Learn How A/B Testing Can Increase YouTube CTR

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Carla Marshall
February 25, 2022

Understanding which thumbnails drive traffic to your videos is essential if you want to take your channel to the next level.

One of the significant wants from creators is the ability to A/B test thumbnails. While this feature isn’t available on YouTube, if you have a TubeBuddy Legend license, you can start testing to find your best thumbnails today!

The Secret to YouTube CTR Success: A Killer Custom Thumbnail

You might be wondering why A/B testing custom thumbnails is even important. The reason is pretty apparent. The main factor for getting your videos discovered on YouTube and getting more traffic is click-through rate (CTR). And your thumbnail is directly related to your click-through rate. 

What is CTR? 

It’s the number of people who are shown your video versus the number of people who clicked through to that video. 

The higher the click-through rate, the better that video will perform. YouTube will see that more people will click when they suggest it.

In a video exclusively made for TubeBuddy, creator Jessica Stansberry walks through the process of split testing a custom thumbnail to identify which one leads to more clicks on your video. 

She also breaks down the importance of a killer thumbnail for a good YouTube CTR:

How to Identify the Best Custom Thumbnail for Your Video

The most crucial factor on whether or not someone clicks on a video when it is shown to them on their homepage or their subscription feed is your thumbnail. Of course, your title plays a role here too, but for the most part, the thumbnail is the thing you need to focus on when it comes to getting a higher click-through rate.

Picking the right thumbnail could literally make or break the success of your video. Split testing thumbnails can help you put your best foot forward. If you’re on TubeBuddy’s Legend Plan, you can easily identify which one of two thumbnails is outperforming the other. And it’s so easy!

Just upload your video in the usual way, and add a custom thumbnail. Then log into TubeBuddy, and select ‘Video A/B Testing’ from the dashboard. Then just click on ‘Create A/B Test Now’.

A new window will open, and from here, you can select which video you want to test a thumbnail for. You can run a test on a published video but also on an unlisted or scheduled video.

Once you find the video you want to do an A/B test on, TubeBuddy will ask you which kind of A/B test you want to do. This post is focused on thumbnails, but you can also A/B test your titles, tags, and descriptions too!

So, select a thumbnail and then decide how long you want to run the test.

Creator Tip: You can choose to run the test for a set amount of time. You can also tell TubeBuddy you want it to run until the statistics show that one of the thumbnails is outperforming the other. You can also stop the test at any time if it becomes evident that one thumbnail is outperforming the other.

Now upload the other thumbnail and hit ‘Start Test.’ TubeBuddy will automatically begin to switch out your thumbnail every 24 hours for the duration of the test.

With feedback regarding click-through rate, average view duration, watch time, and so much more, you can make an educated decision between the two thumbnails on which one is outperforming the other. 

And as it’s switching out your thumbnails, it will also be grabbing the analytics that matter. So what does this look like in real life? Below you can see that we ran an A/B test on thumbnails for “YouTube Playlist Tutorial | Optimize playlists to EARN MORE VIEWS!”

According to the analytics, the original thumbnail (the A in A/B testing) outperformed the variation (the B in A/B testing) by 3.8%. That’s golden data for any creator.

The Value of A/B Testing for YouTube CTR

If you want to get the maximum CTR on any given video, A/B testing is an invaluable feature that will provide data on what’s working and what can be improved. Sign up for a TubeBuddy Legend license today to take full advantage of this unique tool.

Stay tuned to learn how to A/B test your titles, descriptions, and tags too. You will be fully armed with the knowledge you need to succeed. 

Carla Marshall Author

Carla Marshall

Carla Marshall is the Content Marketing Manager at TubeBuddy. She has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, & SEO.