How to Add a Custom Thumbnail to Your YouTube Videos

You can make your videos more attractive by placing custom thumbnail images that will be displayed as the cover images on your videos. In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to add a custom thumbnail image to a YouTube video.

Thumbnail Blaster - Video Thumbnail Creation Software

YouTube makes use of thumbnail images to represent the videos on their platform on search result pages, on recommendation lists, on channel video lists and on other places. The thumbnail is kind of a snapshot that is used to give the viewers a quick idea about what the content of the video is about and what they can expect to see in the video. The use of thumbnails is also a nice way to attract potential viewers to watch your videos by making use of catchy snapshots of your videos or by adding interesting, descriptive headlines.

By default, when you upload a video to your YouTube channel, the system automatically generates three sample video thumbnails by taking snapshots from the video at random times. This is a quite useful feature if you are happy with what the system created as a thumbnail and if you think the image represents your video well. However, you also have the option of adding a custom thumbnail image to distinguish your video from the other videos and to add a "call to watch".

TIP: Note that, in order to be able to add custom thumbnails to your videos, your YouTube account/channel needs to be verified and it should be in good standing. See this support article to learn more.

Some of the recommendations for the custom thumbnail images are to have them in JPG, PNG, BMP or GIF formats (if you need to convert images, you can use one of these image conversion tools), to keep them below 2MB in size and in 1280px x 720px dimensions (this is the recommended size but you can have 640px as minimum width).

The video thumbnail images, in this case the custom images you will add, will also be displayed on YouTube video embeds on third party sites (if you allowed your videos to be embedded), hence making use of a nicely sized thumbnail image is highly recommended.

As a thumbnail image, you don't need to use a snapshot from your video but it is better to keep the image related to the video content, not be deceptive and stay within the community guidelines of YouTube. You can use a screenshot, a stock photo or a photo you take with your smartphone as you wish.

TIP: You can download free public domain images and free vector images to use in your custom thumbnails.

How to Add a Custom Thumbnail Image to a YouTube Video

You can add a custom video thumbnail to your video at the time of the upload, just after the video is processed, or at a later time by editing the video via your Creator Studio.

STEP 1: Regardless of when you add the thumbnail image, make sure your video and the thumbnail image are ready.

STEP 2: On the Upload page or on the video Edit page, click the Custom thumbnail button to the right of the Video Thumbnails section.

How To Add A Custom Thumbnail To Your YouTube Videos - 1

STEP 3: Select the thumbnail image you prepared on your computer. It will be directly uploaded and shown in the preview of the video like the following:

How To Add A Custom Thumbnail To Your YouTube Videos - 2

STEP 4: Once the thumbnail is ready, click Publish if you are on the Upload page or Save Changes if you are on the Edit page.

Your video thumbnail will be saved and it will be displayed on your video from now on.

This is how you can easily add a custom thumbnail image to your YouTube videos and I hope that this tutorial was helpful to you.


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