How To Create, Design And Use Custom Thumbnails On YouTube

YouTube ThumbnailsI recently noticed through my video manager on YouTube that my collection of uploaded videos was growing. The Smart Income Detective Blog has only been live for 6 months, so I was super proud to see the collection growing. However, what I wasn’t proud about was the presentation of my videos on my Youtube Channel, and on my blog.

So I set out to find out how I could have custom thumbnails on my videos, and figured it couldn’t be that hard – if a 15 year old with a channel about Call Of Duty Videogames can have custom thumbnails, then I thought there was no reason at all why I shouldn’t – and furthermore – no reason why you shouldn’t either.

There are a couple of different ways, and it is up to you dependant on where you are primarily displaying your YouTube Videos.

First, What Is A Custom Thumbnail?

A custom thumbnail is simply an image that is used when the video is not playing (Scroll to the video below to see an example of what i am talking about). Every Youtube video has a thumbnail, but not every thumbnail is custom – i.e an image of your choosing. You may have noticed that if you are not a YouTube Partner, and you upload a video, youTube only give you 3 options to choose from when choosing your thumbnail.

Below, are a couple of options to enable you to display thumbnails of your choice at the beginning of your videos.

Custom Thumbnails on YouTube

The only way to get yourself custom thumbnails on your YouTube channel itself is to become a YouTube Partner.

To become a YouTube Partner, you must have an account in good standing, like below:

youtube thumbnails

I am a YouTube Partner not for monetization of my videos, but for the thumbnails. The nice thing about the partnership is that you only actually have to have monetization (adverts) enabled on one video to enable you to use thumbnails. This is how I have my account set up – as I say, I am not interested in having adverts on my videos, and furthermore, nor are my readers/viewers, as most of my videos are of the ‘how-to’ variety or reviews of products and services. The last thing you, my reader wants, is an unrelated advert popping up and ruining the viewing experience.

If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to visit the YouTube Partners page to find out more.

However I do realise not everyone is eligible. If you don’t want to become a partner, or are not eligible for the program, and you just want custom thumbnails on videos you have embedded on your blog post from YouTube, then the next section will help you out.

Why Are My Thumbnails Not Showing On My Videos?

This one caught me out, and I thought I had done something wrong. When you select your custom thumbnail, firstly, ensure you save the changes. Secondly, it takes anywhere between minutes to hours for the custom thumbnail to actually show on your video – just sit it out and wait if it doesn’t appear immediately.

How I Create My Own Custom Thumbnails

I have said it before and I will say it again; Apart from very basic editing using the likes of GIMP and Photoshop, I just do not want to invest the time or effort in learning how to use either of these pieces of image software. I have looked into it, and the learning curve is just far too steep for me. I guess it is fine if you are required to use it on a daily basis or you already have the skills, but if you have no prior experience of these programs, then I strongly urge you not to bother with them – they will end up taking up hours and hours of your time (As I found out when I was trying to edit a header for my membership site. After 4 hours, I threw in the towel, vowing never to touch such programs apart from using them for the very basics).

I have prepared this quick video below, which shows how I have designed and created my own thumbnails for all my videos:

As you can see, the actual creation is done by using some very easy and simple drag and drop software. This is a godsend for people like me, because it is true out of the box operability – meaning I installed it, and I started using it – no manuals or tutorials required. It comes highly recommended by me, and you can check it out by going here: http://www.smartincomedetective.com/logocreator

With the logo creator, I have my thumbnails saved as a template. Anytime I create a new video, I just go in and edit the title part of the image, which takes 5 seconds, save it and then upload it as a thumbnail on the relevant video.

I think good visual presentation is important, especially when you are trying to portray a professional image for your brand and website. Without the thumbnails showing on my Youtube channel, as well as them not showing on videos I have embedded on the blog, it gave a very unprofessional feel and a very ‘messy’ feel to everything. Now, I just feel everything is cleaned up and the videos I have on my YouTube Channel and on my blog are presented neatly and professionally.

All the best,

Richard Martin

  • July 30, 2013
Richard Martin

I'm just a normal guy, earning money online, hoping to help you do the same.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 4 comments
Blog Income Report - Smart Income Detective July 2013 Report - July 31, 2013

[…] Engagement has been up quite a lot this month, plenty of comments on some of the posts, and quite a few emails. A couple of highlights from this month include helping out my good friend, and blogging virgin, John, with a post going over the basics of blogging and how hosting works. I also received an email from Bob, in sunny California, asking me how I created the video thumbnails you now see on all my videos. Instead of emailing him with the answer, I once again used a blog post and a video to give him (and anyone else who is interested) the lowdown on how to create and insert thumbnails on YouTube videos. […]

Xanthin - August 24, 2013

Great videos on Optimize Press 2 (which I just purchased). I’m going to purchase Logo Creator early next month through your affiliate (since I learned it through you). Again thanks for being such a wonderful teacher.

    Richard Martin - August 24, 2013

    Thank you so much for stopping by and taking time to comment – it means a lot to me!

    I am glad you found the OP and LC videos helpful!


Lynell Bumpas - October 17, 2013

Nicely done. I always try to change my channel’s thumbnail to no avail until I give up altogether. Now I know how to do it correctly.
Lynell Bumpas recently posted…The Trinity Code ReviewMy Profile


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