YouTube Shorts Thumbnail Size: Best Practices + Tips & How-Tos

Updated on October 6, 2023

7 min to read

Content Writer

Published October 6, 2023

YouTube Shorts Thumbnail Size: Best Practices + Tips & How-Tos
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Your YouTube Shorts thumbnail size is crucial to the success of your clients’ YT marketing campaigns.

It’s true.

After all, YouTube thumbnails act as previews to your clients’ videos.

If they’re too small, your would-be viewers will continue swiping without watching your Shorts since they can’t see your thumbnails.

That means you won’t get the views, engagements, leads, or potential sales. 😱

You wouldn’t want that, of course.

And so the question becomes… What exactly is the right size for YouTube Shorts thumbnails?

We’ll share the details in this guide, along with the best practices, how-tos, and tips for nailing your clients’ YouTube Shorts thumbnail sizes. 

Table of contents

What you’ll learn

  • What are YouTube Shorts thumbnails?
  • Standard YouTube Shorts thumbnail size
  • How to add a thumbnail to YouTube Shorts
  • How to change the thumbnail on YouTube Shorts
  • 5 Best practices for adding thumbnail on YouTube Shorts
  • FAQs on adding thumbnails on YouTube Shorts
  • Get the YouTube Shorts thumbnail size right

What are YouTube Shorts thumbnails?

YouTube Shorts thumbnails are still images that serve as previews for the video.

Think of the thumbnails as book covers designed to entice potential readers or viewers to see more.

Compelling and striking thumbnails combined with amazing YouTube Shorts ideas can mean the difference between viewers clicking to watch or swiping away.

Standard YouTube Shorts thumbnail size

The standard YouTube Short aspect ratio is 9:16.

It is the same aspect ratio that short-form videos on other platforms follow, such as Instagram and Facebook Reels and TikTok posts.

The standard aspect ratio makes sharing a YouTube video on Instagram Story, for example, a whole lot easier.

Like the video, your clients’ YouTube Shorts thumbnails should use the 9:16 ratio and a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels.

Following the standard YouTube video size and dimensions ensures optimal quality and file size for your clients’ Shorts.

How to add a thumbnail to YouTube Shorts

Add video thumbnails on YouTube Shorts easily with these steps.

After logging in to your client’s account on the YouTube app, tap the Upload (+) icon at the bottom center of your screen and select Upload a video.

YouTube Shorts Thumbnail Size1

Select the YouTube video your client wants to upload as a Short from the device’s gallery. 

You can trim the video’s duration, add sounds, text, filters, and more, and tap Next.

YouTube Shorts Thumbnail Size2

Tap the video preview on the Add details page to edit the thumbnail.

YouTube Shorts Thumbnail Size3

Choose from the video’s still shots to use as the thumbnail. Tap Done and add the captions and details.

YouTube Shorts Thumbnail Size4

Upload your client’s Shorts video, and you’re set. 

How to change the thumbnail on YouTube Shorts

There are various opinions and experiences from users who tried to change the default or add custom thumbnails on YouTube Shorts. 

Previously, YouTube allowed users to set a custom thumbnail image for Shorts via the YouTube Studio.

But as of writing this, the option is no longer available, and you’ll get a “For now, you can’t change the thumbnail on your Short” prompt if you try.

For now, your client’s best option is to choose a YouTube Shorts thumbnail when uploading the video (as outlined above).

5 Best practices for adding thumbnail on YouTube Shorts

Nail your clients’ YouTube Shorts thumbnails with these practical tips.

1. Keep the thumbnail simple

YouTube thumbnails are small and even smaller when viewed on mobile device screens.

So simplicity yet eye-catching is the name of the game.

Avoid using YouTube Shorts thumbnails with too many visual elements, texts, or small font sizes. These can only make your clients’ Shorts thumbnails look chaotic and unattractive.

Stick to a simple thumbnail that captures the viewers’ eye at a glance.

Also, keep the title short and sweet so it doesn’t crowd your clients’ thumbnails. 

2. Choose thumbnails with contrasting colors

Plain, dull colors and poor color combinations won’t likely turn heads and get your clients’ YouTube Shorts more views.

Black text on a dark background, anyone?

Again, thumbnails are tiny, so your clients must use contrasting, eye-catching colors to stand out and encourage viewers to click and watch the videos.

3. Place the logo strategically

Choosing a YouTube Shorts thumbnail that clearly shows your client’s brand logo can help raise recognition and awareness.

But you must be strategic with the logo’s placement for this to work.

Ensure your client’s logo isn’t too big that it distracts viewers from anything else in the thumbnail.

It shouldn’t be too small either, or no one will see it.

You can keep the logo to a reasonable size, not too big or small, while clear and visible. The top corner of the image is the best place to put the logo in your client’s Short thumbnail.

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4. Steer clear of clickbait thumbnails

Clickbait thumbnail images are a huge no-no.

These mislead your clients’ viewers, which ruins the viewing experience and potential subscriber relationships.

Clickbait YouTube Shorts thumbnails can land your clients’ accounts in hot water since misleading content violates the YouTube community guidelines.

Stick to adding thumbnails relevant to your clients’ YouTube Shorts videos and give context so viewers know what to expect.

For instance, without revealing too many details, you can use the most important point of your clients’ YouTube Shorts video as the thumbnail to give viewers a good idea about the content.

