It's tempting to use clickbait thumbnails, after all, it isn't prohibited by YouTube right? While YouTube doesn't explicitly prohibit "clickbait" thumbnails, using thumbnails that mislead your audience can actually hurt your YouTube videos. Here are the 5 reasons why:
1. Clickbait is not a long-term solution
Whether you’re using a misleading title or thumbnail, clickbait is an easy way to get people to watch your content. Unfortunately, even if they watch the whole video, they are less likely to subscribe to your channel. In fact, after a long period of time, clickbait may become annoying for loyal subscribers even if they tolerated them at first.
2. Penalization by the YouTube algorithm
To explain why, let's go through some official YouTube terminology:
- Impressions = How many times your video thumbnails are shown on YouTube
- Clickthrough-rate (CTR) = Proportion of your impressions that turn into views
- Average View Duration (AVD) = Average amount of time viewers watch your video
- The YouTube algorithm likes videos with high CTR and AVD. While clickbait thumbnails can boost your CTR. If your thumbnails are misleading, viewers will click away quickly and tank your AVD. A low ACD will be penalized by the YouTube algorithm.
3. Bad for building a brand
Clickbait are bad for building a brand.
Clickbait is often based on a lie. As such, it shouldn’t be used for creating first contact with potential clients.
4. Risk losing your subscribers
After a long period of time, clickbait may become annoying for loyal subscribers even if they tolerated them at first. Clickbait reduces your subscriber's perception of your authenticity.
5. Bad reputation and erodes trust
Clickbait can be seen as a harmless ploy to rack up more views, but in more severe cases, clickbait has been proven to be tied to the spread of fake news.