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How Big Is Youtube Thumbnail? Size Guide & Best Practices

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Content leader Updated: December 01, 2023


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When you were to upload a video on YouTube, you may need to add a preview image to display your video. This preview image is the so-called YouTube thumbnail. This “magical” thumbnail can help you to possess popular videos on this platform. To work it out, you must identify an ideal thumbnail. In this article, we will help you to find out How Big Is Youtube Thumbnail by revealing to you The Ideal Size of a Youtube Thumbnail Image. Now, let’s dig into the details!

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What is a Youtube thumbnail and why it’s important

YouTube thumbnails are the small preview images for displaying videos. The purpose of using thumbnails is to draw the attention of YouTube users and tempt them to watch the video.

Here are some examples of custom thumbnails from Favorite Videos YouTube channel:

Favorite Videos YouTube channel
Favorite Videos YouTube channel

You can imagine them YouTube thumbnails like covers of the books you are searching for. As small representations of the video content, they have the power to entice YouTube users.

The old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” may apply to YouTube thumbnails. In other words, thumbnail images can help or hinder your videos. A fantastic thumbnail can contribute to thousands or even millions of views. In contrast, a lousy one will lead to the hiddenness of your videos.

Fortunately, YouTube enables you to customize your video thumbnails. Once you upload a video, YouTube will automatically pick three static images from your video for you to use as thumbnails. Even though it is a simple choice, you’d better make custom YouTube thumbnails that will contribute to the uniqueness of your videos and significantly increase your audience base. With YouTube thumbnails, you can improve the visual appeal of your brand.

What’s more, studies have shown that they can help you to improve your email marketing click-through rate. Another advantage of using thumbnail images is that they require a short time for creation, it is only a matter of minutes. The payoff of creating a fantastic custom YouTube thumbnail will never let you down.

How big is a Youtube thumbnail?

Ideal Youtube thumbnail size

Before we jump into details, let’s find out your YouTube thumbnail’s ideal size. Google suggests that your custom YouTube video thumbnail size is 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall. Also, the width of your image should not be lower than 640 pixels. Put another way, the ideal custom YouTube thumbnail size should be large. Google reveals the reason behind this figure: “Your custom thumbnail image should be as large as possible, as the image will also be used as the preview image in the embedded player.”

Have you wondered why it is the so-called “thumbnail”? Well, the answer is that in searches, it is typically displayed small. Nevertheless, if presented the same size as the video player (as a recommendation for the following watch), the image should be enlarged to the size of a full video to show up nicely. These YouTube thumbnail sizes have an aspect ratio of 16:9, which is ideal because of its usage in a majority of YouTube players and previews. Besides, you must also upload your thumbnail in the image format, including JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG. The maximum size of your custom YouTube thumbnail size must be 2MB limit.

Minimum Youtube thumbnail image size

YouTube states that the thumbnail image’s width should not be lower than 640 pixels, which is not a strict limit. If you can upload an image smaller than that, it will still be acceptable, and you will not receive a warning notification of errors. It is not suggested, though, and the users will see the blurry image from your video.

Maximum Youtube thumbnail image size

The size of YoutTube thumbnail images you can upload should not be larger than 2MB; otherwise, you will receive a warning that “File is bigger than 2MB,” and it will be denied.

Youtube thumbnail aspect ratio

As mentioned above, for your custom thumbnail, the ideal aspect ratio to use is 16:9 (with and height of the image). You can upload a greater aspect ratio than that, for instance, 4:3. It will be allowed; however, it will add black bars to either side. More specifically, it will fit the entire image into the box and pad the excess. You can also choose to add a narrower image like a panorama; in this case, it will automatically add black bars at the top and bottom to pad to the 16:9 aspect ratio.

This ratio has now become the default standard for HD video, particularly video created for online use. A majority of cameras and phones will shoot in by default, and it is the best aspect ratio for showcasing on playback devices from TVs to smartphones to computer displays. If you intend to have the sizes of 1280 by 720 pixels, then there you go! You have got an aspect ratio of 16:9. Also, if you want to capture a picture from your video, the video may have already been shot in 16:9.

Overall, the aspect ratio will not be a big deal for you. However, you may need to take into consideration two situations. The first one is when you were to capture a picture from a video shot in a different aspect ratio, say 4:3. The other is when you were to generate a custom representation that can be used as your YouTube thumbnail. It is especially crucial for you to add text to that image; you will hate the words or letters to be entirely or partially cropped out.

How to upload a custom thumbnail to Youtube?

Now, we will get into the steps to upload your custom thumbnail image. To begin, go to YouTube.com. Then, to upload a new video, you click the camera-plus icon*.

click the camera-plus icon
click the camera-plus icon

After that, you go to your videos in the YouTube Studio dashboard to add a custom thumbnail to the video that you have already uploaded. The next step is to edit its settings by tapping on the video.

edit its settings
edit its settings

From the video’s settings, you can notice three automatically created thumbnails from the bottom of the screen.

three automatically created thumbnails
three automatically created thumbnails

From the bottom right-hand side of the screen, you can choose to upload your custom YouTube thumbnail. You can simply click on the box, select your image from your device, and then tap on “Upload.”

Other questions about Youtube thumbnail image

What are thumbnails on YouTube?

As mentioned in the first section, YouTube thumbnails are the image previews used to display the video in playlists. They are not a video but a still image. You can see them illustrated noticeable in YouTube search results and lists like the “Up Next” queue and Library and Subscription playlists. If a video is displayed on an external site, the thumbnail image will also appear.

How do you change the thumbnail size on YouTube?

On the YouTube website, YouTube controls the image’s display dimension and shape. Hence, when you go to youtube.com, you can not manage the size viewers can see. You can, however, upload a larger custom thumbnail image. If your thumbnail image is pixelated or blurred, and you want to alter it to a sharper one, it will be more appropriate.

What size is a YouTube thumbnail in Photoshop?

When you use Photoshop to create a custom thumbnail for YouTube, you should direct at the ideal size of 1280 by 720 pixels. This size is useful in terms of new document creation, those dimensions cropping, or size setting (if you save or export the image).

What resolution or PPI/DPI should you use for a YouTube thumbnail image?

If you export an image from Photoshop or another image editor that allows you to specify a PPI resolution, you should not bother thinking about what value to use. The sizes or the number of pixels wide by high is crucial, however, the pixel density setting will be overlooked.

What JPG quality setting to use?

As part of the upload process, youTube servers will compress the image. As long as you keep the file below the size limit of 2MB of the file, you should upload the best quality JPG (i.e. with the least compression) as much as possible. You should also let your thumbnail image contain text or graphics.


To sum up, to attract your audience, YouTube thumbnail matters. We have shown you what YouTube Thumbnail is exactly, its importance, related size, and related questions. We hope that you will not have to worry about this anymore and create million-view videos for your channel.

Also, knowing YouTube video dimensions is crucial in making sure your video is displayed and appear more frequently on Google. To learn more about this, you can check out The Best Video Format For Youtube: The Perfect Youtube Video Dimension & Size.

If you still have any questions, please leave your comment under this post and let us know. We are always ready to help you out in case you need anything.

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Mike is a content writer at Avada, with a love for video games, gadgets, and software. He has been writing about the industry now for over 7 years. He likes to keep up-to-date with the latest software releases. He's also an avid reader, and he enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends. When he's not working, you can usually find him playing video games or exploring new outdoor activities.

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