YouTube’s Latest Update: Thumbnail A/B Testing

YouTube has introduced “Thumbnail Test & Compare,” a new feature for creators to test and compare multiple video thumbnails. Announced on Tuesday, this tool lets creators experiment with up to three thumbnails per video. Initially available to only a few hundred creators since last June, it will now be accessible to all eligible creators in the coming weeks.

The tool evenly distributes selected thumbnails across viewers and determines the winning thumbnail based on a watch timeshare called A/B testing. Final test results may take a few days to two weeks. The report will label the top-performing thumbnail as the “Winner” and another as “Preferred” if it likely outperformed others. Creators can still manually select thumbnails if desired.

The feature, available only on YouTube Studio for desktop, has already made an impact. MrBeast, YouTube’s most-subscribed channel, saw increased watch time with thumbnails featuring his mouth closed.

Additionally, YouTube has released an AI feature that helps users skip to the best part of a video, now available on Android for Premium subscribers. They are also testing QR codes for creators, and @ mentions them in comments.