Add video thumbnails

Video thumbnails let viewers see a quick snapshot of your video as they're browsing YouTube. After your video is finished uploading, you can choose a thumbnail from the three options YouTube automatically generates, or upload your own.

Add or change a video thumbnail

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio beta.
  2. From the left menu, select Videos.
  3. Select a video by clicking on its title or thumbnail.
  4. On the Thumbnail tab, choose an autogenerated thumbnail and select Save.

You can also use the YouTube Studio app to add thumbnail to a video.

Get tips on making effective thumbnails and avoiding clickbait.

Create a custom video thumbnail

To upload custom thumbnails, you must have a verified account.

New videos

  1. Record or upload your video.
  2. At the end of the video processing stage in the upload interface, you will see an option to choose a Custom thumbnail under the "Video thumbnails" section.

Uploaded videos

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio beta.
  2. From the left menu, select Videos.
  3. Select a video by clicking on its title or thumbnail.
  4. Open the Thumbnail tab.
  5. Under “Custom thumbnail”, drag and drop an image file onto the grey area, or choose Select image file.
  6. Select Save.

Once you've added a custom thumbnail, you'll also see Download  and Delete  options.

Custom thumbnail best practices

Image size & resolution

Your custom thumbnail image should be as large as possible, as the image will also be used as the preview image in the embedded player. We recommend your custom thumbnails:

  • Have a resolution of 1280x720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels).
  • Be uploaded in image formats such as .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG. 
  • Remain under the 2MB limit. 
  • Try to use a 16:9 aspect ratio as it's the most used in YouTube players and previews.

Thumbnail policies

All custom thumbnail images must follow our Community Guidelines. Thumbnails that are sexually suggestive, violent, or graphic may cause your video to be age-restricted. Age-restricted partner videos will not have advertising served against them and will not appear on browse pages.

The ability to upload custom thumbnails may be revoked for creators who consistently use thumbnails that don't follow our guidelines. If your thumbnail privileges have been revoked, we will not be able to restore this privilege.

Why are my custom thumbnails disabled?

YouTube may disable custom thumbnails for certain search results when they're considered inappropriate for viewers.
To determine whether a thumbnail may be inappropriate, we consider, among other signals, audience retention, likes and dislikes, and viewer feedback
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