Influencing the YouTube Video Thumbnail choices you'll get?


Junior Member
Dec 22, 2009
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Is there anything you can do with a video before uploading it to make YouTube give you a Thumbnail that you want?

Would having the exact same frame at the very end for a few seconds do it?
There uses to be a way to manipulate the thumbnail (It would ALWAYS be at 25%/50%/75%), but now it is at a random place anywhere in the video. Don't think it can be manipulated anymore.
There was something about it being at the halfway point in the video - still loks that way. I think there is a way to influence it as there are still videos with those pics of girls in them - when the video has nothing to do with it.
Yes, and here is how:

If you have a 2 minutes video, at the end add one more minute with only a picture on it, the thumbnail you want selected.

You will have now a 3 minutes video. Youtube let's you choose between 3 thumbnails, which are generated RANDOM but follow the video TIMELINE.

It means, the first random picture is taken FROM THE FIRST MINUTE.
The second random picture is taken FROM THE SECOND MINUTE.
The 3rd random picture is taken FROM THE THIRD MINUTE.

So, you choose the 3rd thumbnail, which will always be the picture you selected. Unfortunately, a few seconds will not do it, you need to add 50% of your video length...
Create a video with a time code on it. Upload the video. See what timecode is on each thumbnail, replace that second with a still. Reupload video.
Create a video with a time code on it. Upload the video. See what timecode is on each thumbnail, replace that second with a still. Reupload video.

The thumbnails will have different locations on the second video, obviously, they are randomly generated.
I use a similar method like Nick explained only not with one picture but with multiple related pictures.

It looks kind of odd when a flashy vid ends with a long still picture.

Say I want to promote Ford Mustangs.
The primary part of the vid will seduce the viewer to come to my site.
The "3rd" part of my vid will be a showcase and holds a couple of pictures from Mustangs with an occasional Call To Action text.
Whatever frame YT chooses in the last part, it will always show a thumb with a Ford Mustang....the product I'm promoting.

One final tip. Don't use transitions in this part of the vid or you might end up with a thumb of 2 pics crossfading or sliding.
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That is a good tip to mix it up at the end while still getting the thumbnail you want.
I used to yes, Im a Partner now so I just upload thumbnails...maybe they have changed the system.
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