What are the dimensions for the ideal YouTube cover? The audio/video streaming platform provides precise recommendations to maximize the graphical performance of images customized by creators. Let’s see the dimensions recommended by the social network.

The size of the images on social networks is essential for the performance of your profile: they show professionalism, good reputation and quality to your brand, your content and can significantly affect your performance.

All social networks have formats, dimensions and resolutions to respect, depending on the type of image and its use (covers, carousels, stories, igtv videos, square photos, profile photos, etc.). While the Instagram image format and the Facebook image format may be fairly well known to Social Media Marketing professionals and non-professionals alike, the YouTube image format is a more specialized topic, one that you hear about. less frequently. These are the ideal photo dimensions recommended by YouTube.

Ideal YouTube Cover Dimensions

YouTube remains today the world’s most followed platform in the online streaming industry. Over time several competitors were born, just think of Twitch for live broadcasts, but the Google-owned service continues to gather billions of users worldwide and, in many successful cases, the creators have gone from being users who occasionally uploaded self-produced videos, to become true audiovisual professionals.

Whoever has activated a channel on YouTube and wants to promote their videos has a business card on the covers with which to make themselves recognizable within an endless offer of content.

The covers are basically thumbnails with which to present the videos, but what are the criteria to choose the images to use for these elements? How to prevent an inadequate or poor quality cover from having a negative impact on the traffic generated by a film?

We try to answer these questions by referring to the specifications recommended by YouTube itself.

Automatically generated covers

When you upload a video format, you don’t have to create a cover manually: in the absence of customizations, the system automatically selects three frames to use as thumbnails.

Beyond the immediacy, an option of this type may not be recommended when you want to represent the content of a video effectively. The creation of the cover should be seen as an integral part of a marketing strategy and therefore it is not advisable to entrust it to the random choices of an algorithm.

If making a video took hours, why not sacrifice a few more minutes to create an impressive cover?

When a video cover is customized, it is possible that, once uploaded, it does not return the expected effect and the final result greatly affects the quality of the image and the success of the video. It is possible, however, to replace the chosen cover with another, but you must take into account that there is a limit after which the message ” Daily limit of custom thumbnails reached ” is displayed and you must wait at least 24 hours before be able to make new changes.

The value of the daily limit changes depending on the country or region from which the creator operates.

Another important aspect is that of the covers of a group of videos. YouTube allows creators to group and rearrange their video content into groups, for those who, for example, have recurring video sections and common themes, and want to give them even more prominence on the channel page. Also in this case, choosing an effective cover image is essential.

Image format and resolution

The service supports different image formats , but the choice is often limited to the most commonly used extensions for the web: PNG , GIF (without animation) and JPEG .

From this point of view, it could be useful to direct the choice towards PNG, since this format should guarantee a better resolution after the compression and resizing that YouTube performs on all images before publication.

For resolution , the recommended values ​​are 1280 x 720 px with an aspect ratio of 16:9 ; this relationship is not indicated by chance, since it is the most used in both YouTube previews and the player.

It is possible to upload images with a smaller width than recommended, but in this case it is good to stay within the minimum threshold of 640px. The height should be sized accordingly trying to maintain the aspect ratio indicated above, this means that for a width of 640px the optimal height should be 360px.

On the one hand, 1280 x 720 px resolution is not mandatory, but on the other hand, it is good to keep in mind that a thumbnail should be as large as possible, since the image is also used to generate the preview in the player. integrated.

Cover images are also used in the video previews displayed in the sidebar of the YouTube version for desktop web browsers, the latter are extremely small in size so the chosen resolution plays a fundamental role. to ensure optimal viewing.

Finally, regarding the weight of the image, the YouTube specifications state that it must be kept below 2 Mb .

Community standards

Regardless of the dimensions chosen, it is good to keep in mind that there are types of content that cannot be used for creating covers. In fact, YouTube has established policies that, when violated, lead to the rejection of uploaded images.

Therefore, care should be taken not to choose covers that include images or text that contain nudity or sexually provocative elements, hate speech, violence and, in general, dangerous, harmful or disturbing messages.

If the community rules are violated multiple times, you may incur removal of thumbnail customization privileges for 30 days and even account termination.

Not only covers: profile image format and banners

YouTube also provides a creator profile picture and various banners . The dimensions of the profile photos are 800 x 800 px, while those of the banners depend on the device and screen used for viewing:

  • smartphone: 1564 x 423px;
  • desktop: 2560 x 423 px;
  • tablet: 1855 x 423px;
  • smart TV: 2560 x 1440 px.


If movies are advertised through billboards, YouTube video covers serve the same function: attracting people interested in watching them.

However, to professionally customize the cover of a video, it is necessary to follow the specifications that the platform has defined in order to maximize its performance and help the content generate as much traffic as possible.