Adding Custom Thumbnails to Your YouTube Channel

By Rob Ciampa, Theresa Moore, John Carucci, Stan Muller, Adam Wescott

If your YouTube channel is in good standing, you can also provide a custom thumbnail instead of one of the default three images that YouTube recommends for your video. You can only add a custom thumbnail after your video has been uploaded. After the upload is completed, YouTube needs to analyze and process the video before you can add a custom thumbnail.

If you don’t pick the thumbnail, YouTube will kindly do it for you. It’s always better to pick it yourself or add a custom one.

The thumbnail is your billboard and will have a big influence on whether someone will watch your video. To add a custom thumbnail to your video:

  1. Log in to your YouTube account.

  2. On your YouTube page, click your channel icon and then choose Creator Studio from the menu that appears.

  3. Click the Video Manager section of Creator Studio.

    By default, it should go directly to the Videos submenu.

  4. Find the video whose thumbnail you want to customize and click the Edit button next to it.

    You’re presented with page similar to the one shown. You’ll see much of the information you saw during the upload, but you’ll now have more stuff, including detailed video information and a visual representation of the thumbnails.

    A YouTube video with no custom thumbnail.

    A YouTube video with no custom thumbnail.
  5. Click on the Custom Thumbnail button shown under the three default thumbnails chosen by YouTube.

    Choose the thumbnail from an image file.

  6. Click the Save Changes button.

    You have a custom thumbnail!