The Importance of having Video Thumbnails

November 11, 2021

All of us have the tendency to like something that is on display in a shop. You first of all look at the packaging of any product that you buy before looking at anything else. That is what attracts you. People judge a product by how it looks at the first place, because the human brain responds better to visuals than texts. With over 500 billion videos watched every day, it is really difficult to create a mark. So long as you have this, you need not worry about it. Thumbnails are always there for your rescue. You might have good content but without a thumbnail it is not going to reach more people. Thumbnails can be called as the face of the video which gives a sneak peek to your work and reaches the viewer first.

Definition: A thumbnail can be defined as an image that is reduced in file size for full sized multimedia content as a placeholder.

It is like a mini poster with a small, static but clickable image which serves as the reduced – size versions of videos. Thumbnails leave a first impression (good or bad) which intrigues or disappoints the audience. But, our motive should always be to engage our audience.

A video thumbnail is a giant marketing tool which portrays what your video is like. Today’s fast paced world gives viewers the chance to decide whether or not to watch a video within a fraction of second. A single click can open gates to positive conversion rates and an increased number of people will watch your video. In addition to that if the video thumbnail is appealing it can help increase traffic. So, this was all about what a video thumbnail really is.

What are Video thumbnails?

Image by Freepik

The reason why Thumbnails are called Thumbnails?

A thumbnail is called a thumbnail as it is literally the size of a human thumb nail. They represent a smaller compressed version of the original content and serve as a link to it.

Here are some suggestions that will enlighten you on what to keep in mind when creating a new Video thumbnail for your video.

  1. The video thumbnail can be a single image or more brought together that is bright and clear.
  2. It should have a good image composition which is visually compelling also.
  3. The background shouldn’t overshadow the foreground so make sure that the background stands out from the foreground.
  4. The content should be correctly represented, because if the audience didn’t find what you have addressed in your video thumbnail in the content then they will be disappointed resulting in you losing followers.
  5. Try to bring in close up of faces as this attracts audience attention. Video thumbnails with faces have a greater impact on the audience’s mind as a person with a real face gives the video it’s authentication.
  6. YouTube video thumbnails are the most important optimisation for gaining views on youtube.
  7. Take photographs when you are shooting to capture images for a great video thumbnail.
  8. Create a proper setup while shooting for the video in youtube which will aid in providing you better material to work with when you create a video thumbnail.
  9. You can edit the images and combine them according to the need of the video.
  10. Adjust brightness, contrast and other features to make it unique from other videos.
  11. Before using it make sure you preview it and check the actual size to know if it is clearly visible and standing out or not.
  12. Youtube generally offers four thumbnail choices that are automatically taken from your video, but making a custom video thumbnail is much better than the default generated ones. Using a custom thumbnail you can show the best aspects of your video. So create your own thumbnail and make it eye catchy, like the rest of the 90% of total videos on youtube that attracts the viewer.

Thus, before creating a YouTube thumbnail on your own, let us take a look at the specifications associated with it first. You cannot just use any image as a video thumbnail.

Specifications of a YouTube Thumbnail

  1. Dimensions – YouTube thumbnail sizes can be very large usually because they have to be flexible enough to be nicely included in any other website also. 1280×720 pixels is considered as the best dimension for a thumbnail which is 1280 pixels wide and 720 pixels tall. But if the width is less than 1280 pixels, it shouldn’t get below the recommended level of width of 640 pixels which is the minimum width. Please avoid resizing your thumbnail from small to big as it destroys the quality and when resizing from big to small do maintain the same aspect ratio.
  2. Size limit – The maximum thumbnail size for YouTube of the image is 2 MB per image as it loads faster. The size for YouTube thumbnails should be within this limit.
  3. Aspect ratio – There are many ratios like 4:3,3:2,2:3,1:10 but these won’t work. 16:9 aspect ratio works as it allows all apps, web players and devices to sync with the video.
  4. File format – The formats that are allowed are PNG, JPG, BMP, GIF, no other format will work here.

How to enable Custom Thumbnails in your YouTube Channel?

How to enable custom thumbnails in your YouTube channel?

Image by Freepik

Here we will guide you through the process of enabling custom thumbnails in your account.

  1. Log into your YouTube account.
  2. After your account interface opens click on the profile icon present in the upper right corner.
  3. Then select settings from the drop down menu.
  4. From all the options choose channel status and features option.
  5. Click verify. After verification, go to Youtube studio and upload your custom thumbnails from there to your content.

Now that you have custom thumbnails, how do you upload them.

How to upload Custom Video Thumbnails?

