How to Add a Custom Thumbnail to YouTube Videos

In this video, I’m going to show you how to add a custom thumbnail to your YouTube videos.

In fact, I’ll show you two ways: for your existing videos and also new videos as you’re uploading them to the YouTube interface.

I’ve included text below just in case you don’t care to watch a video!

Watch the Video:


Get Rid of Funky Thumbnail Images

In the past, YouTube Partners were the only people who could add custom thumbnails to their videos, but now YouTube considers everybody a Partner and the ability to change your video thumbnails may be within your reach!

According to Google, if your YouTube account is more than 30 days old and in good standing, you may have the ability to add custom thumbnails to your YouTube videos.

So this video (and written set of instructions) is for you to enjoy! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment box below and I’ll respond in kind!

How to Upload Custom Thumbnails

Existing Videos:

  • Login to YouTube
  • Click on the “Video Manager link.”
  • Choose a video and click the “Edit” button.
  • Click the “Custom Thumbnail” button.
  • Pick an image from your computer to upload.
  • Click the “Save Changes” button.

When You Upload a New Video:

  • Login to YouTube
  • Click the “Upload” button.
  • Select a video to upload.
  • Click the “Custom thumbnail” button under the “Video Thumbnail” section.
  • Pick an image from your computer to upload.
  • Click the “Save Changes” button.

Thumbnail Guidelines

  • File size must be under 2MB
  • Image size should be 1,280 pixels wide by 720 pixels high.
  • Images can be JPG, GIF, BMP, and/or PNG files.
  • No nudity, no racy content, no copyrighted images.

Download the PDF Instructions

If you prefer pictures wtih step by step instructions, file.

Your turn! Do you use custom thumbnail images on your YouTube videos? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Thanks for reading,
– Bonnie

P.S. Did you enjoy this message? If so, please share it with your friends so they can benefit from schmoozing. Then, if you want to get more messages like this one, connect with me via my social links below or hop aboard my notification list. I would like to keep in touch.

About Bonnie Gean

Bonnie is a full-time writer and marketer with over 20-years of experience as an entrepreneur. She loves helping people overcome the technical challenges associated with an online business. Need a step-by-step tutorial? Simply ASK her and she'll help you too.

Join the Discussion

  1. This post is God sent, Bonnie. I made my first video in March and I was wondering if I could use my own thumb nail or edit one. I found my answer. Thank you , thank you!
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…De-stressing with MusicMy Profile

  2. I follow all the procedures that shown below the video, but it doesn’t work…(it is still the old thumbnail on my video after applying a new thumbnail)I mean it will not instantly change to the new thumbnail(do we need to wait until the youtube admin approved or etc.)

  3. Super easy and fun! I had no idea this was possible, but I’ve wondered how you always have the same images for your videos. Thanks for sharing this!
    Cynthia Dixon recently posted…Sometimes with Internet Marketing you’ve gotta flip the scriptMy Profile

  4. I have to admit, this was one of the reasons why I didn’t use Youtube for the 30 Day Vlogging Challenge. I was already nervous as hell to put my face in front of the camera. The hideous images that were pulled seemed to somehow only capture me with my mouth open! Too traumatic to use.

    Glad to see that they have added this option. I may move over to Youtube in the future.

    Thanks Bonnie :)
    Victoria recently posted…Do Your Real World Friends Know About Your Online World?My Profile

  5. What a great option!

    Glad you are going to teach us how to make a thumbnail in Gimp !

    You ARE the Tutorial Queen!

    Mary Kathan
    Mary Kathan recently posted…Start Your Day RightMy Profile

    • Hi Mary!

      I will be booting up Gimp in a second to get the tutorial done for tomorrow! I must do 3 videos today, so I’m off to get busy!

      I’m beginning to think I AM the TUTORIAL QUEEN. Does this mean I need a new logo now? :)

  6. OMG every video I have uploaded to YouTube with my face in it has had the worst thumbnails possible. Thank you so much for this Bonnie, I have shared this on Facebook & I’m off to change mine.
    Kerry McNally recently posted…Start A Home Business – Top Ways To Earn From HomeMy Profile

  7. This is just super, Bonnie Gean. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate having this info – and as someone who really dislikes videos as a rule, how much I appreciate having the text version. Well done!

    • Thanks Patricia!

