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Need Advice Trying to understand the strategy, and possible phycology behind shorts thumbnails, or lack there of in terms of CTR

Beanie Draws

Mythical Poster
Subscriber Goal
This question goes a little beyond just being a thumbnails question, and spans a bit more into a shorts question.

This video, from memory, was an accidental release, meaning when I uploaded it, it automatically went public instead of private (via mobile upload) thus, it selected a default thumbnail. I figured I'd let it run and see what happens in terms of CTR. Maybe an obvious mobile upload looking thumbnail might perform better visually for CTR purposes.

Now I decided, let's see what happens when we upload when I upload an actual custom thumbnail. Was very curious to see if a stock thumbnail might work better than a custom one, and it seems the stock one performed 14% better than the custom one. I'm trying to understand the phycology of why that might be.

Might it be the traffic source? Shorts only accounts for 14% of the traffic source, so I don't think it's necessarily the fact that on the shorts shelf, the thumbnail doesn't show anyway.

Maybe the original just looks "better"? which is odd to me, maybe it's just a lot simpler, thus cleaner, thus more enticing to click? I wanted to give it a custom thumbnail to keep consistent with the rest of my channel recently, but going by this A/B test, it might be better off leaving it how it is.

If you've used the A/B test feature, how do you read your results and interpret them?


nate polmateer

Known Member
Subscriber Goal
I have not done this before. Although recently I have decided to stop making thumbnails for my shorts videos as they are in a group of their own on my home page. I was thinking maybe Title in a shorts video has more to do with CTR since the title is on the front of the video as it's on the shelf. Some of my shorts do well and some are terrible. I cant figure this out. For now I'll keep producing them as it seems to get me at least 1 SUB when I post a short. That may not seem like much but to me another viewer means the world to me :)


Recognized Member
Shorts seem to do great for me but I have a channel for shorts video only! I wouldn't mix shorts video with long video because YouTube say if your viewer found your channel with shorts video they only will get your shorts video only not long video! and short video don't add to your watch time! they are fun to make! I don't have the A/B test features YouTube give u that features for free! So I don't know about that one!

Stanley | Team TB

Amazingly Decent and Not-At-All Terrible Fishing
TubeBuddy Staff
Subscriber Goal
This is such an awesome topic, well done. Everyone should pay close attention to their CTR for Shorts videos. 'Great,' 'Skilled' and 'Talented' are not metrics for determining what is going to get clicks and Shorts videos are such a great reference for this. Be mindful of what works, even when it is something as simple as a random screengrab from your video.