Thumbnails: set

Uploads a custom video thumbnail to YouTube and sets it for a video.

This method supports media upload. Uploaded files must conform to these constraints:

  • Maximum file size: 2MB
  • Accepted Media MIME types: image/jpeg, image/png, application/octet-stream

Quota impact: A call to this method has a quota cost of approximately 50 units.

Common use cases


HTTP request



This request requires authorization with at least one of the following scopes (read more about authentication and authorization).



The following table lists the parameters that this query supports. All of the parameters listed are query parameters.

Required parameters
videoId string
The videoId parameter specifies a YouTube video ID for which the custom video thumbnail is being provided.
Optional parameters
onBehalfOfContentOwner string
Note: This parameter is intended exclusively for YouTube content partners.

The onBehalfOfContentOwner parameter indicates that the request's authorization credentials identify a YouTube CMS user who is acting on behalf of the content owner specified in the parameter value. This parameter is intended for YouTube content partners that own and manage many different YouTube channels. It allows content owners to authenticate once and get access to all their video and channel data, without having to provide authentication credentials for each individual channel. The actual CMS account that the user authenticates with must be linked to the specified YouTube content owner.

Request body

The body of the request contains the thumbnail image that you are uploading. The request body does not contain a thumbnail resource.


If successful, this method returns a response body with the following structure:

  "kind": "youtube#thumbnailSetResponse",
  "etag": etag,
  "items": [
    thumbnail resource


The following table defines the properties that appear in this resource:

kind string
Identifies the API resource's type. The value will be youtube#thumbnailSetResponse.
etag etag
The Etag of this resource.
items[] list
A list of thumbnails.


The following table identifies error messages that the API could return in response to a call to this method. Please see the error message documentation for more detail.

Error type Error detail Description
badRequest (400) invalidImage The provided image content is invalid.
badRequest (400) mediaBodyRequired The request does not include the image content.
forbidden (403) forbidden The thumbnail can't be set for the specified video. The request might not be properly authorized.
forbidden (403) forbidden The authenticated user doesn't have permissions to upload and set custom video thumbnails.
notFound (404) videoNotFound The video that you are trying to insert a thumbnail image for cannot be found. Check the value of the request's videoId parameter to ensure that it is correct.
tooManyRequests (429) uploadRateLimitExceeded The channel has uploaded too many thumbnails recently. Please try the request again later.

Try it!

Use the APIs Explorer to call this API and see the API request and response.