The third key to the Holy Trinity of YouTube Success: Click-Through Rate.
Click-through rate exists as the second most important metric in your YouTube funnel.
It will determine how many people come to view your video, and it is also the first metric out of the funnel that you have the ability to control.
Even before that, the number of impressions that a video receives is controlled more by the Algorithm pushing your content out further due to higher watch time and click-through rate.
This leaves you in some sort of a paradox…
You need impressions to fill out the rest of your metrics, yet, you need your metrics which you can control to gain more impressions.
So let’s focus on what you can control.
What Are YouTube Click-Through Rates?
Click-through rate is the number of impressions converted into views, which shows up as a percentage.
To understand the context, you should understand what impressions are.
An impression on YouTube is whenever a user sees your thumbnail on the YouTube homepage.
This is why you can have far more impressions compared to views, considering that the average click-through rate is below 10% for most channels’ videos.
Build Your YouTube Community
Your hardcore fans and subscribers are usually the first to see your videos, and you need to be sure your audience is always excited to click through to your videos the moment they go live.
There are a few ways to do this. First, you should constantly be interacting with your fans, especially if you’re a streamer on YouTube. Answering questions in the chats makes viewers feel like they are a part of something bigger.
Second, reply to fans’ comments that you recognize in the comments section by engaging with your audience and spending some time responding to people gives you the ability to have some one-on-one time with your fans.
A great way of maintaining high click-through rates is by commenting on worldwide news from the perspective of your niche.
For example, if your niche is in cryptocurrency, commenting on world news events and how that impacts the prices of different cryptocurrencies can be a great way to stay relevant with your content.
So keep up to date with the news. It helps, especially any drama going on within your niche.
The underlying motive of this idea is to ensure you have an army of viewers who respect what you have to say and are always ready to watch the content you put out.
They will be your first line of attack every time you wage war with the YouTube Algorithm!
The One Thing No One Tells You About YouTube Click-Through Rates
As mentioned, your videos will do well in general among your central communities, subscribers, and die-hard fans (or at least they should be).
The YouTube Algorithm segments off different groups of your audience, prioritizing those subscribed to your channel and watching your videos often.
If your latest video scores high metrics regarding Watch Time/Audience Retention, YouTube will begin to recommend your videos to broader audiences.
This is why at times, you may see a video you’ve created that has scored a high amount of views, but the click-through rate is only 4-5%.
Compared to your true fans, broader audiences will have less interest overall in your content, leaving you with lower Click-Through Rates.
This isn’t necessarily anything to be alarmed about.
Having a high CTR on a video that also has higher views than usual means you’re doing an incredible job.
Ultimately, keep in mind that the YouTube Algorithm is set up so that your videos will continue to do well as long as people are showing interest and click through.
Create CLICKBAIT Thumbnails
Yes, we said it… You MUST learn how to create CLICKBAIT THUMBNAILS.
Within the YouTube community, there seems to be a negative perception of clickbait. Clickbait straight up just sounds like a dirty word.
But it’s really not if you learn how to create thumbnails that attract the audience’s attention and get viewers to watch a video that provides VALUE.
Here’s the main difference between a clickbait thumbnail that provides value and a clickbait thumbnail that does not offer value.
Thumbnails that provide value will bait viewers and cause them to watch the video with interest. These videos will typically have a positive reaction with minimal dissatisfaction and excellent audience retention.
On the other hand, thumbnails that provide ZERO value baits viewers into clicking the video until they watch a few minutes of the content. Once they realize that the thumbnail had nothing to do with the content, the viewer is left dissatisfied, maybe disliked, leaves a nasty comment, and exits.
However, this does not mean you should not go over the top with your thumbnails.
There is nothing wrong with exaggerating thumbnail designs, as long as the exaggeration meets the viewers’ expectations.
Let’s take MrBeast for example, one of the most prominent YouTubers…
If you take a look at his thumbnails, you’ll notice how cheesy, colorful, and over the top they are. But once you watch his videos, you realize that every single thumbnail lines up with the story he promised his viewers.
Don’t be afraid to add emotion, vibrance, humor, or seriousness to your thumbnails. You must be creating emotion in your thumbnails because if you don’t, the viewer will not click!
Your thumbnail should be hooking viewers’ eyes.
The title’s goal is to create a question (this will be discussed later.)
If you get these two aspects down pat, you will be quickly hitting 5% or higher click-through rates. 5% is the bare minimum you should be aiming for, while 10%+ is considered an excellent click-through rate.
