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How to Create a Channel Playlist on YouTube and Why

YouTube gives you quite a few tools to help you gain an audience. Of those features, creating a playlist on the YouTube channel has great potential to rack up consecutive watch time. Today, let’s dive into the playlist and how to properly use one.

It’s a relatively simple element that will help you engage viewers whether they are on YouTube or some other social platform.

What is a YouTube Channel Playlist?

A playlist on the YouTube channel is a collection of videos that have a similar underlying topic that viewers might want to watch in succession. Instead of just watching a single video, they can opt to watch the entire playlist in the order that you select.

If you have something that is binge-worthy, your audience can watch the videos in order while generating a lot of views and watch time.

But that’s the overall element – creating a series of videos that people will actually watch. Just because you create a playlist doesn’t mean anyone will actually use it or care to check it out.

Where is the Channel Playlist Located on YouTube?

The playlist is visible directly from the home page of your channel, which you can arrange how you see fit. If you have more popular videos, it’s probably a good idea to make that content front and center.

You can choose to make these playlists public or private while deciding which will be displayed on your channel’s homepage. Just because you create a playlist doesn’t mean it’s easily accessible if you don’t want it to be.

In any case, YouTube gives you a couple of layout formats to use for these playlists. That way, you can test out variations and see what works best for your target audience.

How to Set Up Channel Playlist

Perhaps the easiest way to create a playlist of your channel is from the Creator Studio on YouTube. However, there are a few different ways to access this ability.

For now, we’re just going to keep this tutorial quick and easy to follow.

Step 1: Create the New Playlist

Click the “Create” button on the top right of your screen and select, “New playlist” from the drop-down window.

New Playlist

Input the Title and Description of your new playlist.

Keep in mind that the information you put into this section can be optimized for SEO on YouTube. So, use terms and details relevant to the videos as well as what people might be searching for on the platform.

Playlist Title and Description

Once you’ve added the Title and Description of your playlist, click the Visibility drop-down box. This is where you can select the playlist’s visibility on YouTube.

You can choose to make the playlist:

  • Public: This is the default setting of the playlist window. This means everyone will have access to the playlist and it is easily searchable on YouTube.
  • Private: The Private setting is for those who don’t want anyone else to see the actual playlist.
  • Unlisted: If you create an Unlisted playlist, only people with the actual URL will be able to see the videos. This playlist is not searchable by Google or YouTube.

If you’re creating a special playlist for member rewards on platforms like Patreon, Buy Me a Coffee, or Ko-fi, you’d want to use the Unlisted setting for the playlists as well as the videos.

That way, you can still share the links on those platforms and people can watch the content.

A Private link will not work in this instance.

Once you’re done setting up the playlist for the channel, click the “Create” button on the bottom right.

Create the YouTube Playlist

Step 2: Add Videos to Your Playlist

Go to the “Content” section of your YouTube channel and find a video you want to add to the new playlist.

Hover over the video and click the “Details” option. It’ll look like a pencil icon.

Video Details

Scroll down to the Playlists drop-down box.

Click it and select the playlist you want to use for that particular video.

Click Playlist Checkbox

This will put a tick in the playlist’s checkbox. If the video is in another playlist that you don’t want it to show in, click that playlist to deselect the checkbox for it.

Though, there’s nothing wrong with having videos in more than one as long as the information in the video is relevant to the playlist’s overall topic.

Once you’ve selected your playlist(s) for the video, click the Save button to finish.

Save Video Details

Do this step for every video you wish to add to the playlist.

Alternatively, Add Videos in Bulk

What if you want to add several videos to a playlist all at once?

From the Videos section of Channel Content, click the checkbox next to each video you want to move into the new playlist.

Video Checkbox

You’ll notice a new drop-down bar from YouTube showing you how many videos are selected along with a couple of other tools.

After clicking the checkboxes for the videos, click the “Add to playlist” drop-down option.

Add to Playlist Drop Down

Click the playlists you wish to add the video to and click the “Save” button on the bottom right of the window.

YouTube Channel Playlist List

Now, you have a playlist that you can share and promote in any way you see fit. But perhaps one of the more effective is adding it to the home page of your channel.

Step 3: Adding the Playlist to the YouTube Channel Home Page

YouTube has added the ability to edit the playlists on your channel from the Creator Studio dashboard.

From the dashboard, scroll down on the left panel and click, “Customization.”

Customize the Channel

By default, you’ll be taken to the “Layout” section for your YouTube channel.

On this screen, you can change the trailer video of your channel as well as the featured video for returning subscribers. Today, we’re simply going to add a new section for the new playlist.

Scroll down and click the “+ Add Section” option on the right.

