The most popular YouTuber in the world, MrBeast, said that a shocked face on the thumbnail of the video does not help to gain views. He shared the results of his test with his Twitter followers. This June, the video hosting made the "Testing and Comparison" function available to selected content creators. With its help, up to three thumbnails can be attached to one video and their effectiveness can be evaluated.
MrBeast added two images to each of his videos: one with a smile and one with an open mouth. Most often, his viewers clicked on those images where the creator kept his mouth closed. “I closed my mouth on all my thumbnails and the watch time went up on every video lol,” he writes.
"Now that I can actually A/B test thumbnails I don't have to guess and I just test and see what people want. My mouth would have closed years ago if I had this tool." the creator shares.
"My mouth is now closed in all my thumbnails but the war has just begun. We must not rest until mouths are closed in everyone’s thumbnails" MrBeast jokes.
Technoblogger Marques Brownlee found a colleague's conclusion less unambiguous. "I have a really deep twisted theory about how the open mouth is actually getting a higher clickthrough rate, but slightly more people feel clickbaited and leave the video slightly earlier, so actually the thumbnails with *worse* clickthrough rate will have the *best* watch time."
Thumbnails with grotesquely expressive faces have been a trend on YouTube for many years already. Back in 2017, one of the largest tech bloggers on the platform, Linus Sebastian, explained that this is a tactic to attract attention to videos in the recommendations feed.
According to him, an open mouth and an emotional grimace help the thumbnails stand out among other links below the videos and bring new viewers, and the increase could be up to 20%. Although this technique outraged subscribers even then, according to his evaluation, only a loud minority of users disliked it, while views increased, and the number of unsubscribing users remained insignificant.
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