One of Alphabet’s major strengths is the smart or even intelligent algorithms that run the various services like Google Search.
The latest addition to YouTube adds some of Alphabet’s algorithmic knowhow to the way it’s video thumbnails are generated.
Whenever a video is uploaded to a video platform like YouTube a still thumbnail is generated from the video’s content. This thumbnail then represents the video on pages, in playlist etc so users can clearly distinguish videos apart.
Thumbnails are small but critical part of the YouTube experience or indeed web video experience. Especially when you consider the sheer amount of web video content that is available. Millions of videos on similar subjects mens that there are many video with very similar names.
Original YouTube Thumbnails
Up until recently YouTube auto generated 3 frames from your video to use as thumbnails. These frames were selected using some basic maths:
The total number of seconds were divided by 4. The time at the end of the first 3 quarters was used to generate the thumb. This would always include the frame at the exact middle of the video Easy example:
60 Second video = 60÷4=15 – 1t Thumb = 15 seconds, 2nd = 30 second (exact middle), 3rd = 45 seconds. The end of the video is not offered as a thumb as it would not represent the video.
Based on this simple calculation the resulting thumbs were often less than ideal.
Smarter YouTube Thumbnails
YouTube’s new smart thumb generator was trained using Alphabet’s Deep Neural Network to recognise good thumbs from bad thumbs. Examples of what users considered to be good thumbs were shown to the intelligent learning computer system as well as poor thumbs.
The new thumb generator now knows not to offer frames that contain ‘poor’ example content like blurred motion, empty frames, mid transition frames and even poorly composed frames.
The end result is that your video content should be represented far better and so has the potential to attract more views. That is assuming that the content of the video is of a high enough quality to begin with.
An alternative option to using the auto generated thumbs is using the customer thumbnail option. As long as your YouTube account is verified then you can upload a custom thumbnail to represent your videos.
Before custom thumbs it would be common practice to include a single frame at the exact middle of the video for YouTube to find. This would often be a specially created image with visually appealing image and text title.
Make the Most of YouTube
YouTube has a lot to offer. Making your videos stand out from the crowd using thumbnails is just one of the tools on offer. You can enhance your YouTube presence by customising your YouTube Channel, connecting your social media accounts and optimising your video content be be found easier.
If you need help getting the most out of YouTube and your video content talk to Workshop Media. Whether you’re just starting out on YouTube or you need a tune up talk to Workshop.