Let's break it down!

The title

This is the first step a viewer takes towards your video. You should invite them in with a good and smart title. If you don’t have a well thought-out title, you may drive the viewer away, which means no more interaction with your video.

The thumbnail

A thumbnail is either a screenshot from an important scene in your video, or it can be an independently shot photograph that doesn’t necessarily appear in your video — but sums up your video in an image, or at least provides a window into it.

 

If not for these two, nobody will even CLICK on your video.

 

That’s the plain and simple truth.

 

I won’t say it’s the “harsh” truth. Because, hello! It’s 2021. This is how video works today. This is how film works today. This is the default now.


The killer combination of Title and Thumbnail is everything.


And you know what? This is not even new. This formula of Title + Thumbnail = Views has been around for decades. This is not a new concept at all.


You may not have realized it yet, but you already know what I’m talking about.

The magic formula

Think about the time when you were deciding about going to the movies. Other than friends’ recommendations, what were the factors that came into play? Most likely, it was the title of the movie, the movie poster and the trailer.

 

If the magic formula of the three factors above succeeds, you will most likely spend your money to go watch that movie.
If the makers of the movie don’t get that right, they lose out on hard cash!


And that’s why so much effort, time and money is spent on the title and the poster.


Movie titles are insanely well thought-out. I mean, it’s ridiculous how accurately some titles capture the essence of the whole movie.

Here are a few examples:

1. SPEED

A bus full of passengers must maintain a certain speed non-stop; and if they don’t, the whole bus explodes. The movie used ‘Speed’ to tackle issues like terrorism, mental illness and revenge. But the speed of the bus is the ‘vehicle’ that drives the movie forward (That pun was not intended at all). As a viewer, just reading the title — the one single word — already tells me that it’s going to be an action movie. *mind blown*

 

2. Oblivion
What a powerful word. A movie title couldn’t get any smarter than this. First off, the setting of this movie literally makes you feel like you’re in oblivion. The deserted landscapes of a post-apocalyptic earth. You can literally ‘stare out into oblivion’. But here’s where the title really nails it. [Warning: Spoilers ahead.] Jack, along with his partner, Victoria, work in isolation on security missions on earth — completely oblivious to the fact that thousands of other Jack & Victoria pairs are out there. Genius!

3. The Godfather

I’m just mentioning this one because no article about movies can be written without mentioning The Godfather at least once. *hello sarcasm*

 

4. The Hangover

You know instantly this is going to be a fun movie about the aftermath of a night of partying, and that’s exactly what it is. Only, the hangover shown here is of epic proportions. One of my favourite movie series ever!

It's 2021

Focus on your title & thumbnail.


I’m assuming you already know you need to have made a good video, because that’s what you’re going to upload. We get really caught up in how great our video is and how we can make it better. By the time we’re ready to hit the upload button, the video is a part of our blood. We care only about this baby that we’ve created.
But if your title & thumbnail aren’t creating an impulse to click on your video, nobody is going to watch it.


This has been the case for the last 5+ years already, but I feel like we still need a reminder of it today.

About the author: Vinay is a Filmmaker with over 10 years of experience in the creative industry. Vinay primarily, works on Global Television Ads, Social Awareness Campaigns such as for Covid-19 in India, Art & Music Festivals, Startups and other Small Businesses. He has worked with clients such as: Quicksilver, Odisha Tourism, Rolling Stone Magazine and Samsung. In his spare time, he’s a Dog Behaviourist working mostly with big dogs in India and the US. Rottweilers are his favourite!