Vimeo Has Custom Thumbnails & Why ALL YouTube Partners Should Have Them Too

Back in April, as YouTube opened up partnership for all their content creators, the question on everyone’s mind was “What about custom thumbnails?” One of the biggest perks of YouTube partnership is the ability to customize your videos’ thumbnail images. After all, an interesting thumbnail is what will draw people to your videos. However, as of right now not every partner has the ability to select custom thumbnails.

A YouTube representative told us back in April that “the ability to customize banners and thumbnails is an ongoing project that we are looking to introduce to as many partners as possible in the future.”

Well, the future is here and most partners still cannot customize their thumbnails. To add salt to the wound, Vimeo announced on Thursday that they would be opening up a custom thumbnail feature for all creators. The official Vimeo blog post states “We just introduced a new feature that enables you to take any frame from your video and turn it into a thumbnail.”

Ouch, that has to sting for all the loyal YouTube partners, especially in light of the fact that Vimeo is opening this feature up to everyone and not just affiliates.

So, what’s the deal YouTube? Partners who are bringing in revenue, no matter the amount, should be able to have a basic function like thumbnail customization, and here’s why:

Everyone Else is Doing is

There are very few social media sites out there that do not let users pick their own thumbnails. From microblogs to image sharing sites, picking your own thumbnail is paramount to bringing in traffic. Many creators are looking to make YouTube their number one source for income; blocking thumbnail customization is detrimental to a successful YouTube career. Can you imagine if Etsy didn’t let people use their own thumbnails? People would have no idea what the seller was offering. The same applies for most YouTube videos.

The Partner Program has Changed

Being a partner circa 2011 came with a ton of beneficial perks that drove most creators to want to become YouTube affiliates. Custom thumbnails were arguably one of the most important of those perks. Once YouTube invited everyone with monetized content to be a partner, those perks should have been distributed to everyone. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. If everyone is technically a “partner” then they should have the exact same perks as original partners.

Why the Hell Not

YouTube has literally unveiled dozens of new tools, seminars and contests to help support partners. These are all great resources created by YouTube just to help their partners create amazing content. So why in the world would they not allow custom thumbnails? If YouTube can take the time and money to develop live analytics tracking and demographic reports, why can’t they just let people pick their thumbnails? If YouTube wants the public watching their partners’ content, then the first step is letting creators choose their own appealing thumbnails.


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