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. 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. Under “Thumbnail”, select Choose custom thumbnail.
  5. Choose the file you’d like to use as your custom thumbnail.
  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. Selecting a thumbnail that shows nudity or sexually provocative content, is considered hate speech, portrays violence, or is considered harmful or dangerous may result in the rejection of your thumbnail and a strike on your account. Repeat offenses may lead to the removal of your custom thumbnail privileges for 30 days and, ultimately, account termination. Learn more about Community Guidelines strikes.
If a strike is issued, you'll get an email and see an alert in your Channel Settings the next time you sign in to YouTube. You can appeal the strike if you think your thumbnails don’t violate the YouTube Community Guidelines. If your appeal is approved and you haven’t already replaced the thumbnail, we may restore it.

Why are my custom thumbnails disabled?

YouTube may disable custom thumbnails for certain search results when they're considered inappropriate for viewers.
All custom thumbnail images must follow our Community Guidelines.
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