This is a guest post from Mitt Ray, founder of Social Marketing Writing.
One of the most important factors to focus on while building your YouTube channel is subscribers. More subscribers will lead to more people being alerted when you publish new videos. This will of course drive up a lot of initial views.
But it can also help you gain a lot of views later. Videos that get more views rank higher up in YouTube’s search results, as found by this study from Backlinko. So, if you optimize your videos with the right keywords and your subscribers help you gain views instantly, you will quickly climb up the rankings and generate even more views.
One way to get more subscribers is to optimize your channel with visuals that can help drive more attention to your subscribe button. In this post I am going to detail the different types of visuals you can use to get more YouTube subscribers.
Have you ever noticed the little popups that appear on a YouTube video right near the ending? They usually ask you to check out another video or a playlist or subscribe. This is the end card and those popups are known as end card elements.
The end card can be added to the last 5 to 20 seconds of a YouTube video. Most channels just place these elements on top of the ending video, but for best results you should use a still background image as it reduces distractions and drives attention to the main elements.
So, start by creating the YouTube end card background image using a tool like Canva. Just create a simple background with your palette colours and use placeholders for the different elements. You can then add this background to the last few seconds of the video and then place the elements using YouTube Studio’s editor.
You will first need to pick a template with or without elements as you can see in the above screenshot. After that you can add more elements.
The different elements you can add are link (to your website), subscribe button, a recommended playlist, a recommended video and channel (as you can promote a channel other than yours). Some of the elements like playlists and recommended videos can be added more than once.
You shouldn’t add all the elements to each and every video. Just stick to 2 to 4 as too many options can lead to decision fatigue. As the main goal here is to drive more subscribers make sure you add a subscribe element and place it in a conspicuous location and then add 1 to 3 other elements.
A good example is the below end card from Fame Order. As you can see, they placed the subscribe element right in the center and they also placed an arrow pointing towards the element along with the call to action "Subscribe."
There are recommended videos placed on either side of the subscribe element, but as you can see your immediate attention is drawn towards the subscribe button.
Another good example is this end card from Thrillist. Here they use a background with some slight motion that draws the attention to the subscribe button, instead of a completely still one.
You can download free end card templates (for Canva) on my website. I share them in my guide on How to Create YouTube End Cards. In the guide I show you how to customize these templates and then use them in your videos to drive more views, traffic and subscribers.
The thumbnail image is the image that appears on the videos when you see them in the YouTube feed or search results. While they won’t help you directly convert people to subscribers, they can attract more attention and drive more viewers, who will eventually convert to subscribers when they get to the end card.
You can find some good ideas on how to do this by checking out HBO’s YouTube channel. For example, here are the thumbnails they use for clips from one of their TV shows:
As you can see, they label each thumbnail, using overlay text, with the name of the show and the type of video (i.e. whether it is an official clip, behind the scenes video, etc.). These extra details can attract more attention and views.
Creating the thumbnail image is easy. All you need to do is take a still from the video as the background photo. The YouTube thumbnail size should be 1280 X 720 pixels. So, make sure the background image you pick is of this size.
Then place some overlay text over it using a tool like Canva. The simplest thing you can do is add the video title. If you have already done the hard work of writing a persuasive title, this will do the job. But be careful to stick to the same font style for all your videos, or the series if this video is part of a series.
Again, check out HBO’s YouTube channel for some ideas. They use different fonts for different series.
The banner image, also known as the channel art image, is the image that appears right at the top of your YouTube channel. You can follow a similar design process here like you do so with the thumbnail image, where you start with a background image and add overlay text that either asks people to subscribe or watch videos. The image needs to be 2560 X 1440 pixels in size.
There are two ways to use your channel art to gain more subscribers. The first is the direct method where you promote your channel in the banner and ask people to subscribe, as in this great example is this banner image from Ivan on Tech.
As you can see, Ivan asks people to "Subscribe for Daily Videos" and he only displays the link to his YouTube channel in the links section. This will get him more subscribers.
You can also use your channel art image to promote your videos and drive more views, as in the banner on the All Recipes YouTube channel. As you can see in the below screenshot, they are promoting videos from two of their hosts. They included the photos of the hosts, the names of their shows and the days on which their videos are published.
Talking about your videos will encourage people to not only view the videos from these hosts immediately, but also to also subscribe as they will get alerted when these videos are live.
These are the 3 types of images that can help you get more subscribers on YouTube. Ready to get started?
Start by creating the more conversion-focused images like the end card. After that, you can create the thumbnail images and the banner. These won’t drive subscribers directly, but they can help you get more views. The video and the end card will take care of converting the views into subscribers.
To keep your channel on-brand, keep in mind that these YouTube images should be consistent. You can easily do this by using the same font, colour palette, spacing, etc. for each of your videos.
To learn more about YouTube, you can check out the YouTube Marketing 101 Guide. Good luck, and I hope these images lead to lots of new YouTube subscribers!