YouTube has launched live testing of a new video thumbnail A/B testing process, which will make it easier to compare variations of thumbnail images to maximize content performance.

YouTube Thumbnail Testing

Available in your YouTube Studio options, the new thumbnail ‘Test and Compare’ tool will enable you to compare the performance of up to three thumbnails against each other, so you can ensure that you’re choosing the best option to entice more viewers.

YouTube Thumbnail Testing

As you can see in this example, the test results will be displayed with ‘Watch Time’ as the key measure that determines the ultimate winner in each comparison.

Getting your thumbnail right is important, as a means of grabbing viewer attention – which is also why you see so many thumbnails using the same format (generally the creator with an exaggerated expression on his/her face overlaid on a still of the video screen).

That clearly works, as top stars have been experimenting with their thumbnail formats for years. Indeed, Mr Beast, arguably the biggest YouTube star of the day, claims to have a team of six people that develop and test his video thumbnails, trying out up to 20 variations for each of his clips.

YouTube Thumbnail Testing

Driving that initial interest is the only way to maximize your views, and your thumbnail images play a key role in this, which is why this new element could be a valuable addition to your YouTube creation process.

YouTube says that it’s planning to roll out a beta version of its thumbnail A/B test option to ‘a few thousand creators’ in the coming months.

“The team is working to make the tool available more broadly starting next year, but we wanted to share that testing is officially underway because we know this is a top-requested feature, and it will help you make more data-driven decisions about your thumbnail strategy.”

So it’s not available to most creators yet, but it is on the way, which could help you make more informed decisions in your process.