Best YouTube Thumbnail Size for 2024 (Resolution & Aspect Ratio)

Did you know that your YouTube thumbnail is the first thing viewers see before deciding whether or not to watch your video? That’s why it’s crucial to ensure your thumbnail stands out among the rest. In this post, we’ll reveal the perfect thumbnail size and provide best practices to help you create stunning thumbnails that will make your videos irresistible to click on.

YouTube thumbnail size graphic (height 720 pixels, width 1280 pixels)
Ideal YouTube thumbnail size (720 pixels by 1280 pixels)

Best Size for YouTube Thumbnail

Here’s the basics of making the perfect YouTube thumbnail including dimensions, aspect ratio, and maximum file size:

  • ⭐️ YouTube video thumbnails should be uploaded at a size of 1280 x 720 pixels.
  • YouTube thumbnails are a aspect ratio of 16:9 (same as widescreen video).
  • The minimum width of YouTube thumbnails is 640 pixels.
  • YouTube thumbnail files should be under 2MB.
  • Supported image formats for thumbnails are JPG, GIF, or PNG.

Being the world’s top video-sharing platform, YouTube is primarily a visual experience. A key component of this platform is the YouTube thumbnail, a small image displayed next to video titles. These thumbnails act as a visual teaser or representative image for a video, akin to a book cover.

Thumbnails determine whether a viewer clicks on your video or opts for another.

If your video showcases a captivating thumbnail, you’re more likely to grab the attention of those scrolling past. This can translate into increased traffic and potential subscribers for your channel.

This means thumbnails play a crucial part in your video’s success on YouTube. It’s important to take charge of your YouTube thumbnail images instead of relying solely on YouTube’s automatic selections (which is typically just a frame from your video).

Considering the massive number of videos on the platform, an engaging and well-designed thumbnail can make your content stand out and attract a larger audience.

To assist you in maximizing the impact of your YouTube thumbnail images, I’ve compiled a guide covering the optimal YouTube thumbnail dimensions, the most suitable file formats for uploading, steps to upload custom thumbnails, and best practices for YouTube thumbnails.

Let’s dive in to this step-by-step tutorial!

Optimal YouTube Thumbnail Size: In-Depth Guide

Here’s an in-depth guide on using custom YouTube thumbnails, including their dimensions, importance and how to enable them on your YouTube account.

First let’s break down the basics of YouTube thumbnails.

YouTube thumbnails should be created at a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. This is a 16:9 aspect ratio, files can be JPG, GIF, or PNG at a maximum of 2MB. In this post we’ll go over everything you need to know but for details from YouTube you can visit YouTube’s official thumbnail guidelines.

YouTube thumbnail size graphic (height 720 pixels, width 1280 pixels)

The Significance of YouTube Thumbnail Images

A thumbnail image is like a book cover for your video, these still images are crucial to a great first impression. As YouTube has evolved into a search platform, you’ll want your video to stand out with a captivating yet accurate thumbnail image. This image is more visible than the video’s title text.

Since thumbnails are the first thing people will see when deciding to watch your video it’s arguable that thumbnails are the most important part of your video. If people don’t click your video they won’t watch your video, it’s as simple as that. This means it’s essential to create an eye-catching thumbnail.

This means you’ll want to use text, contrasting colors, and graphic design skills to capture someone’s attention with your thumbnail. You’ll also want to remember not to use clickbait tactics that don’t align with the video. If the thumbnail isn’t at all a representation of the video people will likely exit the video after clicking.

Note that the YouTube thumbnail image differs from your channel’s banner image which only appear on your channel’s page.

Ideal YouTube Thumbnail Dimensions

Although you have some flexibility with the image size for your YouTube thumbnail, the ideal target size is 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall. This size ensures your thumbnail remains sharp and crisp on high-density displays and external websites, even though it’s larger than required on the YouTube site itself.

Minimum Thumbnail Size for YouTube

YouTube states that the minimum size for thumbnail images is 640 pixels wide. While you can upload smaller images without receiving an error message, it’s not recommended as the image may appear blurry.

Image Aspect Ratio for YouTube Thumbnails

The best aspect ratio for custom thumbnails is 16:9. YouTube will accept taller or narrower images, but it will add black bars to maintain the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Maximum Size for YouTube Thumbnails

The maximum file size for YouTube thumbnail images is 2MB. Uploading a larger file will result in a warning and rejection.

Maximum file size for YouTube thumbnails

Compatible File Formats for Custom Thumbnail Images

Accepted file formats for YouTube thumbnail images include JPG/JPEG, PNG, GIF (non-animated), and BMP. Images using HEIC (High-Efficiency Image Format) or RAW formats (e.g., with file extensions like .dng/.crw/.arw) are not supported. You’ll need to convert HEIC files to JPG and process RAW images into JPGs before uploading.

