YouTube is the undisputed king of video. With YouTube ranking as the second most visited website in the world–second only to Google–the possibilities for video marketing on the platform are limitless.
But recording and uploading videos to YouTube is only one side of the coin, getting eyeballs on the video is the more important and often tricky part. Around 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute. This means your videos have to work a lot harder to attract viewers. By nailing all the visual elements of your video and YouTube channel, your videos will stand out in the crowd. That’s why you need a YouTube size guide.
In this article, we’ll cover the recommended sizes and best practices for the all-important Youtube visual elements, namely the banner or channel art, channel icon, and video thumbnails.
Let’s start with the YouTube thumbnail.
YouTube Video Thumbnail
The video thumbnail is to a YouTube video what a book cover is to a book. It is the first thing viewers see when your video appears in search results.
If you fail to grab viewer attention at this point, you’ll lose viewers to a more visually appealing video. With the average human attention span now at 8 seconds, it is the most attention-grabbing video thumbnail that gets the click.
Video thumbnails appear in YouTube search results and offer viewers a glimpse of your video.
Standard YouTube Thumbnail Size
The recommended YouTube thumbnail size is 1280 x 720 pixels, with a minimum width of 640 pixels, and a file size of less than 2MB. If you are working with a different size, be sure to maintain the recommended aspect ratio of 16:9.
Why Size Matters in YouTube Marketing
One word: responsiveness.
YouTube videos display differently across various devices. The goal is to have your videos look good on all screen sizes. Selecting random banner and thumbnail sizes may lead to pixelation on some devices. This holds true not just for thumbnails but for the other visual elements as well.
Keep in mind that your video thumbnail will appear in a number of places and the presentation sizes will vary depending on the platform. These include:
- In Google search results
- In YouTube search results
- In the related searches section (on both Google and YouTube)
- As the featured image when the video is shared on social media
- In your channel video listings
See how the size of thumbnails varies depending on the type of search result.
Video results without any descriptions get medium-sized thumbnails. Compare that to the size of video thumbnails below that have descriptions.
YouTube video results accompanied by descriptions get only a very tiny thumbnail. You have to ensure that the text in your video thumbnail is visible at this size.
YouTube Banner or Channel Art
If your video thumbnail passes the litmus test and a viewer watches the video and loves the content, they may decide to check out your channel. This is another chance to make an impression and turn that viewer into a subscriber.
When someone views your YouTube channel, they’ll see the following:
- Banner or header image (officially known as the YouTube channel art)
- Channel icon (profile photo)
- Thumbnails of your existing video content including your playlists
If you wish to get more subscribers, then you have to make a good impression overall, from your banner to your thumbnails.
What is a YouTube Banner or Channel Art?
YouTube channel art is similar to cover photos on Twitter and Facebook. It is the background image that announces the identity of your YouTube channel. The channel art is your chance to creatively set the mood for your channel and give your brand some credibility.
See how NatGeo Wild infuses some personality into the text in their channel art.
Standard YouTube Banner Size
The recommended banner size for YouTube is 2560 wide x 1440 pixels and maximum file size of 4 megabytes. However, you should ensure that the text or graphics stay within the standard minimum safe area, which is 1546 x 423 pixels.
Anything outside the recommended YouTube banner dimensions may affect the display on some devices. If the text and graphics go beyond the minimum safe area, some parts of the content could be cropped out or the text may become too tiny to read.
YouTube Profile photo or Channel icon
The recommended profile photo size is 800 x 800 pixels. Don’t get too creative with the profile photo because it displays as a really small thumbnail. If you are including a logo, use a high-quality version and ensure that the focus is at the center of the image.
Below is a side by side comparison of the ideal YouTube banner dimensions and YouTube thumbnail size, and profile photo size.
|Description||Banner or Channel Art||Video Thumbnail||Profile Photo|
|Recommended size||2560 x 1440 pixels||1280 x 720 pixels||800 x 800 pixels|
|Minimum size||2048 x 1152 pixels||640 pixels wide||–|
|Max file size||4 MB||2 MB|
YouTube Banner and Thumbnail Comparison Size Chart
The success of your YouTube videos depends not just on the quality of the content itself, but also on your ability to attract viewers. You can only get subscribers when people watch your YouTube videos long enough to appreciate the content.
Sticking to recommended sizes for YouTube video elements ensures your videos get the best display on all screen sizes. The best size for the banner or channel art is 2560 x 1440 pixels and for video thumbnails, it’s 1280 x 720 pixels. Profile photos stay square at 800 x 800 and should be optimized for circular cropping. These values aren’t set in stone, so you should always be on the lookout for any updates.
Amos Onwukwe is an AWAI trained Business and Ecommerce Copywriter featured in Huffington Post, Dumb Little Man, Self Growth, Ecommerce Nation, eCommerce Insights, Understanding Ecommerce, Result First, Floship, Successful Startup 101, Small Biz Club, Small Business Bonfire, among others. You can find him on Twitter @amos_onwukwe.