YouTube terms


The small image that represents your video in search results and recommendations.

What is a thumbnail in YouTube?

A thumbnail in YouTube is a small image that gives viewers a quick snapshot of what a video is about before they click on it. It serves as the cover photo for a video and is displayed in various places on the YouTube platform, such as in search results, on the homepage, and in the 'Up Next' section. Thumbnails are crucial for attracting viewers' attention and can significantly impact the number of views a video receives.

Creating an effective thumbnail involves combining compelling visuals with concise text to give potential viewers a clear idea of the video's content. YouTube creators often use thumbnails to highlight key moments or features from the video or to create intrigue. While YouTube can automatically generate a thumbnail from the uploaded video, creators also have the option to upload a custom thumbnail.

How to change the thumbnail on a YouTube video?

To change the thumbnail on a YouTube video, you first need to sign in to your YouTube account. Once you're signed in, click on your profile picture in the top right corner and select "YouTube Studio" from the dropdown menu. In the YouTube Studio dashboard, click on "Videos" in the left-hand menu. This will bring up a list of all your uploaded videos.

Find the video you want to change the thumbnail for and click on its title or thumbnail. This will take you to the video details page. Under the "Thumbnail" section, you can choose one of the auto-generated options or click on "Upload thumbnail" to use an image from your computer. Once you've selected or uploaded your new thumbnail, click on "Save" in the top right corner to apply the changes.

What is the ideal size for a YouTube thumbnail?

The ideal size for a YouTube thumbnail is 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall. This is according to YouTube's official guidelines, which recommend a resolution of 1280x720 (with a minimum width of 640 pixels), and an aspect ratio of 16:9, as it's the most used in YouTube players and previews.

However, it's important to note that the thumbnail should also have a file size under 2MB, and be in a format that's recognized by YouTube, such as .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG. The thumbnail should be clear, well-lit, and compelling, as it's one of the first things viewers see when they come across a video. It's also recommended to optimize the thumbnail for both desktop and mobile viewing.

Why is my YouTube thumbnail not showing?

There could be several reasons why your YouTube thumbnail is not showing. One common issue is that the thumbnail image may not meet YouTube's guidelines. Thumbnails should be in JPG, GIF, or PNG format and should not exceed 2MB in size. They should also have a resolution of 1280x720 pixels. If your thumbnail doesn't meet these requirements, YouTube may not display it.

Another possible reason is that there might be a delay in the thumbnail appearing due to YouTube's servers processing the image. This is especially true if you've just uploaded or changed the video. If this is the case, you may just need to wait a bit longer. If the problem persists, try clearing your browser's cache and cookies, as these can sometimes cause display issues. If none of these solutions work, it may be a good idea to reach out to YouTube's support team for further assistance.

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