The idea is to use a thumbnail that sparks interest while providing relevant context.

Relevant context with valuable content can be the best formula to get on the YouTube algorithm’s good side.

If the algorithm deems your clients’ videos relevant, it will display the content to more people, expanding your clients’ reach and getting them more views.

Must read: How the YouTube Shorts Algorithm Works [2023]: w/ Tips & FAQs

5. Get creative 

Creative YouTube Shorts thumbnails are fun and interesting, enticing your clients’ viewers to click to learn more.

You can include creative tactics to create YouTube Shorts thumbnails that viewers can’t help but click, including the following:

  • Add appropriate emojis to sprinkle fun and personality on your clients’ thumbnails.
  • Highlight action poses like cooking, dancing, or any physical activity in your clients’ thumbnails when applicable. These can make your clients’ thumbnails look lively, sparking viewer interest.
  • Create a sense of intrigue by hiding or obscuring an important detail in your clients’ thumbnails. It can leave your clients’ viewers wanting more. 
  • Throw in some funny elements to make your clients’ thumbnails more interesting and relatable. A bit of humor can go a long way in attracting more viewers and subscribers.
  • Consider using similar color schemes and other elements in your clients’ YouTube Shorts thumbnails. Consistent thumbnails help raise brand recognition and awareness while highlighting the brand’s uniqueness.

Say goodbye to publishing YouTube Shorts manually

Managing multiple social media profiles on top of creating and posting your clients’ YouTube channel and Shorts videos takes a lot of time and effort.

The solution? Use a modern social media management platform that lets you streamline these tasks.

Vista Social has robust publishing, engagement, analytics, and listening tools to supercharge your social media workflows.

The features also make it easier to turn your clients’ YouTube channel ideas into reality since it helps them plan and organize content development and publishing.

The platform allows you to create your clients’ YouTube Shorts and schedule them to auto-publish on optimal times and dates with a few clicks.

This way, you can easily configure your clients’ content to publish at the best time to post on YouTube Shorts for maximum engagement.

YouTube Shorts Thumbnail Size5

Important note: You can’t pick a custom thumbnail for your clients’ YouTube Shorts due to YouTube limitations.

Add compelling descriptions and YouTube Shorts hashtags, set the schedule, and Vista Social will do the rest.

With YouTube Shorts scheduling, you won’t need to log into each of your clients’ YouTube accounts and publish Shorts manually.

That’s a load of work off your shoulders.

What’s more, Vista Social’s YouTube management tools for business lets you:

  • Plan, create, and publish engaging content for your clients with a collaborative content calendar, built-in approval workflows, and other creative tools. 
  • Manage conversations and help clients build relationships with subscribers and viewers through a central social inbox. The feature lets you track comments and conversations with other YouTube users so your clients never miss opportunities to engage them.

Must read: How to view the YouTube comment history.  

  • Track and assess your clients’ YouTube performance by capturing paid and organic insights to determine follower growth, audience engagement, and video performance.
YouTube Shorts Thumbnail Size6
  • Organize your clients’ images, videos, and other media with the built-in library. It simplifies pulling assets and creating YouTube videos for your clients.
  • Find relevant and timely User-Generated Content (UGC) across social media without leaving Vista Social.

You can use the UGCs to inspire your clients’ next YouTube Shorts or channel videos or share them (with proper attribution) to supplement your clients’ content.  

FAQs on adding thumbnails on YouTube Shorts

Let’s look at the commonly asked questions about adding YouTube Shorts thumbnails.

Can YouTube Shorts thumbnails impact views?

Yes, thumbnails can directly impact YouTube Shorts views since these can entice viewers to click on the videos and keep watching.

Switching to a more captivating YouTube Shorts thumbnail can do wonders for your clients’ views and engagement.

Are thumbnails important for YouTube monetization?

Thumbnails are the first things your clients’ viewers see, making them vital for boosting Click-through Rates (CTRs).

A good CTR is generally any percentage that beats your clients’ channel average.

Is thumbnail important for YouTube monetization?

Can you use a 1:1 ratio for YouTube Shorts?

You can create shorts with a 1:1 aspect ratio and 1080 x 1080 pixels dimension.

However, the videos will look like perfect squares and not vertical—the standard YouTube Shorts format.

YouTube will categorize the square video as a Short, but it will look different from Shorts in the standard format.

Get the YouTube Shorts thumbnail size right

YouTube Shorts thumbnails can make or break your clients’ efforts to boost views and audience engagement.

So don’t underestimate the power of YouTube Shorts thumbnails and ensure you’ve ticked all the boxes that ought to be ticked—from using the right thumbnail size to following the best practices and tips in this guide.

Also, make your life easier and manage your clients’ social media accounts and content easily with Vista Social. The SMM platform has a myriad of features that can help you streamline your social media marketing campaigns.

  • AI assistant
  • Highly customizable reports
  • Free social media tools
  • Approval workflows
  • Shared calendar
  • User and product tags
  • URL tracking
  • Bulk scheduling
  • Etc.

Create a Vista Social account now and get tons of views, engagements, and sales.

About the Author

Content Writer

Jimmy Rodela is a social media and content marketing consultant with over 9 years of experience, with work appearing on sites such as, Yahoo, SEMRush, and SearchEnginePeople. He specializes in social media, content marketing, SaaS, small business strategy, marketing automation, and content development.

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