The Complete Guide To YouTube Playlists

Playlists are a fantastic YouTube tool that not enough video creators and video viewers take advantage of. We've put together a guide to tell you everything you need to know about YouTube Playlists, from the benefits of creating playlists to how to make a playlist and everything in between.

Playlists are a fantastic YouTube tool that not enough video creators and video viewers take advantage of. We’ve put together a guide to tell you everything you need to know about YouTube Playlists, from the benefits of creating playlists to how to make a playlist and everything in between.

What Is A YouTube Playlist?

Before we get into how to create a playlist or why a YouTuber would want to create a playlist, I think it’s important to give a brief explanation of what a playlist is. A playlist in YouTube is a list, or group, of videos that plays in order, one video after the other. When one video finishes playing, the next starts automatically so you don’t have to click or search to start playing a new video. Playlists are usually grouped by subject, such as this playlist about elephants or this playlist of Lady Gaga videos. However, you can create a playlist of any videos you want, related or not, to share with your friends, your fans or just to keep track of your favorite videos for yourself.

Check out the screenshot below to see what a YouTube playlist looks like. As you can see, videos are queued up in order to be watched by the viewer, who can watch them all or click through to watch only the videos they want to see.

Why Would I Want To Create Playlists?

There are several reasons to create playlists. Some of them apply to viewers, and others apply to video creators with YouTube channels. We’ll talk about the uses for viewers and creators separately.

Viewer Playlists

As a YouTube viewer playlists can be a helpful way to organize and keep track of your favorite videos. You can keep themed playlists of all the videos you like the best (i.e. a stop motion animation playlist with all your favorite stop motion videos), you can make a playlist of music videos for your daily background music, you can make a list of your favorite videos and share it with your friends, and more. That way, the next time you want to share some of your favorite videos with your friends you don’t have to search for each video individually. Just go back to the playlist you created, and you can easily share them all!

Creator Playlists

As a video content creator there are a few good reasons to create YouTube playlists. The first reason is to organize your videos into groups or themes to make it easier for your viewers to find the content they enjoy most. For instance, if you have 100 videos and 10 are about lizards, 17 are about vacations and 24 are music videos you can group these topics into separate lists. Therefore, viewers who are into lizards can easily watch a playlist of all your lizard videos, viewers looking for vacation ideas can easily watch a playlist of all your vacation ideas and so on.

It is also important to note that playlists are indexed separately in searches on YouTube. This means that if you create playlists your videos will be more discoverable. If someone searches for “lizard”, not only will each of your lizard videos come up in the search results, but your lizard playlist will as well!

Playlists also get your viewers to watch more of your videos in one sitting. In a playlist, as soon as one of your videos stops playing another one begins. If a viewer watches one of your videos that is not in a playlist then they have to make the choice to click and watch another one of your videos. Because it happens automatically with a playlist your viewers are likely to watch a larger number of your videos in one sitting.

How Do I Make A Playlist?

Now that you know what a playlist is and what the benefits of creating playlists are, it’s time to make your first playlist. So how do you get started?

Creating Your Playlist

There are a couple of ways to create a playlist in YouTube. The first way is to sign in to your account and go to your ‘My Videos’ page. On the navigation bar on the left side you’ll see a section for ‘Playlists’. Click on the ‘+New’ button to create a new playlist. A pop-up box will prompt you to enter a title, description and tags for your playlist. Fill in the information, and click ‘Create Playlist’ to save your playlist.

Adding Videos

Once your playlist is created you can start adding videos. To add a video to your playlist, simply go to the page of the video you’d like to add. I created a ‘Stop Motion’ playlist and decided to add Oren Lavie’s ‘Morning Elegance’ video to my playlist so I went to the video page.

From the video page, click the down arrow on the right side of the ‘+ Add to’ box below the video player. A list of your playlists will pop up. You can click on the playlist you’d like to add the video to (in this case, I’ll add to ‘Stop Motion’), or you can click ‘New playlist…’ to create a new playlist. This is the alternative to the method in which we created our playlist above. You can add as many videos to your playlist as you would like, in this fashion.

Another way to add videos to your playlist (though not quite as effective) is to click on your playlist from the ‘My Videos’ page and then click on ‘Add videos to playlist’ on the top right side of the screen. This will allow you to browse your recent history, as well as view YouTube’s recommendations. You can preview the clips by clicking ‘Preview’, or you can add them to your playlist by clicking the ‘Add’ button.

Editing Your Playlist

You can also edit your playlist from the ‘My Videos’ page. Click on your playlist and a list of the videos will appear in order of your list. You can change the order of the videos in your list by clicking in the numbered boxes and entering the position you would like to move a specific video to. You can also click the check box on a single video or group of videos to add them to different playlists, queue them for viewing, or remove them from your playlist. If you decide you want to delete your playlist, just click ‘Delete playlist’ at the top of the screen.

Privacy & Sharing

If you are making your playlist only for yourself and don’t want to share it with anyone else, then go into the ‘Privacy’ tab at the top of the page and set your playlist to ‘Private’. If you don’t mind other people watching your playlist then you can keep it set to ‘Public’.

If you want to share your list with your friends, go into the ‘Share’ tab at the top of the page. Here you will find a link and embed code to your playlist. Here’s the link to my Stop Motion playlist, and you can watch the videos embedded below.

If you want to share your playlists on your YouTube channel then you have to make sure that your channel is set up to show your playlists. While logged into your YouTube account, go to your Channel page and click on the ‘Videos and Playlists’ tab at the top of the page. Make sure ‘Playlists’ is checked on and then check the playlists that you want to display on your channel.

As you can see in the screenshot above, I checked the ‘Stop Motion’ playlist, so that it would appear on my page. The screenshot below shows what the ‘Stop Motion’ playlist looks like when it appears on my YouTube channel page. Displaying playlists on your channel is a great way to split your own videos up into easily digestible categories for your viewers, as well as a great way to share your favorite videos made by other creators with your fans.