Test & Compare – YouTube’s A/B thumbnail testing

YouTube announced at VidCon their latest updates. The main one being Test & Compare which will allow creators to upload three thumbnail images to each video. Each thumbnail will hold its own set of statistics for review.

Creator insider thumbnail preview

YouTube have announced their new feature which creators will soon see each time they upload a long video. The new feature doesn’t apply to Shorts and there is no current talk on this becoming a possibility. Thumbnails can be the make or break of YouTube videos. Having a poor thumbnail could see your video flop.

The new feature will allow creators to add up to three thumbnails within their long videos. All three thumbnails will be displayed across the platform, however, not all at once. So, you may see a video from a creator with one thumbnail, but your friend could see the same video with a different picture.

All three thumbnails should be displayed the same amount of times across the platform. The creator can then see which image was the most successful. Creators will be able to see statistics for each option, which will show the thumbnail that brought in the most clicks. When the creator finds the one that works best, they will be able to set this permanently.

Currently, only a few hundred creators can access this feature, but YouTube plan to expand this to a few thousand over the next few months. In 2024 the platform can expect to see this option fully rolled out. However, YouTube have said in the meantime “Thank you to our community for your patience and feedback along the way.”

Before now, there have been third-party websites which allow you to add multiple thumbnails however this can be messy. Often, creators will need to upload the same video multiple times to track the performance, and you could then argue there are more factors to consider than just the thumbnail. What are your thoughts?

It certainly can’t harm creator’s videos. The more insights, the better. It will help those who make YouTube videos for a living as they can start to see trends of which thumbnails bring more individuals to their page. Perhaps it will help many people grow on the platform. Not everyone understands the importance of thumbnails currently, perhaps now they will.

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