The Ideal YouTube Thumbnail Size Width and Height

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For most creators on YouTube, the major way of measuring success is by the number of views and subscribers over time. Surprisingly, one proven method to get more views and subscribers is the use of the right YouTube thumbnail size.

If you really want to get more clicks and views eventually, then you should take the thumbnail as important as the video title. These images are the bait that attracts a viewer and makes your video stand out in the pool of several search results.

In addition, considering that thumbnails images also show up on google search, they are also necessary for maximizing your impressions.

In this post, we are going to discuss in the details the following;

  • The ideal thumbnail dimensions and format
  • How to add a thumbnail to a YouTube video
  • Best practices
  • Tools for creating thumbnail images

What Is The Best Size For YouTube Thumbnails and Format?

Google, recommends that a custom YouTube video thumbnail size should measure 1280 pixels wide and 720 pixels in height.

In other words, the best thumbnail image should be large in size. Google went further to state the reasons why the image must be big.

The Ideal YouTube Thumbnail Size

“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.”

Although a thumbnail image is displayed small, it also has to be big enough for it not to look stretched when displayed on a video player.

Also, the aspect ratio of an ideal thumbnail is 16:9 and can be in either JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG not exceeding 2MB.

How to Add a Thumbnail to a YouTube Video

Apart from the three random thumbnails generated when you post a video. You will be given an option to upload a custom thumbnail.

How to add a YouTube Thumbnail Size
Image Source: Oberlo

From the picture above, you can see three random pictures selected from the uploaded video. None of these pictures are compelling enough to attract a click.

Now to add a custom thumbnail, click the button labeled customized thumbnail to upload your chosen image. After uploading, click save changes to complete the process.

Best Practices

To survive in a competitive platform such as YouTube, having just the knowledge to do so something is not enough. You must be exceptional in order to outrank other competitors.

To outdo your competitors, here are recommended seven (7) best practices for creating an ideal YouTube thumbnail.

Compel Viewers to Click with Text Overlays

Adding an image-only custom thumbnail is not always as effective. Instead, catch the attention of viewers using a mixture of pictures and text.

Introducing text can give a viewer a quick insight into what the video is all about. This is very effective if you are adding more context than what is contained in the title.

Make it Relevant and Worth the Viewer’s Click

Trust me nobody likes to be deceived with a clickbait. If you must attract, engage, and delight your viewers, you must ensure that your custom thumbnails reflect the content of your video.

Apart from giving your potential viewers an insight using the image, you encourage them to click, but make sure they won’t be disappointed when they finally view the video.

Include Your Logo

To strengthen and promote your brand, consistently include your logo on a specific spot in your thumbnail. By so doing, you will leave a lasting impression on the minds of your viewers.

In addition, it helps your brand to be easily spot on search results and helps marketing. For example, in the picture below, you can see that Vevo always include their brand logo in the bottom left-hand corner.

An example of how to place your logo on a YouTube Thumbnail Size
Image Source: Oberlo
Less is more

Remember that YouTube thumbnails are displayed small, so it’s critical that you don’t clutter your image. I understand that this might sound confusing considering that we advised you to add some text.

But you must understand how and when to strike a balance. If your custom image is too busy, it might end up pushing potential viewers away rather than attracting them.

Make people curious

Your thumbnail is your only option to make a first impression, it is your selling point and the way of stealing a viewer from probably a competitor’s video.

If your thumbnails make potential viewers curious, then you are more likely to get a click and a view from them.

Find out What Your Audience Prefer

When it comes to designing or creating custom YouTube thumbnails, the possibilities are practically endless.

The only way to find out the best model that works for you and your type of audience is to test several styles.

Find out what your viewers accept and respond to by trying out different types at intervals. You may discover that your viewers prefer a certain design, color, or image thumbnail.

You must understand that there isn’t any perfect time to commence your trial, twerk your thumbnails until you find the perfect one.

Be Consistent and Steady

Deliberate Consistency will help promote your brand. It will also make it easier for viewers to identify your videos even in the pool of other videos.

After you must have discovered the best thumbnail style, stick to it, and only make changes when necessary. For example:

Consistent image styles
Image Source: Oberlo

Tools for Creating Thumbnail Images

Creating or design a thumbnail image is not as complicated as most people imagine it be. It is one of the simplest graphic design tasks one can do.

Fortunately, there are a lot of available tools for creating thumbnail images. But to achieve the best and ideal result, we have collected four (5) easy tools that you can use.


Canva is a great yet simple to use graphic design tool. It’s the best free tool for regular users searching for a wide selection of design templates. Also, it can be used to craft the best YouTube thumbnail size.

Canva graphic tool

It offers a larger variety of YouTube thumbnails template, images for easy editing and modification. Canva offers a 1GB storage facility for your designs and templates.

The tool allows users to perform designs online even with the desktop application. The tool is handy and accessible as it has a mobile version available on mobile play stores for android, windows, and iOS.


Fotojet is a tool to go for if you are a casual user that doesn’t want to create another account online. You can use it to create the ideal YouTube thumbnail size.

Foto Jet graphic tool for creating the ideal YouTube Thumbnail Size

Like Canva, it is a creative tool that offers several YouTube thumbnail templates, clipart images, and fonts that you can tweak to craft the perfect thumbnail.

However, unlike most online design tools, you will not be required to create an account before using the tool.

Nevertheless, if you love to gain access to more features, you can upgrade a Plus profile for $6.99 per month or $39.99 per year.

Adobe Spark Post

Spark Post is the ideal tool for users who are familiar with the Adobe Creative Cloud and other Adobe’s design tools.

Adobe Spark post tool

Spark Post is a professional design tool with specialized features for a typical heavyweight design editor.

It provides varieties of templates, fonts, and tools for creating amazing designs. Its major feature is the integration with Adobe Creative Cloud that allows you to keep all your Adobe works in one place.

However, the use of this tool is free but with a watermark and can only be removed with an upgrade.


Snappa is an easy tool for creating thumbnails or images. It offers a wide range of YouTube thumbnails templates.

You can edit these images to suit your style and taste. To be able to use Snappa, watch the short video below to get started.

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