How to Add a Custom Thumbnail to a YouTube Video

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On YouTube, a thumbnail lets viewers get a little sneak peak of a video as they’re browsing the platform. A thumbnail is just a static image from your video that the viewer will see before they click the play button. A good thumbnail can help to catch a viewer’s attention when they’re searching for a specific video topic; it can intrigue them to click and watch the video. On the other hand, a poor thumbnail can lead them away from your video without ever even clicking to see the first few seconds.

The thumbnail is the first impression of your video, so it it an important element in your video marketing strategy.Click to Tweet

Unfortunately, YouTube sometimes selects unflattering frames of the video to use as the thumbnail. YouTube offers a few frames to choose from when publishing new videos, but you can also choose to use a custom thumbnail.

Use the following steps to create a custom thumbnail for YouTube:

1. Login to your YouTube Account

2. Click on My Channel in the left-side navigation (see the red arrow in the image below)

3. Once on your channel’s home page, click on the Video Manager button (see the blue arrow in the image below)Unidev YouTube Channel image

4. After clicking on Video Manager, find the video that you want to change the thumbnail for in the list of your channel’s videos. Click on the video once you've found it.
YouTube Video Manager image

5. To add a custom thumbnail to your video, select the bottom square in the thumbnail list, either an image or a button that says “Custom thumbnail” (see the blue box in the image below)
YouTube Thumbnail image

6. After clicking “Change thumbnail” or “Custom thumbnail,” simply find the desired static image to be used as the video’s thumbnail and select it. (The desired thumbnail image will already need to be saved on your computer so you can easily select it.) Once the thumbnail has been added, you will need to save your changes by clicking the “Save Changes” button in the upper right corner of the Video Manager screen (see the red arrow in the image below)YouTube Save Changes image

7. It may take some time for the update to display on your computer, as the video may be cached.

Remember, the thumbnail is the first impression of your video, so it is an important element in your video marketing strategy. If you need any additional help with YouTube or other aspects of your online marketing strategy contact us.

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