The faces on YouTube thumbnails might start to look a bit different. A lot of thumbnails feature a person with an open mouth in shock, awe, excitement, or horror because of a belief that the open-mouth face entices people to click on a video. But MrBeast, the individual with the most subscribers on YouTube, said Wednesday that he’s starting to see longer watch times on videos where his thumbnail face has a closed mouth instead of an open one.
You can see his results for yourself thanks to some screenshots he shared on X (formerly Twitter) of what appears to be YouTube’s creator dashboard. The screenshots don’t include numbers about differences in watch time (and that metric doesn’t necessarily translate to more views), but they all show that the thumbnails where MrBeast has a closed mouth are a “winner” over the one where he has an open one. (Generally, in the closed-mouth thumbnails, MrBeast is smiling.)
At least a dozen of MrBeast’s recent videos use thumbnails with closed mouths. Many appear to have switched over recently; looking at a Wayback Machine archive from September 1st, most of the videos still featured thumbnails with open mouths.
MrBeast’s video archive as of September 6th (left) and as of September 1st (right).
MrBeast attributes the newly added ability to test YouTube thumbnails as the reason he was able to see which worked best. As of June, YouTube said the test of the A / B testing feature was available to “a few hundred creators” and will launch broadly next year.
Given MrBeast’s enormous influence on the YouTube landscape, it seems likely that a lot of creators will be trying closed-mouth thumbnails for themselves very soon. Hope everybody has been brushing their teeth.