The Numbers Behind the “Sexy Thumbnail” Effect

Here’s what happens when you make a video thumbnail provactive.

One of GOOD’s more popular videos shares the numbers behind internet porn in a pretty clever way. Considering the subject matter and the title, it’s of little surprise that since being published in 2007 the video has generated over 19 million views. Common sense dictates that choosing a sexy, shocking, or curiosity inducing preview image gets more people to click on a post, video or link. But just how drastic is the difference? We changed the thumbnail on our internet porn transparency and documented the results for the world to see. In the image below, you’ll see the previous thumbnail for this video, a close up of the actress’s face:

This thumbnail generated roughly 1500 views per day. On June 26th, 2015 the thumbnail was changed to the one of the more provocative frames in the short video:

As a result, views shot up nearly 400% on some days, sometimes generating 6000 views per day instead. Here are the results taken from YouTube analytics:

This isn’t shocking news, but hopefully it’s illuminating to see what a drastic impact such a simple change can have on making people want to watch something. Particularly the people who may be entering the sort of search queries that lead them to this video in the first place.