Helping The Bootstrapped Founder grow over 500% on YouTube in 2023.

Arvid Kahl is a founder, a writer, a software developer, and the owner of The Bootstrapped Founder (TBF). We've worked with Arvid since December 2022 as a thumbnail designer and an audio and video editor for his newsletter, podcast, and YouTube channel.

We have helped grow his YouTube channel by adding more value and improving the overall production quality of the videos. Since then, TBF has grown from 990 to over 6,200 subscribers.

Here's an overview of how we've helped Arvid get there.


Subscriber growth since December 2022


Average view duration since December 2022

An example of thumbnail design for The Bootstrapped Founder An example of thumbnail design for The Bootstrapped Founder

Work we did for The Bootstrapped Founder.

Audio and video.

  • Video editing

  • Optimizing audio for YouTube

  • Animation


  • Thumbnail design

  • A/B testing

  • Branding


  • Selecting and producing clips

  • Topic ideation

  • Finding and preparing guests

Increasing the production quality of videos.

Since taking over the audio and video editing of TBF's videos, we've made dozens of tweaks and improvements to make each episode more engaging.

One of our favorite improvements is custom transitions between segments. Each video now has a branded transition between the intro, the main content, the outro, and the end of the video.

We've also added transitions to the appearance and disappearance of name tags and the main view.

In recent videos, we've added visual improvements to keep people watching for longer. In the examples above, the guest's name appears during the intro, and Arvid swipes away a dashboard card to make a point.

Better YouTube video thumbnails.

The Bootstrapped Founder releases two videos per week, which means we've designed over 120 thumbnails since December 2022. Here's what we've done to improve TBF's YouTube thumbnails.

Thumbnail design is the first thing we did for TBF, and you can see an immediate effect on his subscriber count.

Graph showing the growth of The Bootstrapped Founder's subscriber count since working together with Ask a Designer

A/B tests to find what works best.

We do recurring A/B tests on The Bootstrapped Founder to discover what thumbnails convert best and how to improve their videos' engagement and average view duration.

Both are important to understand for channel and revenue growth. Let's take a look at two examples of our A/B testing below.

Increasing the average view duration of a video.

One great example of such an A/B test was adding a countdown to the bottom right corner of the episode intro.

Based on our experience in design and user psychology, we expected a countdown to capture the viewer's attention for longer, which would be positive for numerous reasons.

To see if it worked, we used the countdown for six videos and compared the average view duration (AVD) of those six videos to the six videos before we started using the countdown.

A/B test with the countdown animation included A/B test without the countdown animation

Since including the countdown, the AVD has moved up from 15% to 17.6%. That's an increase of 2.6%. The overall improvement in AVD since 2022 is 3.6%, which is even better.

This is a very valuable increase for a YouTube channel because it means more people are watching your videos for a longer time, which will likely increase brand awareness, sales, and subscribers.

Increasing the click-through-rate (CTR) of a YouTube thumbnail.

Another area where we've done recurring A/B testing is video thumbnails. We test multiple thumbnails to find which one converts best. Each thumbnail is tested for seven days to give us enough data to analyse.

For example, we have checked the CTR of thumbnails where we (don't) include a visual title.

As in the previous example, we've tried this idea in several videos. Here's an example of two thumbnails for Arvid's interview with Tony Dinh.

An example of A/B tests for YouTube thumbnails An example of A/B tests for YouTube thumbnails

We've seen that thumbnails with text perform better than thumbnails without text. As a result, we've included a title as part of TBF's default thumbnail guidelines because it converts better for his audience.

We conduct recurring A/B tests to find guidelines like the example above for future thumbnails. They help create brand consistency and a better CTR for The Bootstrapped Founder's videos.

Future plans.

Working together with The Bootstrapped Founder continues to this day, and we have a lot more in store.

In the upcoming weeks and months, we will work on color grading, adding more visuals to the interview episodes, and updating the intro and outro of each video.

You can see the improvements we make each week if you look over on The Bootstrapped Founder's YouTube channel.

Featured services.

This case study is an excellent example of what Ask a Designer can do to help content creators grow and stand out.

Here's an overview of the services mentioned in this case study.

Thumbnail design

One thumbnail

Try out our service for one of your upcoming videos, posts, or podcast episodes.

129 USD


For content creators

Two videos per week

Perfect for content creators on a schedule.

  • Video + thumbnail design

  • Includes A/B testing

  • Pause or cancel at any time

3,999 USD/month

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Looking for a service that includes more thumbnails, less videos, or another configuration? Please reach out. We're sure we can be of help.