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YouTube Tips Is a stupid face on your thumbnail necessary to get lots of clicks?

The Jungle Explorer

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I have noticed a trend on thumbnails from leading tubers. This is the use of a stupid face or look. One of my favorite OG Tubers is Derrel Eves. This guy has thirty Gold Button channels under his belt. I just grabbed a screenshot from his channel home page.

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Here is a screenshot from the channel of another top Tuber, Sean Cannell of Think Media.

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Okay, so you can clearly see an obvious trend here. Even here on TB, the TB videos generally have a thumbnail featuring someone making an exaggerated face of some kind.

To be quite honest, these thumbnails turn me off and make me not want to click on the video, but it seems that for most people they are very successful. Why do you think these kinds of thumbnails are so good?
 

Super Cooper Hobbies

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I think it creates intrigue as to why they're so excited (or what ever emotion is shown), they want to know more about why the creator feels that way.

It also just creators a more interesting thumbnail rather than just a boring one.

Happy St Patricks day, btw
 
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The Jungle Explorer

The Jungle Explorer

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I think it creates intrigue as to why they're so excited (or what ever emotion is shown), they want to know more about why the creator feels that way.

It also just creators a more interesting thumbnail rather than just a boring one.

Happy St Patricks day, btw
Do they make you feel this way? Happy St Patty's day to you too.
 
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Tito Tim

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A silly face is not necessarily needed... a bikini girl works as well (probably better). Thumbnails are a bane of existence. Most of the stupid faces people use in their thumbnails turn me away from a video. I just assume I am not the target demographic. I do not buy into advertising schtick (AdBlock is a lifesaver), over the top videos or thumbnails are a turn off (they remind me of 'reality' shows), and I cannot stand 'reality' shows. Maybe I am just old...
 

spookyboo

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I think they're fun, but it really depends on your niche I think. A funny face would be ridiculous on my videos unless it is one of the fun livestreams.
What turns me away from a video is length. If it is two hours then I'm probably not going to watch it.
 
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The Jungle Explorer

The Jungle Explorer

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A silly face is not necessarily needed... a bikini girl works as well (probably better). Thumbnails are a bane of existence. Most of the stupid faces people use in their thumbnails turn me away from a video. I just assume I am not the target demographic. I do not buy into advertising schtick (AdBlock is a lifesaver), over-the-top videos or thumbnails are a turn-off (they remind me of 'reality' shows), and I cannot stand 'reality' shows. Maybe I am just old...
Yeah. This totally describes me. I actually am a little bit insulted by them because it's like they are playing to a very low intelligence person who is dumb enough to be fooled by such an over-the-top expression of facial emotion. It's as if they are saying to me, "We think you are stupid enough to fall for this thumbnail and believe it contains content that is equal to this exaggerated expression". Of course, I have yet to see a piece of content on YouTube that is actually as great as these thumbnails paint them to be and that has a value that measures up to the thumbnail. Of course, I tend to be insulted by most of what passes for popular content today, so take what I say with a grain of salt. Heck, sometimes, I am insulted by the low quality of my OWN content! LOL! Sometimes I just shake my head and say to myself; "Who do you think you are fooling?" LOL! :joy: :p
 

spookyboo

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I don't think they do it for intrigue or to fool people. They're having fun. Being weird and goofy. It is allowed when you love you do. I guess people might have forgotten what that means? People are way too serious these days. And see, you might like a bikini girl, but a scantily clad chick on a thumbnail does nothing for me unless I'm trying to lose weight and want to get into shape.
 
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The Jungle Explorer

The Jungle Explorer

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I feel the same way about thumbnails that use sexual innuendo.

It is not about people having fun. It is about the manipulation of humans by using their base instincts and natural reactions to control them. I spent years as a salesman and learned all of these psychological-emotional manipulation techniques. I know exactly what is behind them and why they are so successful. Let me tell you a little story.

I once had an old 1979 Ford F-250 pickup. I bought it for $1,500. The guy fooled me by somehow rigging the engine to run and not smoke. When I got the truck home and did an oil change on it, it started smoking like a fog machine. The engine had SIX cracked pistons and one was missing the rings! I ended up spending over $4,000 to get the truck running right again, and this was in the 1990s. Sometime later, I changed jobs and did not need the truck anymore, so I put it up for sale. I ran an ad paid for a solid month but I could not get anyone to buy it, even though I had dropped the price down to $1,000. I showed all the prospective buyers the receipts for all the new stuff it had on it totaling over $4,000, but no one would even look twice at the truck. I knew what I had to do, but it felt wrong to do it. Finally, I gave up and went out and put two coats of high gloss wax on the truck. I painted the tire with flat black paint, I wax and polished that truck from top to bottom. I then doubled the price and listed it for $2,000 and sold it to the first person who looked at it, no questions asked.

