YouTube terms

Custom Thumbnails

Custom images that can be uploaded to serve as the video's thumbnail.

What is a custom thumbnail in YouTube?

A custom thumbnail in YouTube is a feature that allows creators to upload their own image to serve as the preview image for their video content. This image is what viewers see before they click to play the video. It's a crucial part of how viewers decide to watch a video, as it gives a snapshot of what the content might be about.

The thumbnail is usually designed to be engaging and relevant to the video's content to attract potential viewers. It can include elements like compelling images, text descriptions, or key frames from the video itself. YouTube creators often use custom thumbnails to make their content stand out and to give viewers a quick visual summary of the video's content.

How do I create a custom thumbnail for my YouTube video?

Creating a custom thumbnail for your YouTube video is a simple process. First, you need to sign in to YouTube Studio. From the left menu, select 'Content' and choose the video you want to add a thumbnail to. Click on the thumbnail section and upload an image from your device. The image should be in JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG format, and should not exceed 2MB. It should also have a resolution of 1280x720 pixels for the best display.

After uploading, you can adjust the positioning of your thumbnail to ensure it fits well within the frame. Once you're satisfied with how it looks, click on the 'Save' button to apply the changes. Remember, you need to verify your YouTube account to be able to upload custom thumbnails. If you haven't done this yet, you'll be prompted to do so.

Why can't I add a custom thumbnail on YouTube?

There could be several reasons why you're unable to add a custom thumbnail on YouTube. One of the most common reasons is that your account is not yet verified. YouTube requires users to verify their accounts before they can use certain features, including custom thumbnails. You can verify your account by following the instructions provided by YouTube, which usually involves receiving a verification code via text message or voice call.

Another possible reason is that your video may not meet YouTube's guidelines for custom thumbnails. YouTube has specific policies regarding the content of custom thumbnails, and if your thumbnail is deemed inappropriate or misleading, it may be rejected. Additionally, technical issues such as a slow internet connection or problems with the YouTube platform itself could also prevent you from adding a custom thumbnail. If you're still having trouble after verifying your account and ensuring your thumbnail meets YouTube's guidelines, you may want to reach out to YouTube's support team for assistance.

Are custom thumbnails on YouTube free?

Yes, custom thumbnails on YouTube are free. YouTube allows creators to upload custom thumbnails for their videos at no cost. This feature is available to all users, regardless of whether they have a free account or a premium subscription.

However, to access this feature, your account must be verified. This is also a free process. Once verified, you can choose a frame from your video as a thumbnail or upload a picture of your own. It's a useful tool for creators to attract viewers and give a glimpse of what the video content is about.

If you create and edit videos...

You should try - a screen recorder that doesn't compromise on speed or creativity.

Tella simplifies video creation: record, customize, and share in one place; combine separate clips and quickly remove mistakes; apply beautiful backgrounds, layouts, and effects with just a few clicks; share the video link or export in 4K.

With Tella, create YouTube videos, tutorial videos, and online courses that look amazing in minutes, not hours!

Tella screen recorder

< Back to YouTube glossary

Try Tella today!

Screen recording for creators — simple and powerful.

7-day free trial — no credit card required