  1. Firstly open the channel.
  2. Select the option of ‘upload video’.
  3. Now click on ‘select files’.
  4. Add the details in the box that appears which has title, description and so on.
  5. Now, scroll down and click on the upload thumbnail button.
  6. Next, select the thumbnail image that you want and click ‘next’ and then done.
  7. This will complete the process and lead to views pouring in on your channel.

Best Approaches to making a good Custom YouTube Thumbnail?

When you upload your video, YouTube gives you four thumbnail choices that are auto generated while you upload the video. They are also effective but not as a custom thumbnail. So making your own one is a better option if you want to bring in people to your channel.

Screenshots of your video

A screenshot generally conveys a real emotion that is present in the video. People can relate to it as they see a human face and can predict what the video can be about as a result the content also gets promoted. But the screenshot should be high quality because there are chances it might be grainy. You can add more details in it like graphics, some latest trends and the video’s title also.


In educational, webinars and professional videos we see that the thumbnails are usually a layout. This is a very nice way of approaching people by using a photo that you already have,as it gives you a high quality image that you can mould according to your creative imagination . You can add video title, date, time and use graphics or text. But consider making it look appealing and engrossing.


For videos where you learn something and get a final product like cooking, DIY, beauty hacks fitness etc, a photo of the final product can serve as the best thumbnail image. As it is helpful, motivating and purposeful.


If you are ready to give some more effort then you can create an illustration that follows the graphical way to convey your message. You can use it for storytelling videos or videos  where the viewer is about to see a gradual progress.

Now that you are familiar with what thumbnails are, how to enable and upload them, what are their specifications for a video, and what approaches you should follow in selecting the appropriate thumbnail. Let us delve into how to create and edit a thumbnail using an app.

How to make an Eye-catching YouTube Video Thumbnail?

It is really important to make your own custom video thumbnail for YouTube as it sparks interest among the viewers and this generates your own personal and branding style. You don’t have to pay for all this as there are options available in the online business to create your own thumbnail. So, you can now design your own thumbnail with the following steps on Offeo’s Online YouTube thumbnail maker.

The first step is to select your favourite design which could be a screenshot or photo that you have taken or a background image. If you don’t have all these you can select from our expansive range of templates and then edit it.

The next step is when the image enters the editor. You can customise the thumbnails by adding your own text to it. This text could be the title of the video or a catchphrase which hooks the audience to the YouTube video.

Moving on, it is necessary that you arrange and edit the text in such a way that it is easy to read and understandable. The title should be concentrated around keywords that are appropriate. Try to make the people curious which will finally get them to click on your video. So make it unique by setting the font style that best describes your channel. The size of the font should be large enough to stand out. Additionally the placement of the text is another deciding factor for a great thumbnail. Many texts often get invisible and merge with the background. Thus, always place your text on top after selecting the background color. This results in your video standing out.

Choose color and font for each text block that should be minimalistic yet readable. This is a part of making it beautiful but avoid making it cluttered.

Always remember to use the same fonts and styles for all video thumbnails. Thus gives a distinctive appearance to your YouTube video.

After you are done with all the editing and deleting unnecessary elements from the video thumbnails, save it and download for free in one of the two formats which are JPG and PNG.

Choosing the right video thumbnail is very important in YouTube as it gives sense and meaning to your video. Optimising keywords alongwith getting the right thumbnail plays a crucial yet positive role in increasing the number of clicks on your channel. A thumbnail is a blank canvas, it can have your logo, an image of a person or any screenshot from video but what matters most is, is it conveying the message that your video wants to. Many people subscribe to your channel if they like your content but what makes them click on the video? It is undoubtedly the thumbnail. Many results show up when someone types a keyword, but the difference will be in the thumbnail which will let them watch your video.

One of the best practices in creating a YouTube thumbnail is the design that can kindle interest and bring out the emotion behind the video. The combination of colours, image, and text can shoot your click through rate. The more you do something different than others, the more successful and visible your channel will be. A video thumbnail is quite effective in boosting your search but comes with a lot of effort. However you needn’t worry as practice makes perfect. Give it some time and then you can get a hang of it by playing around to find the perfect video thumbnail for your YouTube channel.

Try OFFEO’s YouTube Thumbnail Maker For Free

With OFFEO’s YouTube Thumbnail Maker, this robust platform is able to offer you professional and sleek designs with an easy performing interface where you can create your video thumbnail without all the hurry scurry within a very less time. It is a free thumbnail maker giving you your custom thumbnail. A YouTuber like you would most probably need a software like Offeo to work with!

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