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Old March 31st, 2013, 02:46 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Diego, CA
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YouTube Thumbnails

I have a client who is unhappy with the YouTube thumbnails of some of the videos I've produced for them recently. One thing leads to the next, and now these thumbnails are the difference between "wow, great video", and "this project is a total failure".

The YouTube help page says they enable the feature where you can upload your own thumbnails if your account is in good standing in about 30 days. The page is full of vague language like "usually", and "about". (As well as no definition of "good standing".)

I have had my own YouTube channel for years, and I have no idea how long it took to get access to upload my own thumbnails. I have offered alternate options to the client (Vimeo, JWPlayer), but they (rightfully) want YouTube. I am trying to get them to publish the videos today, then change the thumbnail when they get access. They are resisting.

Any feedback as to whether it is really 30 days, is it shorter, or is it longer? Any alternatives?
Mike Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 1st, 2013, 06:50 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Princeton, NJ
Posts: 59
Re: YouTube Thumbnails

It sounds like you're in a tough spot and it doesn't sound like your client is going to accept any alternative.

The fact is that unless you are a major content partner for YouTube, the ability to upload your own thumbnails is something given at the whim of Google. It's only been recently that they've even started dolling it out to regular users and there is no guarantee of when and why they grant certain users the privilege.

You are right about one thing, though. Unless they start a channel and upload content to it, they'll never have the ability to add custom thumbs. So here are 2, possibly 3 desperation moves.

1. If they are planning to embed the video somewhere else (like a blog or website), don't care where it links back to, and don't care about views, etc. Have them distribute from your channel for the short term.

2. Have them start a channel, regularly upload videos to it for the next month or so, but keep them unlisted. Hope that Google bestows thumbnail rights to them eventually. Then go unlisted. Host on Vimeo in the meantime if needed.

3. Slightly tweak the duration of your video by a second or two by adding at filler at the start or end (some black, stretch the logo, whatever you need to do) and re-upload. Every time you change the duration of the video, it's going to get new random thumbnails. Maybe you'll get lucky.
Adam Bauser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 1st, 2013, 10:38 AM   #3
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Posts: 4,299
Re: YouTube Thumbnails

Maybe start a special youtube channel just for that clip. Make one short clip of say five seconds with a fade-in to the thumbnail image, then fade-out. Upload the short clip first then upload the full motion clip to be the one that plays next after the first one concludes.

There's more ways to skinning a cat than putting it in a potato rumbler. No guarantee the bogus "header" clip will work though.
Bob Hart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 5th, 2013, 11:44 AM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 110
Re: YouTube Thumbnails

Unfortunately you are at the mercy of you-tube. Curious as to how many video views your channel has? One channel through my work only has 5,000 views and the custom thumbnail is an option.

Maybe try creating a new channel and see if that one moves any faster towards custom thumbs.
Paul Elertson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 7th, 2013, 02:06 AM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
Posts: 729
Re: YouTube Thumbnails

Just FYI, my channel only has around 80,000 views, and I have the ability the upload custom thumbnails.

I found that the option was given to me shortly after I monetized one of my more popular videos.

Another thing to think about is, are the YouTube generated thumbnails random, or taken from certain points of your video? I read somewhere that they used to be generated from the 25, 50 and 75% points, but I'm not sure if that's still the case or not.

Hope that info helps in some way.
Jody Arnott is offline   Reply

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