Uploading an incorrect file type to YouTube

How to Enable Custom Thumbnail Images

By default, YouTube allows you to choose from automatically generated still frames taken from the video. Of course you’ll want to be able to upload a custom thumbnail, which is useful for adding title text or other relevant graphics to the thumbnail.

A new YouTube account doesn’t have the option to upload and choose a custom thumbnail enabled by default. You’ll need to enable this feature by verifying your account. This process helps reduce thumbnail spam on the platform.

Enabling YouTube custom thumbnails

Steps to Verify Your YouTube Account and Enable Custom Thumbnail Images:

  1. Log in to YouTube.
  2. Visit the verification screen at
  3. Follow the instructions to select your country and receive the verification code via text or phone call.
  4. Enter the 6-digit verification code and click Submit.
  5. You should see a message confirming success and that your phone number is verified.
Verifying phone number in YouTube

After verifying your phone number you’ll be able to upload thumbnails.

If you’d like to confirm that you can upload custom thumbnails to YouTube you can head to your channel dashboard. Once here click setting on the bottom left and head to ‘Channel’ then ‘Feature eligibility’. Under intermediate features you’ll see if you have the ability to upload custom thumbnails.

Enabling custom thumbnails in YouTube

How to Upload a Custom Thumbnail for a YouTube Video

After your account’s phone number is verified you’ll see an upload to upload a thumbnail when editing a video on YouTube.

YouTube thumbnail upload UI

How to upload a custom video thumbnail on YouTube:

  1. Open YouTube Studio.
  2. Go to the video you want to work on and navigate to Video Details Basic tab.
  3. Scroll about halfway down the page to find the Thumbnail section.
  4. You’ll see a button to upload a thumbnail.
  5. Select the custom thumbnail image from your computer and click Open.
  6. Once the custom thumbnail is uploaded, it will appear alongside the automatically generated options. Make sure your custom thumbnail is selected.
  7. Don’t forget to click “Save” to finalize the changes to your video.

In summary, creating custom YouTube thumbnails can help your videos stand out and attract more viewers. Aim for an image size of 1280 x 720 pixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio to ensure the best results.

Verify your YouTube account to enable custom thumbnail uploads, and consider using tools like Canva to design visually appealing thumbnails that accurately represent your video content. With attention-grabbing and relevant thumbnails, you can potentially increase engagement, views, and subscribers on your YouTube channel.

YouTube Thumbnail Best Practices

Creating an effective YouTube thumbnail involves more than just getting the technical specs right. Having an appealing thumbnail is essential to video marketing on YouTube and growing your channel. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when for YouTube thumbnail design:

1. Make it visually compelling

Thumbnail examples on my channel Andy Feliciotti

Your thumbnail should be eye-catching and stand out in a sea of other video thumbnails. Use bright colors, high-contrast imagery, and bold text to grab viewers’ attention. Think about what would make someone want to click on your video based solely on the thumbnail.

You will also want to ensure your thumbnail aligns with the video’s content. This could mean having a scene similar to the first 10 seconds of your video so users can instantly see that alignment when the open the video or hover to preview.

2. Keep it clear and simple

While you want your thumbnail to be attention-grabbing, don’t make it too busy or cluttered. You’ll want to make sure there is enough whitespace for your design to breathe. Stick to one main focal point or message. If you include text, keep it brief and easily readable at small sizes. Remember, simplicity often wins when it comes to thumbnail design.

3. Create a curiosity gap

Whether your video is entertainment or educational you can work on creating a curiosity gap. Teasing what your video teaches or the outcome in your video can really make your thumbnail irresistible. The larger the curiosity gap the better.

4. Convey the video’s topic or benefit

An effective thumbnail gives viewers a clear idea of what the video is about and why they should watch it. Use imagery and text that accurately represents the video’s content and conveys a key benefit or takeaway. Avoid clickbait tactics that mislead viewers.

5. Maintain consistent branding

If you have a consistent visual brand across your YouTube channel, carry that through to your thumbnail design. Use the same fonts, color scheme, or graphic styles in your thumbnails. This helps viewers instantly recognize your videos and builds familiarity with your brand.

6. Use high-quality images

Even though thumbnails display at small sizes, it’s important to use high-resolution, professional-looking images. Blurry, pixelated, or low-quality images can deter clicks. Take the time to source or create polished, crisp graphics for your thumbnails.

By putting these best practices into action, you can create YouTube thumbnails that not only meet the technical requirements but also drive more clicks and views on your videos. Compelling thumbnail design is a key part of YouTube SEO and can help your videos rank higher in search results. Remember to test multiple thumbnails using the built-in thumbnail tester to fine tune your click through rate.

