YouTube Test & Compare vs Thumbnail Test

Article last updated on:
June 11, 2024

You’re most likely here because you:

We’ll answer your question with 100% honesty through a fair comparison.

Overview: YouTube vs Thumbnail Test

YouTubeThumbnail Test
PlatformYouTube StudioConnects with YouTube
TestingThumbnailsThumbnails + Titles
CostFree, part of YouTubePaid, discount for small channels
AvailabilityLimited to “Eligible Creators”Available for everyone
DurationLimited test durationFlexible test duration + frequency
ResultsTakes weeks to seeYou get them instantly
SetupYouTube Studio1-click connection to YouTube
SupportNone, just articlesLive Support, Email, Community
Test & Compare vs Thumbnail Test

YouTube Test & Compare allows creators to test different thumbnails to see which versions perform better. This feature is integrated into your YouTube workflow, offering convenience and direct access to YouTube’s analytics.

Thumbnail Test is an external service that specializes in testing YouTube thumbnails and titles. It provides detailed analytics and is designed to help creators optimize their thumbnails for better performance.

Features Comparison

We’ll analyze both apps side-by-side to see how they perform. Each feature has a score, and at the end you’ll see the winner.

1. Interface

  • YouTube’s A/B Testing: Already integrated into YouTube Studio, making it easily accessible for creators.
  • Thumbnail Test: A separate platform that works just like Test & Compare, but offers a dedicated environment for testing.
Screenshot from Creator Insider on YouTube: How YouTube Split Testing Works
Screenshot from YouTube’s feature

Interface Winner: YouTube.

2. Testing Options

  • YouTube’s A/B Testing: Lets you test just thumbnails, but has limitations on the duration and customization of tests.
  • Thumbnail Test: Focused on thumbnails + titles, with a more testing options and customization — e.g. daily and hourly tests.
Testing options in Thumbnail Test

Testing Winner: Thumbnail Test.

3. Analytics

  • YouTube’s A/B Testing: Takes +2 weeks to see analytics — and they’re not really detailed.
  • Thumbnail Test: Offers detailed analytics that give additional insights — e.g. you can see where did every click come from (for each specific thumbnail).
Illustration of thumbnail testing on YouTube
This is what A/B Testing looks like

Analytics Winner: Thumbnail Test.

4. Duration & Results

  • YouTube’s A/B Testing: Test duration can’t be customized + you see the results 2 weeks after running the tests.
  • Thumbnail Test: You can A/B Test daily or hourly automatically + see the results instantly.
Email from Thumbnail Test - Finished A/B Testing

Draw & Results Winner: Thumbnail Test.

5. Pricing

  • YouTube’s A/B Testing: Free to use for creators, as it’s part of YouTube Studio.
  • Thumbnail Test: Starts at $29/month.

With Thumbnail Test, creators under 10k subscribers get 40% off (pricing page).

Pricing Winner: YouTube.

6. Collaboration

  • YouTube: Only if you share entire account access.
  • Thumbnail Test: Collaboration and access to both YouTube and the A/B Testing dashboard.

Collaboration Winner: Thumbnail Test.

7. Reviews

  • YouTube: Pretty hated for postponing A/B Testing for years.
  • Thumbnail Test: 4.9/5 on ProductHunt + many testimonials.

Have a look at this Reddit comment about YouTube’s feature:

Redditors being excited for YouTube A/B Testing in 2019
5 years ago… Crazy!

Reviews Winner: Thumbnail Test.

The final score is 5-2 for Thumbnail Test.

That may not be enough data, so let’s look further into the benefits and the downsides of both apps.

Final Winner: Thumbnail Test.

Pros & Cons


  1. YouTube’s integrated tools offer cost-effective testing within its platform, but lack the depth and customization of specialized analytics.
  2. Thumbnail Test’s tools provide detailed, focused insights for thumbnails, but at the cost of additional setup — which is just one click to connect YouTube to the app.

Let’s look further into this.

1. YouTube

1.1. Pros of YouTube

  • Seamless Integration: Direct access within YouTube Studio means no need for additional accounts or switching platforms.
  • Cost-Effective: Free, making it accessible to all creators, regardless of budget.

1.2. Cons of YouTube

  • Limited Availability: Initially, it is available just to beta testers.
  • Potential Restrictions: Could have limitations in terms of customization, test duration, and the depth of analytics, based on YouTube’s standard protocols.
  • Lack of Specialized Features: As a broader tool, it might not offer the in-depth analytics or specialized features dedicated solely to thumbnail optimization.

2. Thumbnail Test

2.1. Pros of Thumbnail Test

  • Specialized Testing: Focuses solely on thumbnail + title performance, which might result in more nuanced testing capabilities and customization options.
  • Flexibility in Testing: Possibly allows for more control over test parameters, such as duration and specific metrics to track.
  • Innovative Features: Includes unique tools for testing that aren’t available within YouTube’s ecosystem.

2.2. Cons of Thumbnail Test

  • Requires External Setup: Using a separate tool means additional steps to set up and manage tests, including importing your videos or thumbnails.

So, what to choose?

Right Now:

  • New YouTubers with limited budgets: Use free design tools and online resources to create good thumbnails.
  • Established YouTubers seeking advanced testing: Consider third-party testers for more variations, targeting, and detailed analytics.
  • Content creators with specific audience segments: Explore third-party testers to target your ideal viewers for faster results.

When you get access to Test & Compare:

  • Test it out first: If ease of use and potentially faster results are appealing, experiment with YouTube’s A/B Testing tool when available.
  • Compare results: Analyze data from YouTube’s tool alongside results from third-party testers (if you use them) to see which provides the most valuable insights.

If it happens that you won’t like YouTube’s feature, you can always use Thumbnail Test!


1. What is the YouTube thumbnail test feature?

Answer: The YouTube thumbnail test feature allows creators to experiment with different thumbnails to see which performs better with their audience.

2. Can you test multiple thumbnails on YouTube?

Answer: Yes, you can test multiple thumbnails on YouTube with

This lets you compare the performance of different thumbnail options to determine which is most effective.

3. What is the best A/B Test tool for YouTube?

Answer: Currently, Thumbnail Test is the best A/B test tool for YouTube thumbnails and titles.

YouTube’s features is available just for “beta testers” now.


While details on YouTube’s A/B Testing are not entirely available, third-party testers offer established solutions for thumbnail optimization.

The best choice depends on your budget, channel size, and desired level of testing complexity.

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.