How Do You Create Clickbait Thumbnails?
First things first, we need to come up with something that will trigger viewers’ emotions.
To demonstrate, we will be showing you how we created the thumbnail for the most controversial episode on the FreshandFit podcast that got 29k live viewers and a 9.2% Click Through Rate.
We needed to find an image that would demonstrate what Myron and Fresh were experiencing emotionally after the whole YouTube dating sphere turned on them. This image would need to be simple, straight to the point, and explain the entire situation without using too many elements.
The John Wick Chapter 2 movie poster perfectly demonstrated everything that was happening. Although no one pointed a gun at either host, it symbolically represented every YouTuber that attacked the podcast.
We’re giving you a simple backstory to understand the thought process we went through to decide on the graphic.
When you’re creating your thumbnail, you should be coming up with ideas on how you could turn a simple image into a story. Viewers should get a general idea of what the video is about just by looking at the thumbnail.
We use Photoshop for our Clients’ thumbnails, but it doesn’t really matter what you use as long as it gets the job done. We have seen other YouTubers use Canva, Blender, Microsoft Powerpoint, and other software.
The first thing we did was open up the template we use for every live show. We highly recommend you either create templates for every video or establish a consistent style for every video you publish.
Viewers can easily distinguish FreshandFit thumbnails because of the orange border, red live stream icon, Uni Sans Text Font, Fresh, and Fit’s faces, and the screenshots we use from the show.
Once you decide on a consistent theme (this might take a handful of different designs), you will be able to plug all your images quickly without having to overthink the whole process.
Moving on… The first thing we did was drag and drop the John Wick image into Photoshop. Then, we copied and pasted one more John Wick and shifted it to the right (left side = Myron, right side = Fresh.)
To create an illusion that both images of John Wick are two separate characters, I took the eraser tool and minimized the diameter, hardness, and opacity. Then I erased the right image with a soft eraser.
The soft eraser helps make the erased areas look more natural. If you use the default eraser, the erased areas will look rounded and less realistic with 100% diameter, hardness, and opacity. So if you’re using Photoshop, make sure to find the best eraser setting by Holding: alt + right-click, then drag up, down, and side to side.
The next thing I did was cut out Myron’s and Walt’s faces from a photoshoot they did.
We HIGHLY recommend you get professional photos if you plan to put your face all over the thumbnails.
The last thing you want is shitty iPhone quality images with their grainy pixels and awful lighting.
Find yourself a professional photographer, write down all the expressions you want to take pictures of, and take thousands of photos. Yes…. THOUSANDS.
Suppose you have to spend a whole day taking photos… who cares! If you take enough pictures, you will have so many that it will last you for an entire year.
And if you have a low budget, you can use your iPhone for photos, but you MUST make sure that the lighting is perfect and the background is blank (ideally white.)
White is a vital background color because it makes it easier for you to use the quick selection tool and the select subject button. The select subject button automatically selects the subject with AI technology generated by Photoshop.
Make sure you can see the white of your eyes in each photo. White eyes are proven to get higher click-through rates because they reveal more emotion.
Let’s move back to the FreshandFit thumbnail…
Next, I cut out Myron’s and Fresh’s faces using the quick selection tool, copied the image, and pasted it into the template.
I messed with the sizing by lowering the opacity to compare it to John Wick’s face, then adjusted the size accordingly. Then, I opened the eraser tool again and erased the neck area to fit the John Wick collar.
Now… Here’s one of the most critical steps you must get right… THE LIGHTING!
If your thumbnail is too dark, no one will see your thumbnail when they scroll through YouTube.
Remember, your thumbnails need to be vibrant and display emotion. How do you expect your audience to see the emotion you want to display if it’s dark as hell??
That’s why I used the curves tool to light up the background, Myron and Fresh. Notice how the images light up when I slide the curved lineup?
We highly recommend you use the curves tool in Photoshop when you’re designing thumbnails. It will make your life easier!
Now the final step, which may or may not be the easiest step… the thumbnail title.
We chose to make the title “Exposing The Truth.” Notice how simple it is?
We try to keep all of our thumbnail titles to 0-4 words MAX. The more text you add, the higher likelihood the audience will glance at your thumbnail and ignore it!
If you followed our previous step by adding emotion, a story, good lighting, vibrant images, and simplicity, the text would help compliment the thumbnail you designed.
