Have you noticed YouTube videos showing no thumbnail when shared on Facebook? Those blank video links look really odd and the click-through rate goes down to the lowest as there are no thumbnails.

This error may occur even when you have the Facebook Open Graph tags properly installed on your site (this post will help you to do that). The reason behind that is Facebook crawler which sometimes can’t read the URLs properly. The link or URL could be anything, a blog post, a Wikipedia, your Twitter timeline, or a YouTube video.

posting youtube links on facebook no thumbnail
YouTube video on Facebook with No Thumbnail and Title: Not gonna impress people!

The importance of thumbnails

Well, its pretty self-explanatory how important are thumbnails on social media. On a media like Facebook, people scan their feeds and stop by when they notice something attractive. If your shared link has a good thumbnail, chances to get likes, shares, visits are maximum.

Facebook asks website owners to add Open Graph data to their sites so that its crawler can easily parse the data snippets like thumbnails, title, description. You may read this open graph how-to guide to optimize your site for Facebook.

The Fix for YouTube videos

But we were talking about YouTube videos. You don’t have control over YouTube and adding Open Graph data to it makes no sense. What else can be done to bring back the lost video thumbnails? Below is the solution explained step-by-step:

  • Go to Facebook URL Linter tool, which basically debugs the URLs for a better Open Graph interpretation.
  • Paste in your video link, and hit “Debug“. You’ll come up with a result like below screenshot:
    facebook link youtube no thumbnail

    Scroll down to “Object Properties“. If you get the three field red-marked in above screenshot, you’re out of this problem now. Now, share you link and see it appearing properly.

    YouTube thumbnails on Facebook share

    Else, wait for sometime and try debugging your link again.

The problem appears sometimes when Facebook Open Graph needs to be debugged. You should try this trick whenever you face such a problem when sharing links on Facebook. Hope you enjoyed the post!

Tip: Do you know you can add a custom thumbnail to your link shares on Facebook? Know more here.