What makes TikTok thumbnails successful? Do videos with images that spark certain emotions and use certain colors tend to have higher view counts and engagement rates? How does genre and the use of text impact performance?

To find out, Adobe Express analyzed the thumbnails of 300 TikToks across 12 genres. Each TikTok analyzed had at least 500,000 views.

The researchers found that TikToks with thumbnails that inspired the primary response of anger had the highest average engagement rate and second-highest average view count (behind those that inspired surprise).

TikTok enagement by emotional response to thumbnail image

For the 12 genres examined in the study, TikToks with thumbnails that featured animals had the highest average view count and second-highest average engagement rate (behind those that featured celebrities).

TikTok interactions by genre

Among the TikToks examined, those with thumbnails that primarily featured the colors of orange and purple had the highest average engagement rates. TikToks with brown thumbnails had the highest average view count.

TikTok interactions by primary thumbnail color

The researchers found that thumbnails that included text had a 19.5% higher engagement rate compared with those that didn't. However, when more than 15 words were used, engagement dropped.

TikTok thumbnails with text engagement

About the research: The report was based on analysis of the thumbnails of 300 popular TikToks across 12 genres.

Enter your email address to continue reading

Anger and Animals: What Makes TikTok Thumbnails Successful

Don't worry...it's free!

Already a member? Sign in now.

Sign in with your preferred account, below.

Did you like this article?
Know someone who would enjoy it too? Share with your friends, free of charge, no sign up required! Simply share this link, and they will get instant access…
  • Copy Link

  • Email

  • Twitter

  • Facebook

  • Pinterest

  • Linkedin

  • AI


image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji