YouTube thumbnail size and best practices

YouTube thumbnail size and best practices

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YouTube thumbnail size with these Optimize sizes: 1280′ pixel wide by 720 ‘ pixel high, minimum width of 640 pixels. And 16: 9 aspect ratio is ideal for it, as it is most often used in YouTube previews and players.

If you want to get more views on your YouTube videos, there is a tactic you can use to get them instantly: use better thumbnails.

Thumbnails are just as important as the video title if you really want to get clicks. The images themselves are what can attract users and help you stand out in a long list of search results. Because these image thumbnails also appear in Google search engines, they are essential to maximize your impressions.

In this post, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about YouTube thumbnails, including the ideal size, how to create them, and the single list of best practices you’ll ever need.

Bonus: we have integrated the dimensions of the YouTube thumbnails into our graphic design tool. Create a YouTube thumbnail for free!
What is the correct size for the YouTube thumbnail?
YouTube thumbnail size
This is the first question we need to answer before tackling anything else: what are the best YouTube thumbnail sizes? Based on Google’s own recommendations, your image should be 1280 x 720 pixels, with a minimum width of 640 pixels. A 16: 9 aspect ratio is ideal, as it is most often used in YouTube previews and players.

This surprises most people, but it makes sense; While the thumbnail will be small when displayed in searches, it will be enlarged to the size of a full video when it appears as a suggestion for the next viewing. For this reason, you want a larger image size that can be reduced, rather than a small size that will be reduced.

Some other important technical details include:

youtube thumbnail size
youtube thumbnail size

Must be in .JPG, .PNG or .GIF image format
Your image file must be under the 2MB file size limit
How to create a YouTube thumbnail with Snappa
YouTube thumbnails are more powerful, with at least some design elements that help them look more professional.

For starters, we’ve made it easy by providing pre-made YouTube thumbnail templates. Here is a video I made that shows you how to create a YouTube thumbnail in less than 2 minutes.

Also, here are some screenshots to help you step by step in creating a great looking YouTube thumbnail for your channel. First, start by selecting the social template you need. In that case, it would be the YouTube thumbnail.

YouTube thumbnail preset

You can then choose from pre-made YouTube thumbnail design templates, all fully customizable, or create a thumbnail image from scratch

YouTube Clipart Template


Even if you choose a ready-made template, you can change everything, including the text, YouTube thumbnail font, borders, graphics, drawing location, and wallpaper.

YouTube thumbnail example


Finally, you can upload custom wallpapers (including a photo from the video) and custom graphics (including your logo or branding) to use.

To keep things simple, you can duplicate images to create similar thumbnail images for the next video as you speed up the process.

How to set a recommended thumbnail image on YouTube


Setting a recommended image is an extremely simple process that requires only a few clicks. Once you’ve uploaded a video, you’ll see a series of default screenshots at the bottom of the video settings. To the right of the thumbnails, you will see a button that says “Custom Thumbnail”. Just click on it to add the thumbnail of your choice to your computer.

how to add a custom YouTube thumbnail

Once you’ve uploaded your custom image, you’ll see that it appears where the custom thumbnail button was. You can click this image if you want to change it to another. The thumbnail preview will also appear in the upper left.

how to change youtube thumbnail

You can change the rendered image of a video at any time, even long after it has been published.

What should my thumbnail be?

youtube thumbnail size
youtube thumbnail size

Now that we’ve gone through the technical details, we can get closer to creativity.

When deciding what type of image your thumbnail should be, there are several options to choose from.

Youtube thumbnail examples

Which image catches your attention the most? Why? Viewing great thumbnail examples can help you decide what you want to create for your business.

While many companies will use one of the thumbnails YouTube automatically extracts from your video, this limits the video’s potential. The custom thumbnails will help the video appear and stand out from the rest. Make your videos look instantly professional and high-quality.

A popular option is to use a custom image that includes simple graphics and the video title. Many of these images will also show the company name or logo in one of the bottom corners to make it inconspicuous, but still.

YouTube thumbnail text on image

Another great option is to take a photo of your choice from the video, especially if it’s an action of some kind, and use it as a thumbnail. In these cases, some companies will continue to use graphic tools to add their text or logo to the image.

Another thumbnail on YouTube

The last popular option is to take photos or photos from the video (or montage them for video) and apply them to what looks the most like graphics. This is especially popular when it comes to thumbnail images that include images of people, as shown in the following example.

Thumbnail image text

Regardless of what type of image you choose, you should strive for consistency in your appearance. Many companies will add the same distinctive branding to each of their videos, even if the image itself changes. This makes it extremely easy for users to quickly identify your videos and helps them choose their content from the video suggestions on the right side of the page. This can help you generate clicks and views while creating extremely valuable brand awareness.

Best practices for YouTube thumbnails

In addition to some of the ideas we discussed above, there are some good practices that you can apply to each video thumbnail to get the best possible results.

Some of the best practices to consider include the following.