      Why don’t you like video, if I may ask?

      • Hmm, I used to have a blogpost about it but apparently trashed that as I reclaimed and refurbished my website when I returned to IM a few months ago. I’ll have to consider doing it again.

        In the meantime, the short answer is: I can read a LOT faster than any videographer can talk. I find them super-duper time-wasters and I resent having my time and attention commandeered in that way. Further (getting into a longish version of the short answer here, I’m afraid), if I want anything out of it i have to take notes. Otherwise I also won’t know where to find that snippet of information I want to review.

        I have even more objections, but that gives you a clue.

        BTW, I got notification this a.m. that my Technorati application was approved. Hooray.
        Patricia Santhuff recently posted…Hello, Technorati ! How to Get Listed on Technorati.comMy Profile

        • Congrats on the Technorati approval. :)

          • Thanks, Bonnie. I have no idea how big a deal it is – probably not that much, but I do know it’s not automatic.

            Btw, thank to your inspiration, I wrote up a new blog post on why I dislike videos. I think there’s a place for them (and am trying to find more of a place for DOING them in my life), I just think they’re overused and, I have some specific complaints as well.
            Patricia Santhuff recently posted…Please Don’t Make That VideoMy Profile

            • Video is regarded as one of the most important tools an Internet marketer can use to market their businesses, build relationships with an audience, and add higher value in exchange for dollars than using just audio or plain text.

              I would imagine there are quite a few people who don’t particularly like listening to video, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that video is highly popular and works wonderfully well as a marketing tool.

              While I don’t care for the video that is nothing more than a sales letter in video form, I do appreciate getting to know the people I do business with online, such as Tiffany, Nicole Dean and a handful of others.

              Most of the networking I do happened as a result of watching someone’s video and getting to know like them after being introduced to their personality on screen.

              Though, you’re entitled to your opinion and I respect how you feel.

              • Oh, goodness, Bonnie, did you read my post? The tone of your response made me go re-read it myself.

                Nothing I said in that post contradicts your first 2 paragraphs in any way — and the rest, your personal experience and preference, is just that and I certainly have no problem with how YOU feel about and use video.

                So what was there about it that annoyed you? It certainly wasn’t addressed TO you or in ANY way ABOUT you, it was just that our discussion prompted me to get that post done instead of just threatening to do it. So I’m confused.
                Patricia Santhuff recently posted…Please Don’t Make That VideoMy Profile

                • Yes dear, I read your post. I read all your comments because I like to know what makes ya… well, YOU! :)

                  Oh my, why do you think I was annoyed? LOL – I had to go back and read what I wrote to see how you could think I was annoyed.

                  I most definitely agree with you on video being overused in many ways (read what I said about video sales letters, for example).

                  I didn’t mean to sound annoyed. My apologies if you took it that way. I’ll be careful in the future to add my smiles where they’re needed. :)

                  • Well, I’m relieved.Thanks. It just sounded a little oppositional, and then the last sentence seemed to validate that. Glad to know I was wrong.

                    I’ve been poking around some of your other posts in the meantime and quite enjoyig myself. :D You’ve got some good stuff. Brava!
                    Patricia Santhuff recently posted…Please Don’t Make That VideoMy Profile

                    • I’m glad we got that cleared up, Patricia! I enjoy having you on the blog and don’t want to offend you (or anyone else for that matter).

                      And… if there’s something you don’t understand, as you surf around the blog, just ask. I would be glad to answer any questions!

  8. Very helpful information. Will take your instruction and give it a go! Thanks, Wendy
    Wendy Bottrell recently posted…Glutathione “Master” AntioxidantMy Profile

  9. I´ve seen my son´s videos with thumbnails but never asked how he did it. Thanks for the info!
    Paula – Buenos Aires recently posted…Week #18 Illustrated by Cristina SvihalekMy Profile

  10. Oh, that’s useful! I didn’t know you could do that… I just tried to pick a not horrible looking one from the options they gave. lol
    Amanda Thomas recently posted…Bubblews Case Study Day 2 – I’ve Quadrupled My BalanceMy Profile

    • Now you can add custom thumbnails to YOUR videos Amanda… and start branding them! :)

      The custom images YouTube usually picks for us aren’t exactly the best looking photos. I know mine aren’t! LOL

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