How to Create a YouTube Thumbnail

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There really are some mind blowing stats when it comes to the amount of video there is on YouTube. Which means, that if you’re uploading videos to Youtube, you need to make sure that your videos look great when it comes to showing up in search results and suggested videos. One way to stand out from the crowd  and get noticed on cluttered search pages is by having to have a great looking thumbnail.

Download the FREE How to Make a Custom Thumbnail for YouTube guide.

What is a YouTube Thumbnail?

If you’re not sure what a Youtube thumbnails is, it the image that is shown of your video before it plays. If you’re still not sure, check out the image below which shows 4 clip thumbnails that are under the main video.

YouTube Videos that have custom thumbnails.

YouTube Videos that have custom thumbnails.

Download the FREE How to Make a Custom Thumbnail for YouTube guide.

Where do I get a YouTube Thumbnail from?

By default, Youtube will give you 3 options to choose from for your thumbnail. But these are just random video frames taken from the beginning, middle and end of your video. Whilst there is an algorithm use to make the suggestions,  sometimes they’re not exactly showing you at your best. And even if it does show you in a good light, all you get is that frame of the video. Which means a potential viewer is making up their mind about whether or not to watch your video based that image only. But so long as your YouTube channel is verified you’ll also see the option to upload a custom thumbnail. And this is what you’re going to want to do for every video you upload. Because when you create a custom thumbnail, you can create the best motivations for someone to chose to watch your video.

How to Make a YoutTube Thumbnail.

Now whilst there are a lot of different ways to approach this, here’s a super easy way to do it.

Firstly, find a frame from your video that looks good and includes human faces. As humans, we like to connect with people, and friendly human faces make us more likely to want to watch. Take a snapshot of that frame. You can screenshot it and crop it if you don’t have another option, but your editing program should allow you to export a single frame. There are also options like MPEG Streamclip which allow you to export frames if you weren’t responsible for the editing.

After you’ve chosen a great frame with friendly human faces then head over to Once you log in, click on the “more” custom design options. Under social media and email headers, you’ll see that there is a Youtube Thumbnail option. Click that. Upload your selected frame, by dragging and dropping it onto your canvas.

Then add some text that encourages people to click on your video. Tempt them with what benefit you’re going to provide them by watching the video.

Always remember to keep your thumbnail design on-brand, so use your brand colours, fonts and image styles. It’s also going to most effective if you create your thumbnails with basically the same consistent design each and every time to really nail that branding across your channel.

Once you’re done, download the file from canva, and upload it as your Youtube custom thumbnail. It’s that easy. And it’s worth it because that simple change will attract more clicks, more plays and more engagement on your videos.

Download the FREE How to Make a Custom Thumbnail for YouTube guide.

Ben Amos
Ben is Creative Director of Innovate Media, Founder of Vlog Pod® and lead video strategist for Engage Video Marketing. He has a passion for online video marketing, telling great stories, spending time with his family and learning new things.
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