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Yellow caption in Thumbnail - Should YOU do this for your YouTube videos?

In this blog post:

Maybe You have noticed it or not, but there is this trend of yellow captions in thumbnails. Sailing La Vagabond - the biggest sailing YouTube channel at this time - switched all their captions in their thumbnails of their previous 10 episodes from light orange, too bright yellow just a couple of weeks ago.


Want to know where this trend comes from and if you should start with this too?


Keep reading the blog post



YouTube SEO why use yellow captions
Yellow captions | Do or Don't?


Where do the Yellow Captions in YouTube vids come from?


Well, we don't know for sure, but we have a pretty good guess! And NETFLIX is the answer. Recently we saw that Netflix changed some of the standard thumbnails of their series and movies in certain categories to yellow.



And just to let you know, Netflix is constantly changing and testing their thumbnails to increase their CTR (click-through rate, how many times people click on the thumbnail to watch the movie or series) and WTR (watch time retention how long viewers keep watching a series or movie) on their platform.


If you think about it, it actually works just like YouTube and your channel. Number one reason why you should keep an eye out on Netflix if you are a YouTuber.


Who has suggested this approach to YouTube Thumbnails


One of the biggest YouTube management providers and experts at these times is the brain behind this simple and easy technic. It is Derral Eves also from the book: the YouTube formula - a must-read for every YouTuber (click here to see the other must-reads).



Derral Eves is not a big fan of SEO although he has a few clients who are extremely successful with this approach. His focus is far more on understanding not only the YouTube algorithm, but more importantly understanding your audience and your content.


He has this great strategy that is fully based on data driving feedback from YouTube and making sure you make your channel and your content easy to understand by the YouTube algorithm so she knows where and how to push your videos.


The only downside of this approach is that you need quite an amount of content, at least 100 videos to really understand your viewers and your own content directions.


We have fully incorporated the strategies from Derral Eves into the online courses and services we provide. We strongly believe in his approach but also and especially when you have a new or small channel, SEO can accelerate your growth tremendously in the first 12 months.


Something we highly believe in, especially since most channels stop after one or two years, and with a weekly vlog just after 2 years you can really start with the strategies of Derral Eves.


What is the impact


But back to the yellow caption in thumbnails. We have been watching Sailing La Vagabond and what their views are doing on their channel. So as said we noticed that a few weeks ago they changed all the thumbnails of their 10 previous videos into yellow captioned ones.


YouTube SEO yellow captions
Yellow captions | Sailing La Vagabond

And of course, that got our attention and as we are YouTube fanatics we kept a close eye on how their channel was performing since changing their thumbnail style. And what we see is an increase in their base of views. Which you can see below of the previous 30 days.


YouTube SEO Sailing La Vagabond analytics
Base view Sailing La Vagabond

This means that in general every month more people click on their thumbnails and watch their videos. As we don't have access to their analytics, which means we don't know if their CTR and WTR is increasing as well. We don't know if this actually is beneficial for the channel in the long term. Moneywise, ad income is directly connected to the number of views, so that is a big plus. But you don't want to end up with a lot of views but little to no dedicated subscribers.


YouTube SEO Sailing La Vagabond
Subscriber growth Sailing La Vagabond

As we look at their subscriber's growth, we don't see a baseline growth, but we don't always know if these figures are accurate. It looks like this function has some bugs, so we don't trust these insights fully.


PS: if you would like to have these insights as well - add vidIQ extension to your chrome.


In the end, it takes a while to really know the impact on the long term, so we will keep an eye out on their channel and how they are evolving.


Should you keep an eye on Netflix?


Most definitely yes. Netflix is focused on keeping their viewers as long as possible on their streaming server and is an expert at making thumbnails. They have whole teams, analysts and people who understand human behaviour to analyse their data and make sure that people keep watching their content.


THE 4 steps to successfully changing the style of your thumbnails on your YouTube videos


But how to do it right?


Step 1 - search Netflix

Find movies and series that fit within your niche and style, look at their thumbnails and which ones stand at the most and why. Select three.


Step 2 - research your niche

If you selected three, take a look at all the channels within your niche on YouTUbe and what they are doing. Select one of the three styles from Netflix that stands out out the most within your niche on YouTube.


Step 3 - trial and analyse

Then just try and stick to it for at least 3 months, and if you have the time, change all the thumbnails of your 10 previous videos as well.


Step 4 - decided based on your data

After doing this, keep an eye out for the CTR rate and average views on your channel. If your CTR increases, also on your previous videos, and your base of views is growing, you are doing it right!


Then check if you are gaining more subscribers and dedicated ones. Every YouTubers nightmare is to end up with a lot of subscribers but little to no views.


Did you apply yellow captions?

What do you think of applying yellow captions? What is the effect of applying it on your channel? Share it below and let's grow together.


Any questions - feel free to contact us.


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