YouTube now seeing 48 hours of video uploaded every minute, in order to get your content seen by regular and new viewers -- thumbnails as the first point of contact for your channel can make the difference for someone about to watch your contents.
"Thumbnails for your videos, playlists and even your channel are used throughout YouTube to promote your content. Some common placements for thumbnails are in search results, along the far right column of your video's Watch Page, on your Channel page, and in the video player after a video stops playing (the video's end card). Through these placements viewers can discover your videos, playlists, and channels," YouTube said.
During the video upload, YouTbne provides you an option to pick one of three frames from your video, or to upload a custom image file. For either options, here are some basic best-practices that can be applied:
Per YouTube blog post:
- thumbnail should look good, either scaled small or large
- Faces work better and engage the audience
- Visuals of the finished product work better than the process (e.g. show the cake, rather a picture of the batter)
- Good thumbnails follow the same rule as good photographs - composition, contrast, and color count
- Choose images that accurately portray video's content
- Accurate thumbnails allow viewers to more easily browser and enjoy your content.
- Misleading thumbnails lead to poor audience engagement and will hurt your channel's performance in the long run
- Safeguards are in place to find and penalize channels that upload racy thumbnails--take a look at our Community Guidelines for more information
- For channels with the ability to upload custom thumbnails, upload a high quality image
- There is no limit on pixel size (though 1280x720 is recommended)
- The image file has to be less than 2MB
- Accepted file formats: PNG, BMP, GIF, or JPEG
For more tips read the YouTube Creator Playbook below: