UPDATE: we released a tool that does the work for you. Check out our GIF Thumbnail Embed Generator tool!
Using a moving GIF as the thumbnail of your video is a fantastic way to grab a viewer’s attention. When used appropriately, GIF thumbnails can help boost your video play rates, meaning more eyes on your content.
The problem with trying to upload a GIF as your video thumbnail, as you might’ve noticed, is that Wistia doesn’t support moving GIFs. Because of this, we must create a little work-around by replacing the video thumbnail when the video is embedded somewhere.
So to be clear: this work-around only works on embeds on other sites, not on the video within Wistia (i.e. youraccount.wistia.com/medias/aabbccddee).
Replacing the video thumbnail
The embed code below is what allows you to embed your Wistia video anywhere with a GIF of your choice. There are just a few things you’ll need to change:
- Line 4: change YOUR_WISTIA_VIDEO_ID to the actual ID from your Wistia video’s URL (i.e. youraccount.wistia.com/medias/3js9dj2s4a).
- Line 6: change URL_TO_HOSTED_IMAGE to the actual URL of the GIF. Make sure the URL is contained within the quotes.
- Line 11: also change the ID here.
- Line 15: and here. Make sure the ID stays connected to “wistia_async_” by keeping the underscore there.
With your new embedding superpower, try to do some A/B testing. Compare a version with a static thumbnail versus one with a moving GIF and see if your play rates improve. Or even try testing different GIFs against each other. Go do something cool!
A couple examples
To help inspire you, here are a couple ways you could use GIFs as thumbnails to grab someone’s attention.