How to Get Custom Thumbnails on YouTube

YouTube is the biggest video sharing social media platform in the world, and a lot of people upload videos every day. Let’s go through some YouTube statistics that will blow your mind.

  • There are 2 billion monthly active users.
  • On average people watch 1 billion hours of videos on YouTube every day.
  • More than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

So, if you decide to pursue your YouTube career, now you see that you will have a lot of competition. Apart from creating engaging content that users like to watch, you have to encourage users to click your video once they’ve searched it. 

The best way you could do that is by:

  • Creating a catchy title;
  • Adding a custom thumbnail;

In this article, we will go through the steps for adding your custom thumbnail to your YouTube Videos.

Why is it Important to Add a Custom YouTube Thumbnail on Your Videos?

Well, as you can see from the statistics, there are a lot of YouTube videos uploaded every minute, and what makes your video so unique that people would want to watch it?

(By the way, if you want to check out more content around YouTube, and their rules, make sure you read my guide on Private vs Unlisted videos).

Of course. The thumbnail is the first thing people notice on videos, and it can make your video unique. It is basically like a short introduction to your video without even playing it.

If you want to become a professional YouTuber, you cannot submit videos without a custom thumbnail. It is considered as one of the crucial things even if you are casually uploading videos.

It is the best way to attract more traffic and add a personal touch to your channel. We all know that most of the popular YouTubers have their trademark thumbnails, or something can be easily noticed, among other videos.

Your thumbnail should be considered as your way of creating your video brand.

If you decide not to upload a custom thumbnail, YouTube will automatically select a scene from your video. Usually, it will choose an image that is not good for presenting your video to users. 

How to Add A Custom YouTube Thumbnail?

If you want to add a custom thumbnail to your videos, there are a few steps you should follow. It is essential to understand that to upload a custom thumbnail, you have to verify your account and become a YouTube partner.

Among other limited functionalities, standard YouTube accounts cannot upload a custom thumbnail to their videos.

How to Verify Your Account

In order to verify your account, you have to follow these simple steps.

  1. Log into your YouTube account;
  2. From the dropdown menu, go to Video manager;
  3. You should be able to see Channel Settings (in the left sidebar);
  4. After clicking on Channel Settings, You will see a Verify button;
  5. Click it and you are done;

For security reasons, YouTube will ask for your phone number just so they can send you an SMS with a verification number. After submitting the code, your account will be verified.

Now since you are verified, you will be able to see even more Channel Settings available for your account, and one of them is Custom Thumbnails.

For some reason, this feature is not available to every verified account. Some people don’t have this option even after they verified their account with SMS code.

This means you have to become a YouTube Partner.

Remember, YouTube will only accept partners who have accounts with Good Standing. You can check the status of your account by going to Channel Settings.

In order to become a YouTube partner, you need to select the Monetization feature. This means that in order to add a custom thumbnail, you have to add adverts to your videos. However, if you don’t want to put ads in your video, you can still be a Monetization Partner with YouTube and click the no ads feature when you are submitting your video.

After you’ve become a YouTube partner, you will see the Custom Thumbnails feature available for your account.

Making Your Thumbnail

We got to a point where you have to put your Photoshop skills into action. If you want to create a catchy thumbnail, you need to do a bit of research. There are particular trends you should follow but still try to optimize so that you can create your unique style.

When you are creating your thumbnail, try to include a particular logo or colors that will reflect your brand, and you would be easily noticed. 

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create interesting thumbnails, but if you don’t have any photo-editing skills, you can always hire another person to design them for you.

Adding Your Custom Thumbnail

Once you’ve enabled the Custom Thumbnail feature, it is time to upload your images. 

The process is very straightforward, and you can do it by going to:

  1. Video Manager;
  2. Click Edit on the video you like to put custom thumbnail;
  3. Click on Customized Thumbnail and upload your image;

Be aware that your custom thumbnail should be a very high-quality image and as large as possible. You have to understand that this custom thumbnail will also be used as a preview image when you embed the video on social media or other websites. 

Custom Thumbnail minimum specifications:

  • Upload only files that are .JPG, .GIF, .PNG, or .BMP;
  • The minimum with of your image should be 640 pixels, and the preferred resolution for your image should be 1280×720;
  • The file should be smaller than 2MB;
  • Try to follow the 16:9 aspect ratio which is commonly used by other people;

Final Words

That’s it! You are ready to upload customized videos on your channel. If you want to start your YouTube career, custom thumbnails are essential. However, if you upload videos casually, you should not worry about the thumbnail unless you are an organization freak, and you like to put an extra effort into your videos.

Custom thumbnails make a huge difference, so try to make them as beautiful as possible. You will definitely be amazed at how much traffic you can attract by adding the right thumbnail.