Take still images
Have you ever noticed that when you pause a video, the person in the video almost always makes a ridiculously embarrassed expression, even if it didn’t seem that way when the video was playing? You don’t want to experience the same in thumbnails.

Video still
It’s almost impossible to get a great video that looks fantastic as a picture. Trust me.

If you plan on using a real photo as part of your YouTube thumbnail, do yourself a big favor and take a real photo. By taking a break and taking a moment to pose for a photo on stage, you’ll get the high-quality image you’re looking for.

Nerdy Nummies and miniature ideas
YouTuber Rosanna Pasino has high-quality images that are almost certainly taken as photos rather than video photos.

Only in very rare cases, and hopefully, will you get the same great quality when you pause the video and try to take a photo to use as an image. The reason why it makes sense; your video is just that, a video in motion.

It is more important to have a high-quality, professional-looking image than one literally taken from video.

Use contrasting colors
Using the right colors will go a long way towards getting more views and clicks on your content, which includes using contrasting colors.

Contrasting colors, especially when it comes to graphics and text in your images, will immediately turn heads. When competing in a long list of other search results or suggested videos, this is very important.

YouTube thumbnail idea
The pale pink and brown contrast helps make this image stand out.

Contrasting colors also help ensure that text and graphics are legible. In the following example in Food & Wine, part of the branding is interrupted because the colors are mixed. That is not what you want. YouTube custom thumbnail

In addition to contrasting colors, using bright colors will also help your video capture more attention as they naturally grab our attention. Fortunately, you can use our editing features to brighten any image with just a few clicks. You can also increase the saturation of the color, even just a little, which can help us draw attention. In the example below, the first image stands out more for color.

Light miniatures vs. Dark
Your image should not be so bright or saturated that it appears unnatural or reduces image quality; Instead, a subtle adjustment is enough to make it stand out from the competition, and that’s what you need.

Use white space
If you’re using graphics or a projected image of any kind, use white space (or negative space) to your advantage, which helps keep your thumbnail clean and organized. This gives you high-quality, professional-looking images.

Blanks Thumbnail Layout
All of our ready-made templates are designed for clean organization and many use a lot of white space. This helps the eye to be physically drawn to what it wants to see, allowing the user to record what the video is about in an instant. This can help you get their attention just a fraction of a second faster, eliminating your competition.

Negative space
Conciseness is the key
There is an exercise that one of my teachers made us do every day in one of my writing classes; He would tell us to explain the whole day in one sentence. And then we had to reduce it to four words. This kind of conciseness creates an excellent copy and is essential when it comes to the text you place in the thumbnail image.

Your image is just that, an image. If users want to see the title of your video, they can see the actual title; is displayed right next to the video. If they want to know what it’s about in detail, they’ll read the title or description (or, you know, follow it).

Tips for YouTube thumbnails
This means that when placing your video title, or any other descriptive text, on the featured images, it must be extremely concise. They don’t need the full description; they need a few words to give them the gist and attract their interest. Instead of “Sandra’s 10 Funniest Moments in Survivor Season 30,” you could put “More Sandra’s Funniest Pictures” on the photo. It is short and to the point and offers users everything they need to be interested in.

Concise text thumbnail
YouTube thumbnails to avoid

We talked about everything you can do well to get the most out of your YouTube thumbnails. Now, let’s take a look at what you shouldn’t do.

When it comes to avoidable mistakes (aside from just using the default thumbnails on YouTube or using the wrong thumbnail size), there are a few things to keep in mind. These include:

Too much text
Some texts are good and will improve the performance of your video; you just don’t want too much text. If users can’t read the text with a quick side-to-side look, that’s too much. You should never have more than one concise title and, if absolutely necessary, a concise subtitle in smaller text below. You just want enough text to convey your point of view and nothing else.

If you have a text too small
In some cases, companies try to keep the text in their images small and modest so as not to affect the image itself. Sometimes, however, we are left behind and the text is too small for users to read when the image is a small thumbnail in searches or video recommendations. This can reduce the number of clicks you receive

Choose an image that is not relevant or misleading
This happens more often than you think, just like some blog posts don’t always have names; companies choose stunning photos that never appear in the post.

I once saw a YouTube video called “How to draw flowers on cupcakes.” The miniature was a beautiful cupcake, decorated with roses (yes, I saw it, don’t judge me). After analyzing everything, hoping to see this amazing end result, it was clear that the image was a stock photo; the final product of the video actually looked like something I could do, which is not a good thing.
Forget to share the test
Our thumbnails are part of our marketing and therefore not immune to the need to split the test. When you decide what type of images you want to use for your channel, divide the test into different thumbnails. See what has the most views on YouTube organically. Assess what your audience responds to most when videos are posted on other social sites like Facebook or Pinterest. Once you see what works best, you can update all your video thumbnails and use them as a start-up strategy.

Conclusion
Many companies use only one of the automatic thumbnails on YouTube for their videos instead of a custom one. This costs them the opportunity to capture the interest of users with an interesting and attractive thumbnail that would otherwise click on them. As you create your custom YouTube images, make sure they are sized properly and follow best practices.

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