YouTube Finally Expands Custom Thumbnails To More Partners…But You Still May Have To Wait

By Megan O'Neill 

Back in April when YouTube opened up their partner program to everyone with an account in good standing, one of the first things that everyone got excited about was the prospect of custom thumbnails.  However, while YouTube began allowing new “partners” to monetize their videos, custom thumbnails were still not available…until today.

This afternoon, YouTube Product Manager Andy Stack announced on the YouTube Creators blog that the video site is expanding custom thumbnails to more partners.  He writes, “Over the past few months, we’ve been testing the impact of custom thumbnails on viewer watch time and engagement.  Today, we’re expanding access to custom thumbnails for more YouTube partners, and over time, we aim to make them available to all partners in good standing.”

Don’t get too excited just yet though – it may take time before you personally get to experience the joys of custom thumbnails.  YouTube has a history with creators abusing thumbnails, uploading flashy attention-grabbing thumbnails that have nothing to do with the video just to rack up views or drawing viewers in with cleavage.

Stack explains, “When custom thumbnails do not accurately reflect the content they represent, they can annoy and disappoint viewers.”  For this reason, the video site is being very careful with who they give access to this feature.

“Over the next few weeks,” Stack writes, “we’ll be granting access in weekly batches to partners.  Partners need to have been active for 30 days and in good standing.  When you get access, you should only upload images that are representative of your video, ideally featuring prominent stills from your video.  Thumbnails must comply with our Community Guidelines, so abuse of this feature can result in strikes against your account and termination.”

Have you been granted access to the custom thumbnails feature yet?  Let us know in the comments below.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.