How to A/B Test a YouTube Thumbnail

Article last updated on:
July 06, 2024

This is the only guide you need for thumbnail A/B testing on YouTube. Over here, we’re teaching you how to A/B test with:

How to A/B Test a Thumbnail on YouTube

Answer: To A/B test a YouTube video’s thumbnail, you can either use Test & Compare or Thumbnail Test. We suggest the second, as tests are most customizable.

Fear not, we’ll take you through both.

1. Test & Compare

Answer: Open a video in YouTube Studio and scroll down to thumbnail. Click the 3-dot icon and “Test & Compare”. Upload 3 thumbnails and click “DONE” → “SAVE”.

Here’s a 2-min video showing you the way:

VIDEO: How to use Test & Compare

Don’t have the time to watch it? Here’s a checklist:

  1. Open YouTube Studio
  2. Click “Content” → Select a video
  3. Scroll down to thumbnail
  4. Click the 3-dot icon → Select “Test & Compare”
  5. Upload your thumbnails
  6. Click “DONE” and “SAVE”

That’s it, your A/B test is now live on YouTube through Test & Compare.

2. Thumbnail Test

Answer: To begin an A/B test on Thumbnail Test, connect your channel and select a video. Upload up to 10 thumbnails and set the test’s frequency → start it.

Here is the step-by-step process of using Thumbnail Test:

1. Open up Thumbnail Test

2. Select the video you want to test

Selecting which Shorts videos to A/B Test through Thumbnail Test

3. Click Next Step

Beginning a thumbnail A/B test in Thumbnail Test

4. Select Thumbnail Only

Feel free to test the title as well — for this test, we’re only going for the thumbnail.

Upload thumbnails to A/B Test them for YouTube

5. Upload a few thumbnails to test them

Drag & Drop or click to upload in the grey box.

Choosing the settings for a thumbnail test

6. Customize the test’s settings: Frequency, Format, Length

7. Click Run Test

That’s it! You’ve just started your for A/B Test on YouTube.

Relevant: See what our co-CEO has to say about the YouTube A/B Testing industry!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I A/B test my YouTube thumbnails?

To increase your video’s click-through rate (CTR), improve viewer engagement, and potentially boost your video’s ranking on YouTube.

2. Can you AB test YouTube thumbnails?

The answer is: Yes, you can AB test YouTube thumbnails. Your best option is Thumbnail Test, as it allows you to do very customizable tests.

For instance, you can only run 3 images per video, while Thumbnail Test allows you to A/B test up to 10 thumbnails per video.

3. Can I A/B test thumbnails on old videos?

Yes, and it’s a great way to re-spark interest in older content and possibly discover insights that can apply to new videos as well.

Read more here: Revive Old Videos.


This guide just took you through the most efficient way to test YouTube thumbnails.

How did you find it? Hope it was helpful and not very stressing.

Thank you for reading this,
Thumbnail Test

About the author

David is the head of the editing team at ThumbnailTest. With his help, the editorial team is able to provide you with the best free guides related to YouTube thumbnails and A/B testing.