In our last blog post, we showed you how to create a video thumbnail using Streamlabs new YouTube Thumbnail Maker. Today, we will give you some tips and best practices to keep in mind when creating your next thumbnail.

YouTube Thumbnail Requirements

YouTube recommends that your thumbnail image be as large as possible. This is important to note because your video can be embedded on other websites. This means the image will appear in a variety of dimensions and having large high-quality images ensure it will look good wherever it is shared.

  • Have a resolution of 1280x720 (with a minimum width of 640 pixels).
  • Be uploaded in image formats such as JPG, GIF, or PNG.
  • Remain under the 2MB limit.
  • Try to use a 16:9 aspect ratio as it’s the most used in YouTube players and previews.

How to Add Video Thumbnails

After you have finished uploading your video, you can choose a thumbnail. You will have the option to choose from automatically generated options that YouTube gives you, or you can upload your own.

To add or change a video thumbnail you must:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left menu, select Content.
  3. Select a video by clicking on its title or thumbnail.
  4. Choose an auto-generated thumbnail and select Save.

Tips for Creating Compelling Thumbnails

You’ve shot your video, spent hours in the editing room, and uploaded your content. Don’t let all that work go to waste by using an image that isn’t going to capture anyone's attention.

Don’t mislead your viewer: Everyone has experienced a click-bait title or video thumbnail. The infamous red arrow with a circle pointing to nothing is one of the most annoying trends in content creation. Doing this will only irritate your viewers and give them an excuse to not watch your next video.

Do not do this

Iterate, Iterate, Iterate: One of the best things about YouTube is that they give you access to a ton of different analytics. If you find a video isn’t performing well, try a different design for your video thumbnail. Track how many clicks it gets after you’ve updated the image, and if it improves, you know your new design works better. It’s important to keep testing and improving. Do not get complicit. If you don’t see the results you are looking for, keep trying new designs and themes.

Include Writing on the Image: A catchy title and description will go a long way to convince someone to click on a video, but it’s not the only factor. In addition to creating an eye-catching thumbnail, you can use words on the images to convey what your video is about. All of these factors work together to tell a viewer about the video they are about to watch. Make sure you are using everything you can to convince someone your video is worth clicking on.

Try to Remain Advertiser-Friendly: Not everyone is trying to make a living by uploading content to YouTube, and that is okay. But if you are the type of person that dreams about becoming a content creator, it’s important to keep monetization front of mind. All custom thumbnail images must follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines. YouTube may reject your thumbnails and place a strike on your account when it contains:

  • Nudity or sexually provocative content
  • Hate Speech
  • Violence
  • Harmful or dangerous content

Advertisers can choose to target videos that contain particular terms and keywords in their titles, descriptions, or tags, in order to reach the audiences they value. On the other hand, they can also opt-out of terms and keywords that don’t align with their brand.

Videos that contain profane, controversial or sexually suggestive content may cause some advertisers to exclude that you from a campaign.

Create unified branded thumbnails: As a content creator, you are not only creating videos, but you are creating your brand. Everything you post is a reflection of you and your brand. From the type of content you post to the font you use, everything should be cohesive and reflect consistent branding. If you need design inspiration, Streamlabs YouTube thumbnail maker comes with pre-designed themes that you can customize to match your aesthetic.


We hope these tips help you create the perfect thumbnail for your videos. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know. Remember to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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