Donaldson said that he's also trying to put less pressure on video performance.
He said in the past, "it would destroy my whole week," when his team followed a specific strategy and the video still didn't perform well.
"We are just so emotionally attached to our work," he said. "If you spend six months on a video and tons of money, it just doesn't feel good when it does bad. I try to just look at it objectively and just move on."
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