YouTube video preview on Twitter and Instagram?
October 16, 2018 8:25 AM   Subscribe

How do I get a YouTube video to post with preview on Twitter and Instagram?

I can post a working video link but without the preview, I fear no one will click. Things I have tried: 1) pasting the link; 2) using the share button and clicking Twitter and editing the automatic post. Someone suggested posting to Instagram and having it cross-post to Twitter, but Instagram does not appear as a share option.
posted by *s to Technology (9 answers total)
If this is your video on your own account, have you set a thumbnail in YouTube? That might help. If you validate your account (using a phone number to receive a code that you then input into YouTube), you can also upload a custom thumbnail.

If it's not your video, maybe post a test and wait because I believe Twitter after a while goes from generic to preview (because Twitter knows, as you do, that they'll get more clicks). Perhaps just give it time. I believe Twitter grabs metadata looking for a thumbnail but it doesn't happen instantly.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:48 AM on October 16, 2018

As far as I know, to get a preview on Twitter, you just post the link to the YouTube video. I tried it here. My tweet contained the text "Testing video" I used the Twitter website.

Also, as far as I know, to post a YouTube video to Instagram you'd have to find a way to download the video from YouTube, and then post it to Instagram as if it was a video you'd taken.

Or maybe you mean something else...?
posted by fabius at 8:51 AM on October 16, 2018

Response by poster: To clarify, it is my account and I have validated it and set a custom thumbnail. How long does it take to go from generic to preview?
posted by *s at 9:07 AM on October 16, 2018

Response by poster: I posted it yesterday and on mobile, it still shows up without preview. On desktop, it looks fine with preview.
posted by *s at 9:19 AM on October 16, 2018

on mobile, it still shows up without preview.

I'm not sure what you mean by "on mobile"...

I don't think previews for YouTube video URLs show up in the Twitter iPhone app, unless you expand the tweet by clicking on it.

But previews show up if using the mobile website ( - it does for the tweet I tried, mentioned above.

Is there an example of someone else's tweet that appears how you want yours to appear?
posted by fabius at 9:48 AM on October 16, 2018

Response by poster: Thank you for your help! When I open Twitter on a mobile device (phone/iPad) through the Twitter app, the preview for my video does not show up for the video, but it does when I view Twitter on desktop. Other people's videos have previews when I view them through the Twitter app.

The test video you posted works in both phone/app and desktop views. I would like my video to look like what you posted. I have now discovered that the preview doesn't work for email either. It does work for Facebook, but the title it displays is old. I edited the title before posting it, but it shows the original title.
posted by *s at 10:24 AM on October 16, 2018

Response by poster: Someone who does PR suggested that the custom thumbnail I used instead of the options YouTube offered from the stills in the video itself may have created the problem, but I changed the thumbnail to a video still and still no preview in Twitter. If anyone has any other ideas, I'm willing to try anything.
posted by *s at 6:09 AM on October 17, 2018

It's really hard to help further without more detailed examples of what you consider "working" examples. The video I posted doesn't have a preview in the iPhone app for me, unless I tap it to see the detailed view.

For troubleshooting something like this you'll need to be very specific about exactly what you currently see, exactly what you want to see, and exactly where you are and aren't seeing these things, ideally including links and/or screenshots.

If it's helpful, and you have examples you can share via memail but not here, feel free to memail me and I'll help if I can.
posted by fabius at 11:06 AM on October 17, 2018

Best answer: Ok, for future people trying to have a pre-recorded video preview in the Twitter feed, you cannot use a link (to YouTube or elsewhere). You have to upload it directly to Twitter from your device. Here are the formatting guidelines for something you download to your device for upload to Twitter:

"We currently support MP4 and MOV video formats on mobile apps.

On the web, we support the MP4 video format with H264 format with AAC audio. You can upload videos up to 512MB, however you will be prompted to edit videos to 2 minutes and 20 seconds or less in length."

You can also put a short clip from a longer video you have posted to YouTube on Instagram, but it has to be 0:12 or less. You can post up to 10-minute videos on IGTV.

Thanks, fabius, for reaching out!
posted by *s at 10:08 AM on October 22, 2018

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