What is a Custom Thumbnail on a YouTube Video?

A custom thumbnail is the representative image of your YouTube video. This YouTube custom thumbnail could be a snapshot of your own video, an entirely made up image or a graphic design.

YouTube Custom Thumbnails YouTube Playlist

Are Custom Thumbnails Important for your YouTube Videos?

Heck yes. Custom thumbnail is one of the most important part of your YouTube video when it comes to visibility and exposure of your videos. Custom thumbnails can give the viewer an apt visual representation of what they can expect in a particular video. If you can create a custom thumbnail which resonates with the keyword in the title and better yet, the exact visual representation, the thumbnail itself can compete with other videos with the same title and win viewership. Custom thumbnail contributes to a lot of essential factors but the most important one to be mentioned is the Click through rate.

To take you to the technical aspect of YouTube custom thumbnails, let me explain Click through rate really quick here. It refers to the number of people clicking on to your video (thumbnails) in contrast to the number of times your video is displayed. So if you have a catchy thumbnail which can draw eyeballs to it, you’ll arose the viewer’s curiosity, resulting in more clicks on to your video.

This comes more practical when your videos start to show up as “related videos” on other people’s videos. Once a viewer finishes watching a video form another channel, your compelling thumbnails sits right beside for them to click on to. If your thumbnail is compelling enough, viewers will consistently click on to your video. This would ultimately signal YouTube that your video which is shown right beside is more significant to the other video people were watching. Ultimately this results in your video being bumped up to the top list of related video. Better yet, the new “Autoplay” feature could boost your views even higher.

I hope you understood what I am trying to convey here. At the end of the day; YES, YouTube custom thumbnails are very important.

Ideal size of a YouTube Custom Thumbnail:

  • The recommended custom thumbnail size by YouTube is 1280*720px. But if you wish, you could use up to 1920*1080 (my choice of preference).
  • Image formats could be .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG.
  • There is an image size limit to keep in mind- 2MB
  • 16:9 aspect ratio works best

How can I make Custom Thumbnails for YouTube?

Well, as with any graphic design, you could use just about any software which lets you edit/make pictures. But here, I’d like to share with you some cool places where you can go to make YouTube custom thumbnails for FREE!!

As long as you make your thumbnail images in the recommended size, you should be ok no matter what software you use to make your YouTube custom thumbnails. Just keep in mind that it should be bright, comfortably colorful and sharp enough to catch attention of viewers to your video.

Following are a few more of how to create a good YouTube custom thumbnail.

  • Compelling
  • Relevant
  • Close-ups work great
  • Well framed
  • Colorful
  • Borders work great for text images

 Importance of youtube thumbnails

No Custom Thumbnail Option On YouTube:

Alright, this is one of the most asked questions on my channel. For some, after uploading a YouTube video they don’t see an option to upload custom thumbnails. Don’t fret if there is no custom thumbnail option on you YouTube video.

You just need to either verify your account and/or enable monetization on your YouTube channel and that should rectify the problem of “no custom thumbnail option on YouTube videos”. Below are both of my videos I did on that topic.

What I personally use for making YouTube Custom Thumbnails?

When I first started out creating YouTube videos, I regularly made use of Pixlr and Picmonkey. But when your channel grows you’ll have to push yourself to be ahead of the game. What I mean is to educate yourself with a higher tool. Since I did not have enough time to go around and learn Photoshop (which I would do soon), I bought this easy and inexpensive software called Summitsoft Logo Design Studio. As of now, I use this software to do almost all of my social media graphic creation including YouTube custom thumbnails.

Watch Summitsoft Logo Design Studio Pro Review Video

Watch me make TrueOnlineRiches.com Logo with Summitsoft Logo Design Studio Pro Software


I hope you got to learn the basics of what YouTube custom thumbnails are and how to make a YouTube custom thumbnail for your YouTube videos. check out other YouTube tutorials here and make sure to leave your comments/questions if any in the comment section below.

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