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How to Add a Thumbnail to YouTube Shorts

Andrew Moore-Crispin
October 25, 2023
How to add a thumbnail to YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts have become a popular way to share short, engaging videos with a wide audience. But adding a thumbnail to your YouTube Shorts isn’t as simple as adding a thumbnail to your YouTube long-form videos.

Still, a great thumbnail can be key to catching the viewer’s attention.

We’ll walk you through the steps required to add custom thumbnails to your YouTube Shorts so your content stands out and attracts more viewers.

1. Designing the Perfect Thumbnail

The first step in adding custom thumbnails to your YouTube Shorts is to create the perfect thumbnail. It should be in a 9:16 format, which is the ideal size for Shorts.

Design a thumbnail that looks great, that grabs attention, and that tells viewers what your video is about. Viewers often decide whether to watch a video based on its thumbnail.

Make sure it piques curiosity and has depth and contrast to draw attention. If you’re new to creating compelling thumbnails, consider using graphic design tools or templates to make this process easier.

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2. Add the Thumbnail Image to Your Shorts Video

Custom thumbnail in hand, it’s time for the next step: getting it into your Shorts video.

Add the thumbnail image to the beginning or end of your video’s timeline. Don’t worry about this disrupting your video’s content; we’ll be fixing it later in the editing process. This addition is essential because it helps your Shorts look more professional and increases their click-through rate.

3. Uploading Your Edited Video

After adding the custom thumbnail to your video, export the video and transfer it to your phone.

Open the YouTube app and create a Short. Add the edited video to your Shorts library and follow the standard upload process.

On the video Details page, you’ll find a pencil icon next to the image. Tap it, and you’ll be able to scrub the timeline to select your custom thumbnail image.

Fill in the rest of the video details as you normally would, including title, description, and tags. Once everything is set, just hit upload.

4. Trim Your Video in YouTube Studio

To complete the process, head over to the video Details page in the YouTube Studio app on your desktop.

Select the video edit option, and there you’ll find the trim and cut feature. This is where you’ll remove the part of the video containing the custom thumbnail image, leaving you with your original YouTube Short.

Trimming is essential to ensure that your Shorts look clean and professional, as viewers often judge the video’s quality based on the opening moments.

Custom thumbnails are an integral part of making your YouTube Shorts stand out in a crowded platform. Adding a thumbnail in YouTube Shorts requires some work-around steps but the extra effort is worth it.

A compelling thumbnail is often the first impression viewers have of your video, so investing time and effort into creating one is well worth it. So, get creative, design your custom thumbnail so your YouTube Shorts stand out.

Now, it’s time to put these steps into action and enhance the visual appeal of your Shorts, attracting more viewers and growing your channel. Happy Short-making!