Uploading a video to Facebook is a piece of cake, but making it look good to potential viewers is a bit more of a challenge. Just like YouTube, Facebook defaults to a standard thumbnail image, and chances are that it picks the most irrelevant or boring one on your behalf. Awesome.
The good news is that it's easily changeable, as the site gives you the option to choose an image that's much more compelling. In this tutorial we'll take you through the process, ensuring that your video upload works as well as it can for you.
How to Change Your Facebook Video Thumbnail
Changing the thumbnail image for your Facebook video upload is a very easy process, and can be implemented on new or existing uploads. Let's go through the process on a new upload:
#1 Upload your video to Facebook. This will take 30 seconds - 10 minutes depending on file size. Once the upload has finished processing, your video will appear with the default thumbnail. In our test, Facebook choose the thumbnail below for our Creator's Tip video on increasing YouTube watch time. Great for fans of Vsauce, but not so relevant for the subject at hand.
#2 To change the thumbnail, we clicked on the video to open it up in a full size window. Then, we clicked on the 'Options' tab in the bottom right hand corner, and selected 'Edit This Video' from the menu.
#3 Edit Your Facebook Video: This new window brought up some editing options, like adding or updating the title and description, and the ability to add closed captions to your Facebook video. You can also tag the people included in the video, give it a date-stamp, and also make it a feature video for your page.
For the purposes of this post, we want to focus on changing the image for the thumbnail. In the top right hand corner, you will see the option to 'Choose a Thumbnail' from 10 different choices. If you scroll through and find one you want to use, just click to select, and then press 'Save'. Please note that, at the moment, Facebook itself will choose all 10 options for you, based on the images within your footage.
#4 New Thumbnail Image: For this particular video we selected a much more representative thumbnail image (Tim, the presenter, alongside the ReelSEO image):
How to Customize a Facebook Video Thumbnail
So, changing a thumbnail is easy. But what if you don't like any of the 10 choices provided? This used to be a huge bugbear for YouTube creators, until the platform opened up the option to upload custom thumbnail images a couple of years ago. We would love to tell you that Facebook has the same feature but right now, you are stuck with the images the Facebook algorithm has selected on your behalf.
We have searched for a solution and the only one seems to be manipulating the video before uploading by including an image in it (for at least 10 seconds) to see if Facebook will select it as one of your thumbnails. That's a really poor option we know, and we hope Facebook sort this out as soon as possible. Also, it doesn't appear that you can change the thumbnail if you are promoting the video. You'll need to turn the promotion off, edit, and then re-start the campaign.
Have any of any of our readers found a work-around for a customized video thumbnail image? Please let us know in the comments below.