I've all but given up on YouTube's video thumbnails.
First, they're poor quality even if your video is HD.
Next, you get a choice of 3 and since I do a lot of talking head stuff, I usually get closed eyes or a weird facial expression.
Then there's the play button. It's usually over my face so you just see my eyeballs above the play.
Anyway, I've started generating my own thumbnails for the teaser post. This links to the full full post with autoplay so the video starts right away after you click my thumbnail.
I also do a CSS background color on hover to "animate" the play button when you mouse over it. Of course, that doesn't work on mobile, but I still think its an improvement over the default.
Oh yeah. The best part is it actually looks more like part of my site because I get to choose the colors.
Want to see it in action? (Always easier to show than tell, right?)
Here's my newest video blog:
I don't even have a fancy intro or the back-end done yet, but hey, it's just us here, so you get to see my half-baked goods. ;)
If anyone's interested in more detail, let me know. I have a template so it's super quick to create these thumbs and go.
Would love to hear more on this subject. As a little thing that it is it really makes a big difference if people click on your videos and how they are perceived.
I do a lot of presentations so I think of my video thumbnail as a PowerPoint slide. You don't want the image to be too distracting. Plus the image is the book's cover as it were: you must entice them to view based on this first (the Title is a close second but as you'll see in the tip below not so much). So here's a few more tips.
I hope this is helpful.