No matter what kinds of videos you watch on YouTube, most of them need to compete with other videos in the algorithm. Like a regular search engine, YouTube serves up relevant videos based on keyword search. But unlike a regular Google search, the results are often partially based on your past viewing history. Still, even with the best SEO and algorithm placements, it’s important to impress your viewers. One way to do this is with YouTube thumbnails on each video. YouTube thumbnails appear prominently throughout YouTube and can catch our eye, so it’s important that we create them, but what thumbnail maker for YouTube options do we have?
What are YouTube Thumbnails?
YouTube thumbnails are small, still, images that provide a preview of a video. These can be automatic snapshots provided in the YouTube content studio or an outside image from a thumbnail maker for YouTube. The purpose of a thumbnail is to describe what’s in the video and encourage people to view the video. In that sense, it’s similar to an excerpt on the back of a book or an executive summary.
Are YouTube Thumbnails Important?
YES! According to YouTube, some 90% of the best-performing videos have custom thumbnails. In other words, they are thumbnails that weren’t auto-generated by YouTube’s creator studio. Custom thumbnails give your video a compelling introduction. Otherwise, the randomness of a default thumbnail can detract from your video’s message. Whether you are a YouTuber or want to leverage YouTube for marketing, custom YouTube thumbnails are an essential part of the publishing process together with your video!
What is a YouTube Thumbnail Maker?
A thumbnail maker for YouTube is an application that provides ready-to-use templates as well as features such as deleting out backgrounds to make it easy to create a YouTube thumbnail quickly. Usually, these applications are part of a larger image editing or marketing software program. For that reason, we’ll primarily focus on the pricing and YouTube-specific features.
What is the Best Thumbnail Maker App for YouTube?
The best app is the one that meets your needs at the right price point. In many cases, it’ll be an app that you already use for other things, like your content marketing. However, you’ll sometimes find that a different app works better for your YouTube thumbnails. Let’s jump right in!
Canva is an all-around photo and image editing software application. They have a wide variety of templates, including a thumbnail maker for YouTube. Canva lets you choose from thousands of images and many special effects, depending on the type of plan you choose. You can craft images completely from scratch or upload an image from the video. Any still from your video can be chosen, clipped, and used for a thumbnail. Either way, it’s an easy-to-use drag-and-drop application.
Pricing: Free (fewer features) or $12.99/mo for 5 user licenses.
Formerly called Adobe Spark, this is another drag and drop photo editor. One of the standout features is a mobile app version. This downloads onto your phone and is specially designed for social media images such as a thumbnail maker for YouTube, Instagram posts, and similar content. This means that, as with YouTube’s native feature, you can make a thumbnail on the go. However, you aren’t limited to using whichever still images YouTube picked at random. Rather, you can choose something that fits and upload it to the app. Then, you can use a range of editing features to make the perfect thumbnail. Finally, you can save the image in the cloud for safekeeping.
Pricing: Limited features for free. More advanced editing tools and better image, special effects library for $9.99/mo.
Similarly, Fotor is a web-based drag and drop photo editor. The developers liken it to “Photoshop light,” in that it’s easier to use. And while Fotor has many more options than the YouTube tool, it’s still incredibly user-friendly.
For YouTube creators, Fotor is very flexible. You can choose any still from the video and upload it to the program. Then, you’ll add it to one of Fotor’s custom templates. From there, users can add a custom logo, word art, or special effects. For instance, you could airbrush a face just like you could with a “regular” photograph. In practice, that means this program is a simple, yet full-featured, option.
Pricing: A very limited free version that has almost no templates. Paid options are $8.99 or $19.99/month and include more advanced features or even logo creation.
With Snappa’s thumbnail maker for YouTube, it’s easy to make an image that invites clicks. Unlike some competitors, Snappa lets you choose a stock photo from their library or upload a snapshot. Then, you can add special effects, images like logos or word art, or even take a “talking head” and swap out the background. Best of all, it’s easy to use.
Pricing: Free for 3 downloads/mo.; unlimited use from $10/mo.
Fotojet has a lot of drag-and-drop templates. Choose one of their background images, select clip art, or upload your own. You can get an effective thumbnail in just a few minutes. However, Fotojet is relatively limited in terms of features, especially if you only get a basic (free) plan.
