Adding a custom thumbnail to your YouTube video can improve your click through rate, but how do you do it? Find out here.
Adding a custom thumbnail on your YouTube video is a great way to increase your video views. The thumbnail is the first thing people see when they come across your video in YouTube search, Google Search, recommendations or on your YouTube channel. A great custom thumbnail can tempt the viewer to click in and view the content of that video and be more powerful than the video title alone.
Verify your account
Before you can add a custom thumbnail to your YouTube video, you will need to verify your YouTube account. This is done by going to https://youtube.com/verify and connecting a mobile phone with your account. A code will be sent to your phone that you will need to enter on the screen, and once done you will have access to added features on your channel including being allowed to upload custom thumbnails, videos longer than 15 minutes and the ability to live stream.
Adding a custom thumbnail when uploading your video
Once you have a verified account and want to upload a new video and add a custom thumbnail alongside that, head back to the YouTube homepage and click the Create button in the top right corner. Choose Upload Video from the drop down menu.
Drag and drop the video of your choice or use the Select Files button to browse to a file on your PC.
Once you select a file, it will begin uploading, and it’s at this point you can upload a custom thumbnail as well as enter the other details about your video, such as the title & description.
Just below the Description section will be a button saying Upload Thumbnail. Click this to choose an image from your PC to use as the thumbnail and upload it. The pop-up will refresh and show the thumbnail you chose as the image on the video preview on the right hand side.
When you are done and with the rest of the video details, publish the video and it will include the custom thumbnail you chose. That’s it!
Adding a custom thumbnail to a video that’s already uploaded
If you have already uploaded your video to YouTube and it’s live, but you wish to add a new custom thumbnail or change the one that is currently there, then you can do that too.
From the YouTube homepage, click on your profile photo / channel icon in the very top right corner. Choose YouTube Studio from the drop down menu options.
On the left hand side click the Content button. This will bring up a list of the videos that you have uploaded to YouTube. For the video you wish to add /change the custom thumbnail for click the pencil icon to the right of the current thumbnail, underneath the title. This will bring up the Details page.
If you don’t currently have a custom thumbnail added on this video, you will see a button underneath the Description section that says Upload Thumbnail. Click on this to choose an image from your PC to add as the custom thumbnail.
If you do already have a custom thumbnail added on your video and you want to change it, then hover over the current custom thumbnail and a three dot icon menu will appear. Clicking this will bring up two options: Change and Download. Download the image first so you don’t lose it when you change it, and then click the Change button to select a new image from your PC to use as the custom thumbnail.
Once you have chosen your new image, click the Save button in the top right of the page, and the new thumbnail will take effect. It might take a few minutes for the new thumbnail to appear in YouTube search and on your YouTube channel.
Custom Thumbnail Tips
I’ll be writing a guide on creating the perfect custom thumbnail sometime in the future, but for now here are a few tips to bear in mind when creating yours:
- Use oversized text so that it is visible on all screen sizes and in all places that the video thumbnail appears.
- Use a photo that clearly demonstrates what is going on in your video. Don’t be misleading with your custom thumbnail, as this will lead to viewers clicking away from your video after it starts leading to a low audience retention rate.
- Use a large image such as 1920×1080 resolution so that the thumbnail is nice and clear at all screen sizes and looks great.