Now here is another story. I once went to a car dealership to buy a used car. I did not have much money at the time due to a serious medical issue I had recently been through. I looked at everything on the lot in my price range, but could not find anything that was not a total piece of trash. I was about to walk out when the salesman said that something had just been traded in that I might be interested in. He took me over to look at it and he was all apologetic about its condition. It was a Nissan Pathfinder 4X4. It was dirty and had mud on it. The inside was cluttered up as well. I could not believe my eyes. It was exactly what I was looking for and I knew I could not afford it. I turned to the guy and said, I told you what my price range is. He said yes, you can afford this. I was like, "Are you sure? Is the engine blown or something?". When he told me the price, my jaw hit the floor. he quoted me HALF of what I knew the value of the vehicle to be. I agreed to buy the car on the spot and signed the paperwork within the hour. The salesman insisted that I let them keep the car overnight so he could have it detailed for me. The next day when I went to pick it up, the same salesman was acting strange. He kept offering me other vehicles that he said were "Much Better". Finally, I had to get firm and demand that he give me my car. He looked at me and said, "You know you stole that car from us don't you?". I said, "I paid the price you offered me." He said, "But you knew it was worth a lot more." I said, "I knew it was a really good deal, that is why I took you upon it." He offered to buy the car back from me right there for $2,000 over what I paid for it, but I turned him down. When I got out to my car there were three salesmen that tried t buy the car off of me for up to double what I paid for it. I got in it and drove away. Best car I ever owned. Had it for 15 years. Both my kids learned to drive in it and it was a first car for both of them. I believe all kids should learn to drive a stick shift first.

These two stories have something in common and it is not cars. It has to do with understanding VALUE how to recognize it, and also how not to be controlled by base human emotions. In the first story, I had a great truck for sale that had great value, but nobody would buy it because it was not shinny. I was trying to sell it on its true value. The part of it that made it go down the road. I couldn't give it away though. So, I waxed and polished it and immediately sold it for twice what I was originally asking for it. The second story is about a bunch of trained salesman that actually know how to manipulate people by making things look shinny, but were themselves victims of their own craft. They should have learned to look at the true value of a vehicle outside of it being shinny and sparkly, but they too were given over to their base emotional reactions, so they undervalued that Pathfinder just because it was dirty. But I on the other hand was completely unaffected by the phiscal appearance of the Pahtfinder and was only concerned about he true value of the car.

You see, this is why I find misleading thumbnails insulting. It is just like me waxing and polishing that old truck to sell it, only the truck was actually something of significant value. A flashy thumbnail on a video that does not offer the value the thumbnail implies it contains, is like polishing a broken down car just to fool people into buying it. I don't like deception. I don't like having to use deception to succeed. I don't like it that people refuse to look at real value and choose to just be led around by their base emotions. But such is the world we live in.

For as long as I have had my channel, I have tried to do the same thing that I did when I first tried to sale that old truck. I tried to let the value of my content be the attractant to viewers. But you know what? Maybe it is time for me to let go of my high standards and just jump in with both feet and start waxing and polishing to make things shiny and sparkly. Maybe it is time for me to stop resisting the trend and start using clickbaitish thumbnails techniques. Seems to work well for everyone else. People want to be fish drawn to shinny lures. I can do that. I am a fisherman after all.


View: https://youtu.be/93lrosBEW-Q
 

Damon

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Sorry for the double post. Yeah, the whole goofy face thing is off-putting as well as the bikini-babe thumbnails. For me I'm looking for people who are much closer to making a buying decision. People who want to be entertained don't want to buy anything. So, my thumbnails reflect a what-you-see-is-what-you-get mentality.

I know that won't get as many views, but back-end sales are far more important to me. The people I want to attract are people who are not easily duped and want to spend their money on something worth while. Frankly I don't want low-life people buying my products. I don't trust them to use my products in good faith. This may sound counter-intuitive, but I want to kick out as many people as don't belong in my audience. They usually kick themselves out.

Honestly, I've quit listening to expert YouTubers because none of them know anything about fishing or building an online custom fishing tackle shop. I can learn more about building my fishing channel through watching a Jacques Cousteau documentary than most of these Tuber Teachers. None of these guys are teaching motion picture. Quite frankly none of their videos are storytelling type videos. I mean as a fishing channel I'm way better off watching National Geographic to copy their posters and film posters to incorporate into my thumbnails.