Add Playlist Section

YouTube gives you several options for promoting the content of your channel. For example, you can show when you’re live, past live streams, and even other channels to which you’re subscribed.

In this instance, we’re working with the playlists.

Choose the playlist type you want. You can choose from:

  • Single playlist: This will show all the videos in a single playlist on a single row on your channel’s home page.
  • Created playlists: If you want to show all of the playlists you’ve created, this option will show them including the number of videos in each.
  • Multiple playlists: This will create a row of playlists that you select for the visitor to see. You can also use any playlists on YouTube, even if they’re not yours.

I’ve had my videos featured on other people’s playlists in the past. You’ll get views and watch time when someone curates your videos, so don’t stress too much about it. Essentially, it’s free advertising.

For this tutorial, I’m just going to select a single playlist.

A new window will appear showing all of the playlists you have created. From here, click the new playlist you created in the steps above.

Choose a Playlist

The new playlist will appear at the bottom. If you only have one, then you’re pretty much done. But what if you have a few things in the layout and want the playlist to show higher on the channel page on YouTube?

Step 4: Moving the Layout Elements of the Home Page

If you have several home page elements, you might want to move them around. Grab the playlist by the double-lined icon on the left and drag it where you want.

Drag Playlist in YouTube

Once you place the list where you want it, click the “Publish” button on the top right and you’re channel is good to go.

Step 5: Set the Playlists Thumbnail (Optional)

You can set a default playlist thumbnail for your YouTube channel. However, it’ll be taken from a video within the playlist. YouTube currently doesn’t have an option for customizing a unique playlist thumbnail.

What’s more, you’ll need to do this from the playlist view itself.

View the playlist on YouTube. You can do this by clicking the image for the playlist in its settings from the Creator Studio dashboard. Or, you can just go to your home page and view the playlist from there.

Hover over any video in the playlist that you want as your thumbnail and click the three verticle dots.

Video Options in Playlist

Click the “Set as playlist thumbnail” option at the bottom of the drop-down window.

Set as Playlist Thumbnail

Now, your playlist should be using the thumbnail of that video.

NOTE: You can also use drag-and-drop to re-order the videos if you have the playlist set to manual when it’s watched.

How to Share Your Channel Playlist from YouTube

There are a few different ways you can share the playlist from your YouTube channel. You can either create a link by grabbing the URL, embed the entire list on a website, or use various WordPress plugins to embed videos and playlists on a blog.

From the playlist view, click the share arrow under the title.

Share the Playlist

From this popup screen, you can copy the URL of the playlist, click the Embed function to copy the HTML coding, or share it with popular social sites and apps.

Playlist Share Options from YouTube

NOTE: You can also add videos directly from the playlist view. Just click the vertical dots for the playlist and select, “Add videos.”

Add YouTube Videos to Playlist

This will bring up a window similar to the one above where you can click to add videos or search YouTube to add videos from another channel.

Deleting a Playlist from Your YouTube Channel

Deleting a playlist from the YouTube channel is quite easy. From the Channel content section of your Creator Studio dashboard, click the Playlists tab at the top.

Hover the mouse over the playlist you want to delete and click its options (vertical dots).

Playlist Options

Click the, “Delete playlist” option from the list.

Delete YouTube Channel Playlist

YouTube will ask for confirmation before actually deleting the playlist. Once the playlist is deleted, it cannot be undone.

Click, “Delete” from the small popup window and you’re done.

Any videos within the playlist for your YouTube channel will not be deleted. Instead, those videos will default to no playlist unless they are already in another.

Keeping Videos Organized for Viewers

Creating playlists is simply a way to keep videos organized and easy to find for your audience. Plus, they can offer quite a bit in terms of marketing content.

For example, it wouldn’t be difficult to share a playlist covering a specific topic on your blog, if you have one. Or, you can link to it while sharing with followers on Twitter or Facebook.

This is in addition to the playlist being visible directly on your channel’s home page.

Just be careful not to create too many. Although you can make unlimited playlists on YouTube, it can become quite a mess if you’re trying to show too much.

When creating the playlist for your YouTube channel, make sure all of the videos are relevant to its purpose. You don’t want to throw a random video in the mix when people are watching something specific.

How Will You Use Playlists?

Not all channels will need playlists. For instance, if you’re starting a reaction channel, all of the videos are pretty much the same. That is unless you create playlists for reacting to very specific topics. But you probably don’t need to go to that extent.

The success of a playlist really comes down to whether the audience wants to watch those specific videos or not.

There is a lot you can do with playlists to promote your videos. How are you planning to create yours for your channel?

Michael Brockbank

Michael Brockbank

Michael has been managing YouTube channels for the better part of a decade. He's continuously working to find the best methods that work for various types of content from gaming to website tutorials.

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