Frequently Asked Questions about YouTube Thumbnail Images

Here are FAQs related to YouTube thumbnails:

What are YouTube thumbnails?

On YouTube, thumbnails serve as image previews representing videos. These static images appear prominently in YouTube search results, queues, subscription feeds, playlists, and on external websites when a video is embedded. Keep in mind users on YouTube can also hover over videos to watch a video preview as well so having a thumbnail match the tone of your intro visuals can help people click through. You’ll also want to remember some users are on a mobile device so thumbnails with a simple concept work the best.

How can I modify the thumbnail size on YouTube?

YouTube dictates the display size and shape of the thumbnail image on their website, so it’s beyond your control. However, you can upload a larger custom thumbnail image to improve its quality, such as when the original image is pixelated or blurry.

What’s the recommended size for YouTube thumbnails?

The ideal dimensions for YouTube thumbnail images is 1280 x 720 pixels.

What are good fonts for YouTube thumbnails?

Popular fonts to use when making YouTube thumbnails include Bebas Neue, Impact, River Drive, DK Mandarin Whispers, and Badaboom BB. Huge YouTubers like PewDiePie have used Impact for their thumbnails. Just remember one of the most important things is to make the text legible since your thumbnail will be in a sea of others. You’ll also likely want to keep the text on thumbnails minimal and keep the words larger.

What’s the optimal aspect ratio for YouTube video thumbnails?

The best aspect ratio for YouTube thumbnail images is 16:9. This is the typical widescreen aspect ratio of videos uploaded to YouTube and the perfect YouTube thumbnail size. If your thumbnail is 16:9 using vector design elements you can always resize it to the required 720×1280 resolution.

What size should a YouTube thumbnail be in Photoshop?

When creating a custom YouTube thumbnail in Adobe Photoshop, aim for dimensions of 1280 x 720 pixels. This ensures your thumbnail is high-quality when displayed on YouTube.

What are the minimum dimensions for YouTube thumbnail images?

The minimum width for YouTube thumbnail images is 640 pixels.

How do I download a YouTube thumbnail?

Often you’ll want to download a YouTube thumbnail, like to post to social or to edit. If you uploaded the video you want to download the thumbnail of you can download the thumbnail on the video’s YouTube studio page. If you want to download any YouTube video thumbnail you can use a tool like Thumbnail Panda.

How do you make YouTube thumbnails?

Just about any graphic design tool will work to make YouTube thumbnails. Popular software to make thumbnails include Canva, Adobe Photoshop, Figma, and InShot.

What’s the maximum file size for a YouTube thumbnail image?

The largest file size allowed for a YouTube thumbnail image is 2MB.

Which image file formats can be used for YouTube thumbnail images?

Accepted file formats for YouTube thumbnail images include JPG/JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, and WebP.

What resolution or PPI/DPI should a YouTube thumbnail image have?

When exporting from Photoshop or another image editor, the pixel dimensions matter, not the density. So as long as the image is 1280 x 720 when exported you should be fine. Any PPI value—72ppi, 240ppi, 300ppi, etc.—is acceptable.

Which JPG quality setting is best?

YouTube’s servers compress images during the upload process. To maintain quality, upload the highest quality JPG possible (with minimal compression), keeping the file size below the 2MB size limit. You can pick a JPG quality setting of around 65% to retain most of the detail while keeping the file small enough to upload.

Can I upload multiple thumbnails to A/B test?

A/B testing thumbnails in YouTube
A/B testing thumbnails in YouTube

You can now test thumbnails on YouTube with their built-in A/B tester. This tool lets you compare up to three different thumbnails to see which one grabs the most clicks. YouTube will run the test and automatically pick the thumbnail with the highest click-through rate. This makes it easy for you to optimize your videos without any extra effort. Just upload your options, and let YouTube do the work. I’d really recommend doing this for all of your uploads.


I hope this article was helpful for sizing your YouTube video thumbnails in 2024! Paying attention to the size of your YouTube thumbnails can make all the difference in terms of driving traffic and increasing engagement to your videos. By optimizing your thumbnail size, you can ensure your videos stand out from the crowd and attract more potential viewers.

Remember to keep it simple, clear, and eye-catching, and you’ll be well on your way to YouTube success! You can also use your thumbnail on social media sites like X/Twitter or LinkedIn when promoting your video.

If you’re looking for more ways to improve you YouTube channel consider adding a subscribe button to your YouTube videos. Additionally if you are looking for ways to repurpose your YouTube videos check out RightBlogger’s YouTube to blog post generator.

New to making thumbnails? You can try tools like Canva for premade YouTube thumbnail templates. Additionally you can master creating videos using editing software like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier Pro, or DaVinci Resolve.

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