How to Change your YouTube Video Thumbnail

youtube_logo_small_webreadyThere are many YouTube videos with similar titles. Sometimes the only way to differentiate them is through the thumbnail image that displays.  Having a thumbnail photo that doesn’t really match what your video is about can discourage people from viewing it.  If you’ve ever uploaded a video to YouTube, you’ve noticed that YouTube randomly picks three screenshots. You can choose any of the three. Sometimes you may get lucky and get an appealing shot that isn’t blurry or doesn’t have you starring at the camera with your eyes closed. More often the choices are not what you really want to represent your hard work. Thankfully, there is a way to change the thumbnail.

First, you have to turn on monetize your YouTube channel.  Monetizing your channel means that you could potentially receive compensation simply for uploading your video on YouTube and getting a lot of views.  That also means that ads will most likely start before your video and also scroll through on the bottom of your video as it’s playing. However, just because you choose to monetize your channel that doesn’t mean that you have to monetize every video. If you don’t for see your video getting hundreds of thousands of views, you can keep the ads off.

Next, if you have videos already uploaded the next step is to go to the video manager section of your channel.


Once there, you’ll see a list of all your videos.  Click on the edit button next to the video with the thumbnail you want to change.  You can play your video and pause it at the spot that you want to use as a thumbnail.  Then you simply take a snapshot of it.  You should then see a custom thumbnail button underneath the three other thumbnails YouTube had already selected for you.  If you are uploading a video for the first time, in the basic info tab, there will also be a button that says custom thumbnail next to the three other thumbnails.


Here you can upload that snapshot that you took or any picture or photograph you have saved on your computer.  Drag your snapshot into Photoshop before uploading it to YouTube and enhance it or add anything you want to it.


Also check out this other blog post: How to make a successful YouTube video
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