Insider Tip: How Often To Change YouTube Thumbnails (2024)

Article last updated on:
March 12, 2024

How often should you change your Thumbnail?

You should wait at least 24 hours after publishing before changing your Thumbnail for a YouTube Video.

Fear not, this is according to Google.

Google answers how to know if a YouTube Thumbnail is good

1. For new videos

  • Low Click-Through Rate (CTR): If your video’s CTR (clicks divided by impressions) is below 5% within the first 24 hours, consider a thumbnail change. This might indicate the current thumbnail isn’t grabbing attention.
  • Wait at least a day: Give the video some time to gather impressions before judging performance.

Smaller channels, in particular, might see views trickle in organically through search over time.

2. For old videos

  • Stalling views: If a video’s views have significantly dropped compared to the initial launch, a new thumbnail could act as a refresh.
  • A/B testing: You can create multiple thumbnails and run A/B tests through Thumbnail Test to see which one performs better. This can be an ongoing process for older videos.
  • Branding updates: If your channel’s overall branding has evolved, you might want to update thumbnails on older videos for consistency.

What about the Title?

Generally, avoid frequent changes. Unlike thumbnails, there’s no immediate benefit to swapping titles right after upload.

YouTube takes some time to understand how your title performs in searches.

Changing it too early can disrupt this process.

This isn’t a general rule, though: Creators like Johnny Harris upload a video with a title and change it somewhere around 3 → 4 days after uploading.

General Rule: When not to Change

  • New video: Give your video at least a 3 days (ideally longer) to gather data before considering a title switch. YouTube uses views, clicks, and watch time to understand performance.
  • Growing views: If a video is steadily gaining views with the current title, there’s no need to fix what’s not broken.
  • Minor tweaks: Small wording changes probably won’t make a huge difference. Focus on significant improvements that better describe the video or target keywords.

Thank you for reading this,

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.