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Rene’s Top Five on YouTube: May 9, 2024 edition

These are the top 5 things I saw this week.

I’m your friendly neighborhood Creator Liaison and I’ve scoured YouTube, X/Twitter, Instagram, Threads, to find you the most impactful stories of the week! So, let’s go!

🌄 Thumbnails: This week’s Creator Tips Shorts series are all about thumbnails — concepts, consistency, clarity, prototyping, and complementing. In other words, how to think about thumbnails, make sure people who enjoyed your last video will click on the next one, catch people’s attention, go from idea to finished art, and then adding that extra flare of text. And they’re all from Chucky, who just happens to handle all the thumbnails for this YouTube channel you might have heard of called MrBeast. Check them all out on YouTube Liaison!

🚗 YouTube… car? YouTube’s CEO, Neal Mohan, when not jumping in tiny trucks to get mochas with moguls, seems to be enjoying watching YouTube’s CBO, Mary Ellen Coe, get pitched several… remarkable ideas for new features from none other than BenOfTheWeek. Including, yes, a YouTube Car. (Whole new meaning to auto-play?) Don’t ask, just enjoy!

🕺 Eventful! May is fun for a huge variety of reasons, but two of the biggest for me personally are Google I/O, which kicks off on May 14 in Mountain View, California, and YouTube BrandCast, coming at us on May 15, in New York, New York. No spoilers on what I’ll be up to, but whenever creators hit events, I’m in my happy place. So, safe to say stay tuned for much, much more!

🙋Q&A: “Does YouTube really need thumbnails?” That’s an interesting question! People have effectively limitless choice but incredibly limited time. That means we can’t watch every video or movie, or read every book or magazine. We have to choose. And since choosing can be tough and time-consuming in its own right, things like covers for books and magazines, posters for movies, and thumbnails for videos have evolved to try and help us make that choice. They provide glanceable, visual promises about what we’ll find inside, and we tend to choose the ones that entice us the most. (Sometimes aided by titles or headlines, descriptions or summaries.) Of course, trailers have evolved to help with that decision making as well, and also auto-play on YouTube, which starts showing the beginning or a highlighted section of the video, as a way to help choose as well. I’m guessing the question stems, in part, from the idea that “if there weren’t thumbnails more people would watch me than someone who makes better thumbnails!” but my guess is more people would just be frustrated trying to choose and ultimately watch less overall — or switch to a format that doesn’t require that type or choice, like the Shorts feed.

📈 Tip of the Week: If you’re starting up a membership section on YouTube and are trying to figure out what to put in it, you have a few major options: 1) more of your topic, 2) more of yourself, or 3) more of both. More of your topic could include deeper dives for your most dedicated fans, but also live streams of your recordings, behind-the-scenes Shorts, early access to rough or fully cut videos, and more. More of you can include other things you’re interested in, like if your channel is about tech but you travel a lot to make that content, your membership could include snippets from your trips and adventures along the way. Talk to your audience, experiment, and see what works. Ultimately, you want to land on something that’s meaningful and valuable for your members and also sustainable and profitable for you. Start simple, listen to feedback, experiment, and grow from there!

Now get with the contenting!