However, sometimes you don’t even need to add any text to the thumbnail! Most big YouTubers are not using text anymore in their thumbnails because they see no point in taking up the precious 1280×720 pixel space.
To make up for not adding any text, the creator MUST ensure that the video title is perfectly set up to bait the viewer.
We’ll discuss how you can bait viewers with just a title…
How To Create High Performing Titles
Titles are the second most crucial thing you must learn if you want to create clickbait content.
The video title is what compliments the thumbnail.
We see too many YouTubers; even prominent creators like Grant Cardone make mistakes in their titles that cost them clicks.
DO NOT duplicate the thumbnail title with the video title!
YouTube gives you two chances to create a high click-through rate video, and you decide to add two identical titles??
You’re leaving clicks on the title. (Don’t worry, Grant Cardone’s channel is also making this fuckup.)
Remember, the thumbnail must hook the eye, and the title needs to create a question.
So how do you create a question in the title? It’s simple.
First, you need to make the title short.
Why should the title be short? Because viewers must see the thumbnail on their mobile devices and desktop screens. You can practice doing this by using the thumbsup.tv tool.
You also need to remember that if you’re creating thumbnails that do not have any titles, the title will NEED to be short for the audience to understand what the thumbnail is about.
MrBeast is a master at creating thumbnails without titles and complimenting the graphics with short titles.
When you’re trying to develop a title, use the similar tactics we discussed earlier in the article with thumbnails (create emotion, tell a story) without revealing too much what the video is about (mystery.)
However, when you’re creating titles, NEVER make titles that seem like questions but are instead obvious titles that anybody can answer.
- Thumbnail: She Got Mad! Awful Title: Did Myron Gaines Kick Out That Loud Chick??)
Duhhh… Of course he kicked out the chick…
Remember Betteridge’s law of headlines when creating titles, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”
By adding one question mark, you can reveal what the whole video is about! Avoid this at all costs!
- Thumbnail: She Got Mad! Excellent Title: 99% Of Girls Can’t Understand This UNCOMFORTABLE Question)
Boom! 1 million views!!
This video performed well because the thumbnail and title complemented each other perfectly and, most importantly, revealed emotion (she got mad!) and mystery (99% Of Girls Can’t Understand This UNCOMFORTABLE Question.)
The second step you must get right for your videos to perform well on YouTube is keeping your title language to a 4th-grade reading level.
You might be thinking, “What the hell? Why would I dumb down my titles to look like an idiot??”
Dumb it down because you need viewers to skim your title and click on the video quickly.
If you make your titles too logical, most viewers will not understand what you’re saying at a glance (it takes more time to process challenging words than simple ones.)
Most YouTube users can read more challenging words, but it’s more difficult to do it when you’re quickly trying to find a video that you’re interested in watching.
A good thumbnail can make up for the lousy title you wrote, but you might as well try to create good thumbnails and titles that are guaranteed to emotionally spike the viewer into watching the video!
Overall, your Click-Through Rate is going to be one of the three most important metrics, with the other two being Watch Time and Audience Retention.
Click-Through Rate is determined by the number of impressions that have ‘clicked through’ and watch your video, thereby giving you a view for your video.
Building your community will give your content the support it needs to succeed out there in the wildness of the YouTube Algorithm.
Always be sure to interact with viewers who consistently pop up to support your channel, whether that’s in the live chat or the comments section. These fans who keep coming back for more will be your front line that sees your videos first when they go live.
The Algorithm is a recommendation system that will put your content in front of new and broader audiences if the video performs well. This, in turn, can leave you with a lower Click-Through Rate.
If your thumbnails look boring and don’t have a clean and refreshing look, how can you expect your audience to click through to your video?
It’s common sense at the end of the day, and you should be competing for attention on the homepage of YouTube. By creating thumbnails that can’t be ignored is how it’s done.
Creating your own process to generate high-quality thumbnails will give you a consistent, clean look. This process includes having professional pictures taken and setting up templates in photoshop.
Thumbnails are by far the most crucial piece in the puzzle for sending your Click-Through-Rate sky high!
Before anything else, if you had to focus on one element for improving Click-Through-Rate, it will always be thumbnails. You need to be getting more attention on YouTube’s homepage.
Do you want to learn how to bait your way to the top of the YouTube algorithm?
You do? Great! How about you click that red button down below and take the opportunity to 10x your channel to 100k subscribers.
It’s free and insanely easy to do with the right guidance!