YouTube Thumbnails

This documentation will talk about making a 2k 1920px X 1080px custom thumbnail for YouTube and share it out to Facebook.

Note: One would think this is a no brainer but they would be wrong. There is a strategy to having a YouTube thumbnail show up properly on Facebook and a lot of knowledge that is necessary to know how this works in order to make this happen.

What is a Thumbnail?

A thumbnail is the image that is shown from your YouTube video. You create a custom thumbnail on YouTube and Facebook will show that image to your viewers. It is the image that people see to entice them to click and watch your video.

There are 3 main places of interest with thumbnails that I’ve found on Facebook. Feel free to correct me and add more in the comments if I miss something.

Making a Post

This doesn’t matter if it is a personal or business page or a group post as these all appear to display in the same manner. They cut off a tiny bit all around of your thumbnail but for the most part, it shows the entire thumbnail as intended.

Facebook Messenger

This acts just like making a post.

Commenting on someone else’s post

This is where the big deal is and what needs to be accounted for when creating your thumbnail. If you plan on making comments on other people’s posts and leaving a link to your YouTube video or channel then the thumbnail must be designed correctly. Facebook only shows a 1050px X 1050px, centered view of your 1920 X 1080, with rounded corners on the left side of the image. This makes it very difficult to plan for and design a thumbnail with these limitations. You’ve all of a sudden lost 870 pixels in width in your design canvas.

Facebook Cache

Ensure your custom thumbnail is uploaded to YouTube before you paste the website address for your video anywhere in Facebook. The second you paste the URL anywhere on the Facebook website, they automatically scrape the URL and cache the thumbnail. It requires re-scraping the website again through their debug tool and waiting 48 hours for the correct thumbnail to show the correct thumbnail anywhere on Facebook.


I’ve created a free small tool attached to this post that will allow for creation of a close to picture perfect thumbnail that will work in all situations. Simply use this as the bottom layer in your graphic manipulation program or in Doodly then full screen it and take a screenshot if so desired. Either delete the layer from Doodly before export or hide the layer before saving the image from your graphic image manipulation program (Curious to see if there is anyone in here that will understand the choice of words and get the reference without Googling it. Comment if you understand the reference.)