YouTube rolls out Thumbnail A/B Testing for Everybody

Article last updated on:
June 11, 2024

Test & Compare is finally live on YouTube.

YouTube just announced the release of its “Test & Compare” feature — the A/B tester for thumbnails. This tool allows creators to test up to three different thumbnails to see which one performs best in attracting viewers.

Feature-Announcement Video

Eligible creators can access “Test & Compare” through YouTube Studio on desktop. They can use it when publishing a new video or with existing content by selecting “Test & Compare” in the Thumbnail section of the Video details page. YouTube will then distribute the chosen thumbnails among viewers and determine which one generates the most watch-time share.

Above is what YouTube said in a blog post about this feature.

Here’s a Redditor confessing they got the feature:

Redditor gets the Test & Compare feature

Creators can monitor the test by clicking “View test report” on the Video details page to see performance metrics and time remaining. Tests can take from a few hours to a couple of weeks, depending on thumbnail differences and video traffic.

  • A “Winner” label indicates a clear result, automatically setting the winning thumbnail.
  • A “Preferred” label shows a slight performance edge, and if no clear winner emerges, the first thumbnail is used.

Here’s a sneak-peak:

Screenshot from YouTube's Test & Compare feature
This is what Starting a Test looks like

Thumbnails must follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines and are not available for videos made for kids, mature audiences, or live streams. Testing older and recent videos, and experimenting with different designs, can provide valuable insights for content strategy.

This feature was first announced exactly a year ago, now being live:

Feature-Announcement in June 2023

For those without access to Test & Compare Thumbnails, there is Thumbnail Test for A/B testing. This ensures all creators can optimize their thumbnails to attract more viewers.

The better part is: You can test 10 thumbnails per video with Thumbnail Test — for every video type (including Shorts thumbnails).

Stay tuned as YouTube continues to enhance tools for improving content and engagement.

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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.