Why Mr. Beast Spends 10K Per Thumbnail

& How You Can Replicate His Formula for Free!

Emily Olson
2 min readApr 6, 2023
Created by Author in Canva

Does spending 10K per thumbnail design seem like a LOT?

Considering that in 2020, Mr. Beast reportedly went from spending just $10,000 per video to almost $300,000 per video to produce…

now 10k doesn’t seem so much anymore does it?

He started his channel like many others, when he was 13 back in 2012, and he posted for years before he gained real traction.

That’s how YouTube works: The longer you work at it, the better you get.

Gradually, and then suddenly…

  • Mr Beast now has 176 million Subscribers on YouTube across his 6 YouTube channels.
  • His main channel gets about a billion views per month.
  • He spends roughly $96 million dollars per year making videos. 🫠
  • He raised more than $20 million to plant trees around the world & more than $30 million to remove sea trash. He’s known as “YouTube’s biggest philanthropist.”

Let’s look at Mr. Beast’s Thumbnail Formula 🤔

Thumbnails are the movie poster to your video: It tells the viewer what the video is about, and if it’s worth watching.

Mr. Beast says thumbnails must have 3 elements. They must be:

  1. Simple
  2. Colorful
  3. Visual

His face is:

  • smoothed,
  • emotive (creating hype and intrigue)
  • looks straight at the camera (making eye contact with the viewer),
  • and his face usually takes up a large part of the 1280 x 1920 thumbnail.

They have a kind of cartoon-like quality, with the brightness and saturation turned up.

Here Are a Few Examples of His Most Successful Thumbnails

This video has 397 million views (as of 2023):

This video has 211 million views:

This video has 190 million views:

Here are a few more strategies he uses:

  • Photoshop: Mr. Beast says a great strategy to know if your thumbnail is good is to simply photoshop it on the YouTube homepage to see how it looks among other videos. Also make sure it looks good on mobile.
  • Reinvest: He reinvests everything he makes back into his channel to create larger stunts, higher-quality sets, fast editing, & extravagant “feel good” giveaways.
  • No Text: Very few of his thumbnails have text. Don’t repeat your title on the thumbnail, no text is necessary on the thumbnail if your image tells a good story.
  • Test: Swap out thumbnails if your video isn’t performing. It’s smart to make 2–3 versions of your thumbnail per upload to have options.
  • Promise: Keep your promise and don’t clickbait. Click-baiting is a short-term strategy that leads to loss of trust with your viewers long-term. Deliver on the title and thumbnail in your video!

I’ll leave you with my favorite piece of advice he gives to aspiring creators:

“Create 100 videos, and improve just 1 thing about your video each time.“ Start small, get better, keep going.