In fact if you look at your basic NatGeo magazine cover, you'll see some similarity to my thumbnail approach.
 
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spookyboo

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We're just going to have to disagree about that then. I think it adds some fun pizazz to some otherwise boring thumbnails. The face catches a person's eye. If the face wasn't there and had some text and a graph then people would scroll right past it. Yes, marketing is involved because there's a face that draws people in but those faces are so hilariously exaggerated that they're having fun with it. All the more to them! It's the title that makes me click anyway, not the thumbnail but the pict does grab more attention if it is exaggerated. It's youtube not a college textbook channel.
 

Stanley | Team TB

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There is definitely some pretty deep psychology when it comes to thumbnails and getting people to click. An obvious (and easier) way to do so is by conveying emotion... and what better way to do that than by slapping an emotional face on the cover? I have zero problems with this... as a viewer you are not forced to click on anything you don't want so it's not like anything is being forced on you. A creator has literally milliseconds to grab your attention and convey value while being lost in a sea of competitors and the psychology is sound; the human brain can read a face far better than anything else.

Did you know that humans can determine gender at over 400 yards? We read body language, physical attributes and face-gestures without even knowing we are doing it and we can do so in a fraction of a second. We also connect with people based on the 'look on their face' and we can decide in mere moments whether we are going to trust, despise, lust or provide comfort to someone based solely on the look in their eyes.

It is single-handedly the best tool available for the thumbnail medium. Don't hate the players... hate the game.
 

spookyboo

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How do you mean?
The humor in your last statement. It was funny. Personally, I'm into either really weird, off the wall videos like how youtube used to be or humor and if a creator who creates how to videos puts some humor into their show I enjoy it. Just like the thumbnails. The silliness catches my eye. I see serious all day long, I want to do something fun on YouTube to take me away from all that. I typically don't watch it for the how-to videos unless it is for something specific or learning video effects/growing youtube channels. But that's just me. Everyone is different.
 
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The Jungle Explorer

The Jungle Explorer

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There is definitely some pretty deep psychology when it comes to thumbnails and getting people to click. An obvious (and easier) way to do so is by conveying emotion... and what better way to do that than by slapping an emotional face on the cover? I have zero problems with this... as a viewer you are not forced to click on anything you don't want so it's not like anything is being forced on you. A creator has literally milliseconds to grab your attention and convey value while being lost in a sea of competitors and the psychology is sound; the human brain can read a face far better than anything else.

Did you know that humans can determine gender at over 400 yards? We read body language, physical attributes and face-gestures without even knowing we are doing it and we can do so in a fraction of a second. We also connect with people based on the 'look on their face' and we can decide in mere moments whether we are going to trust, despise, lust or provide comfort to someone based solely on the look in their eyes.

It is single-handedly the best tool available for the thumbnail medium. Don't hate the players... hate the game.
I agree with you, Stan. You are correct in the general sense of what you have said. This is the general accepted perception of how things work. Unfortunately, it is but a mere illusion. This idea that we can tell anything about another person merely by seeing their face is a complete and total fallacy. The truth is, we can tell absolutely nothing about another person by seeing their face. We would like to believe we can. We fool ourselves into believing that we can. But the truth is, we can't. It's like shiny wax on a car. It looks good, but it tells you nothing about the real mechanics that make the car work.

I was the director of a life counseling center for over a decade. I sat across from hundreds of people in counseling sessions for hours, days, weeks, and months, reading their faces and body language. I am really good at reading these things. I can tell you with a bit of authority that you can't know a person or anything about them from seeing their face. The truth is, very few people even know themselves. Most people have not done the hard work of looking deep into themselves to see what makes them tick. The majority of people live reactionary lives, controlled by their emotions, social conditioning, and past emotional traumas that have caused insecurities and fears.

I am not arguing that this is a right or wrong thing, just that it is what it is. You cannot know someone by seeing their face, but people like to believe that they can, and prefer to live under the illusion that seeing someone's face is necessary to know something about them. The truth is, you have learned more about me by participating with me on this forum than you ever would if you had just seen my face. I see your pictures and you do show your face, but what I know of you, I have learned by talking to you, not by seeing your face.

But, you are correct. This how most people in the world think and that is why people use faces on their thumbnails. I agree that this is what people believe and why it works. But like Damon says, ugly old farts people like me, do not fair well even if we do people our face out their. :p :joy: