Video Thumbnails are an important asset to consider in the scope of a Video Production project. When it comes to choosing a video thumbnail for your video, you may wonder: What is best practise? What even is a video thumbnail? Why does google drive generate this frame before viewing a video? How do we set a thumbnail on each channel? 


In this blog, we’re breaking down our thoughts about the best practise for Video Thumbnails. 


What is a Video Thumbnail?


The thumbnail of a video is the preview image that displays on a channel before you press play. It’s like a cover image that should entice people to press play and watch the video. Thumbnails are a crucial aspect of any online video as they are a first impression to a potential viewer. 


Below is an example of thumbnails as they are shown on our Youtube channel.




Video Thumbnails on Google Drive 

At Studio Orange we deliver our final video files to clients through Google Drive and we often get asked why the first image visible is such a ‘funny’ looking one. Rest assured that this is a Google Drive only issue. 

The answer is, Google automatically generates a random thumbnail which sometimes can be not so flattering or seem like a strangely picked image. And the bad news is that there is nothing we can change about that. It’s automatically generated. The good news is that Google Drive is purely a delivery platform and we highly recommend hosting the video on your own chosen platforms. Such as LinkedIn, Youtube, Vimeo etc. when sharing with your audience.  



Best Practise for Video Thumbnails


The best practise for thumbnails is to start by natively uploading the video to your desired platform. This will then allow you more control of your thumbnail.

Most popular video platforms allow you to hand select an image by picking a frame from within your video or by creating a custom thumbnail and uploading it. This in itself will resolve the random selection of the image and put you in control of selecting the one that best represents your video. 

Make sure the thumbnail represents something you’ll see or learn about in the video. This will help people who may be interested in watching your video decide whether to press play.

Below is an example (from our favourite German Animation studios Kurzgesagt Youtube’s channel) of how Video Thumbnails can be chosen and crafted intentionally to not only instantly communicate the video purpose to the viewer but entice them to watch it: 





Video Thumbnail Image Sizes

It’s important to be intentional about what your video thumbnail looks like and part of that is ensuring that the size of the thumbnail is suited to the specific channel you are uploading it to.

Below is a list of the post popular online channel’s specific thumbnail  sizes.


  • 161 x 161 px maximum, 1080 x 1080 px
  • Stories:  1080 x 1920 px 



  • The same dimensions as your uploaded video. 



  • Facebook will allow you to choose a still from the video during the upload process. 



  • 1280px by 720px



  • The same dimensions as the video you upload. 


Setting a thumbnail is slightly different per platform, but the one thing each platform has in common is that the thumbnail gets chosen in the video settings directly after uploading your video file. 


 There are many factors that go into producing and sharing a great Video. Video Thumbnails are a key component in this process, so the next time you sit down the map out your next video project, be sure to factor video thumbnails into your plan.


Below is a 2D animated video that we created to explain Video Thumbnails best practise.



We are a Video Production company located in Perth and Melbourne, Australia. If you’d like to know more about our Animation or Video Production or for a custom thumbnail Service contact us here