Graph of YouTube click-through rate, trending upwardsYouTube Channel Growth

How to increase your YouTube click-through rate

Matt Phelps

Like all of us, you probably want more views on your YouTube channel.

You've done all the work of making a good video.

Now you need people to watch it because you need that sweet watch time.

One of the low-hanging fruits of getting more views on YouTube is to increase the number of people that click on it when they either see it in a YouTube search or YouTube discover.

Let's look at some simple changes you can make to your YouTube video to increase the chance of people watching your video.

As always, in order to improve, we need to know how to measure first to decide if what we're doing is working or not.

Having a good CTR on YouTube can help you make searching one of your main traffic sources on YouTube.

This has worked really well for me as I have gotten over a million viewers on my video with only 25k subscribers.

High YouTube CTR video

Let's dive into the details 👇

What does CTR mean?

CTR stands for Click-through rate. It's the percentage of people that click on your video.

To calculate the Click-through rate, you will want to take the number of clicks and divide them by the number of impressions and multiply that by 100.

Number of clicks / Number of impressions x 100 = CTR

Simple example: If you get 1000 impressions on one of your videos and those lead to 20 clicks, you have a CTR of 2%.

You can find this value in the "reach" tab of your analytics in YouTube studio. Now, if this will result in a long average view duration depends on your video, but this is a story for another article. :)

YouTube sometimes also calls this impressions click-through rate in their help articles, it means the same.

Here are some other terms that you should know when analyzing your CTR and the watch time that comes out of them.

Useful metrics to know when improving YouTube CTR

What is a good YouTube click-through rate?

Good click-through rates will depend on your specific niche and the size of your channel and how your audience finds you.

One easy comparison that you have is your own videos and their CTR, so if you can beat your own video average, you're making progress.

YouTube says that 50% of channels have a 2-10% CTR. You can also use that as a benchmark, but especially as a smaller creator, it's probably good to focus on improving yourself first.

Graph of YouTube CTR, trending upwards

What can I do to increase the click-through rate?

Viewers are much more likely to click a video with a good thumbnail.

This is because humans tend to be very visual and, as we know, an image speaks louder than 1000 words ;)

It's also the first thing they will see when scrolling through YouTube, that helps.

For example, compare the following two thumbnails, which one grabs your attention more?

Boring and interesting YouTube thumbnail comparison

But your title also plays a big role.

And more importantly, they need to make sense together, you might get away with a bit of clickbait, but if you're after sustainable growth, make sure to not show something that's not in your video.

So, if they look like this thumbnail 👇 you're doing something wrong.

Bad clickbait thumbnail example

Let's go into some tips and tricks on how you can grow your channel that you can apply to your new videos to help you create thumbnails and titles that help raise your click-through rate ctr.

Make a great thumbnail image

So... What makes a great thumbnail, exactly?

  • Use the right resolution for your thumbnails and good quality pictures
  • Use eye-grabbing colors
  • If you add text to your thumbnails, make sure it's bold and easy to read
  • Focus on telling a coherent story with your thumbnail and title
  • Compare your thumbnail to other creators
  • Stay on brand (if you have existing subscribers)

A professional-looking thumbnail is a must these days, so make sure to spend some time on getting this right.

If you want some inspiration, look at your favorite creator with a lot of subscribers, chances are they put a lot of work into optimizing their thumbnails to be consistent and optimized for high click-through rates.

Here are some examples from some channels I follow that talk about marketing.

Best YouTube Thumbnail Images examples

Add a catchy YouTube video title

Another thing people see when scrolling through YouTube is the video title. Although it's much smaller than the image and draws less attention immediately, having a great title also helps with the CTR on YouTube.

If you think about how people evaluate search results on Google, the title plays a much bigger role, but apart from click-through rate you also want to have a title that is keyword packed.

As outlined in my other article on my YouTube channel journey I tell you how important it is to have the keyword people search for in your title as it will lead to more clicks.

An example of a search with great video titles is 👇.

YouTube videos with great titles in search

How does a high CTR on YouTube help me?

It's easy. If you get people to click on your video, you get more views. If you make great content, this should translate into more watch time.

It should also help you grow your audience because the more often people click one of your thumbnails, the more likely they are to become your subscribers.

To find out how your impressions click-through rate translates to watch time, you should check the report that YouTube offers in YouTube analytics.

This will show you exactly if people go from an impression on your video to clicking it and how much watch time that generated for your channel.

Check out the screenshot below for a sample report 👇

Impressions click through rate youtube to watch time report

For more information on this, check out the official help section from Google.

YouTube thumbnail Tools

There's a variety of tools that help you make great thumbnails. They can be split into two categories. Tools that help you make thumbnails for your YouTube videos, and tools that will let you preview / compare your video thumbnail with other channels.

Some of them are free, others paid some or YouTube specific and others can also be used for other social media platforms.

Thumbnail makers

VidIQ YouTube video thumbnail generatorTubeBuddy YouTube video thumbnail generator

If you want more info on these tools or discover more, check out this article about the 15 best YouTube thumbnail makers.

Other video thumbnail tools

VidIQ has a nifty tool to preview how your video thumbnails will look in the search results.

Video thumbnail preview tool

More resources

Thanks for reading this article on how to get more people to click on your video.

We've previously covered how to have better chances at appearing in a YouTube search, if you're unfamiliar with YouTube SEO you should check out our articles on why SEO is so important and how transcripts help you rank.

If you're just getting started with your channel and want to see how I grew my channel in a data-driven way, then check out all my secrets to growing your YouTube channel and getting a lot of video views with minimum effort.

Good luck with your channel 🚀

Who am I?

I'm Matt. I used data-driven insights from my career as a Data Analyst to leverage YouTube analytics to optimize my video content and hit 23k subs with 12 videos.

Matt YouTube channel thumbnails screenshot

Furthermore, I love to analyze search volume and am always on the lookout for keyword ideas and am obsessed with creating the best YouTube thumbnail for my videos.

I built a tool for adding transcripts/subtitles to your videos for creators like you and me because I didn't want to pay a fortune.

If you want to get the full scoop on how I managed to grow my channel with just 10 YouTube videos, check out my article about how to grow your YouTube channel fast where I lay out all my tips and tricks for doing keyword research and getting the most organic search volume from the Google search engines 🤓

If you use any of the advice to create a great YouTube thumbnail outlined in this post, I'd love to hear your story.

Matt Phelps

my channel

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