Pricing: Premium from $3.33/mo.
One thing that makes PicMonkey unique is that you can pick a template or start from a thumbnail-sized blank canvas. Upload your own video still or choose something in the photo library. From there, you can click and drag special effects, logos, and word art. Another plus is that you can upload the finished product directly to YouTube, rather than having to download the image first.
Pricing: from $7.99/mo.
Want something that’s super simple? Pixlr might work well for you. They have a free version that has very basic tools and advertising. For something more advanced, there’s an AI cutout generator. For all versions, you can upload a still photo from the video or any other picture. Pixlr free doesn’t appear to have any clip art outside of their templates, though. If you want to install the app for Mac or Windows, you’ll have to pay for a premium plan.
Pricing: Premium from $5/mo.
Visme stands out for its business-centered design. In particular, Visme has social media templates, including their thumbnail maker for YouTube, in the context of branding. In addition, they are more geared towards business brands rather than content creators. For that reason, although you can do just about anything with the templates, it’s a very small part of the app. With that said, the overall flexibility of this app has a lot of advantages, such as keeping everything in one place.
Pricing: Paid from $15/mo.
Creatopy is a specialty thumbnail maker for YouTube. That’s because the app’s primary focus is advertising graphics, such as banner ads and sponsored social media. However, because YouTube thumbnails are important for brands that create YouTube videos for content marketing, they do have some templates to assist. Simply start with a snapshot of your video, and add brand assets or words.
Pricing: From $17/mo per user.
Picmaker claims to be the fastest image editing software out there. Choose a template or upload an image and edit from scratch. Either way, it pretty much click and drag to make a nice thumbnail. Plus, you can import video snapshots, logos, custom fonts, branding, and more. Note that for this app, you probably should get a premium plan due to the limited features in the free version.
Pricing: Paid from $9.95/mo.
This thumbnail maker for YouTube is completely cloud-based. While you’ll need to upload the still from your video, then download the finished product, everything else happens in the cloud. That includes design storage. And while you can’t use this feature for thumbnails, PixTeller also has an animation function. Think pure gold for your videos, especially explainers. In addition, you’ll have to manually resize your photo to fit YouTube specifications, rather than using a template.
Pricing: From $7/mo.
PlaceIt is a merch and social media-focused photo editor. In addition, there are some functions for YouTube intros and outros, and for YouTube cards. Included templates are drag and drop, making your designs easy to create. However, most options are gaming-focused, so PlaceIt has a narrow niche. Of course, if that’s your niche then this thumbnail maker for YouTube is perfect.
Crello is owned by Vista Create, and their website indicates they are rebranding. With that said, their thumbnail maker for YouTube lets you upload any kind of photo to their templates, an advantage that not all options have. You can also add any kind of graphics, special effects, and word art. In addition, Crello uniquely lets you take the YouTube thumbnail and reformat it for reuse. For instance, you might turn it into an Instagram post or advertisement to bring in viewers. Finally, you can use this one with a mobile device.
Pricing: high-quality free plan and pro for $10/mo.
BeFunky is a straight-up, old-school photo editor with a twist. They have templates, though stills from YouTube will already be the right size, so you can simply upload it. Alternately, you can leverage related images through Pixabay or Pexels, both of which are native integrations. Add your overlays, special effects, and more. Expect a totally customized design.
Pricing: Freemium; paid from $4.99/mo.
Given how important thumbnails are on YouTube, it probably isn’t surprising that there are many options to make one. Fortunately, if you try out a few of these options, you should find the perfect one. There’s no reason to be limited to the native YouTube thumbnail maker for long.
Looking for more YouTube help? Check out these hand-picked posts for you!
- 13 Powerful YouTube Tools You Need to Grow Your YouTube Audience
- How to Become a YouTuber in 2022: 19 Steps to Success
- The Top 11 Must-Know YouTube Tricks for Marketers
- YouTube Cards: What They Are and How to Best Leverage Them
- YouTube Video Optimization: Simple Tricks Beginners Can Implement To Rank Their Videos
Hero photo by Shubham Dhage on Unsplash