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Make it easier for viewers to find your videos and increase watch time.
Set goals for your YouTube channel and playlists with your team, including how many playlists to create and their purpose.
Consider the content already on your YouTube channel, if it has any organization, any gaps in topics, who your YouTube audience is (found in Channel analytics), and how much time you are willing to commit to growing your channel. For example, if you already have 20 videos on your channel but no organization, your goal can be to group existing videos into playlists by the end of the month.
Playlists either indicate a series or a cohesive theme that connects the videos. Some videos are part of a content series with episodes while other videos are grouped based on a similar topic, format (how-to, interviews, etc.), host, campaign (back-to-school, holiday, etc.), or featured product.
Ask questions like:
- Do we have videos that fit in a series?
- Is this for content curation or creation?
- What are our plans for adding content to this playlist in the future?
- Is this for public or internal purposes?
For example, Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel has playlists for each of its different food shows to help viewers find all the videos with the same host and format. Clorox uses its YouTube playlists to group videos into content types, such as how-to content, commercials, and product videos.
Decide the target audience and appropriate privacy settings for the playlist: public, private, or unlisted.
Identifying the target audience and where they are in the buyer’s journey can help you craft playlists, titles, and content. For example, if the desired audience is in the awareness stage, they may appreciate how-to videos that are organized into one playlist called How to Clean Your Kitchen.
Privacy setting options:
- Public: Anyone can see the playlist, and it comes up in search results. Most playlists intended for consumers should be public.
- Private: Videos can only be seen by people with access to the behind-the-scenes of the YouTube account. Choose this setting if the playlist is only for internal use.
- Unlisted: This allows you to send a link to the playlist, but the playlist does not come up in search results. This is useful for sharing content that is meant for only a segmented audience like a client, prospect, or coworker.
- Share an Instagram post with a trailer for the playlist.
- Create a blog post that discusses a similar topic with embedded videos.
- Announce on social media each time a new video in a series has been added to a playlist.
- Announce and add a link to your playlist in email newsletters.
- Share a relevant playlist link in an automatic email after purchase of a product.
- Purchase YouTube ads to promote your playlist.
Create visually cohesive, custom thumbnails for playlist content. Use the same font, color scheme, and subject pose or position.
YouTube says that 90% of the best performing content has a custom thumbnail rather than a random screen grab. Create thumbnails that are high-resolution, under 2MB in size, and legible in large or small format on screen.
For example, Clorox’s playlist about bleach is called Bleach 101. Bon Appetit has a playlist called It’s Alive: Season 3 for their show about fermentation. This title is accurate to its content but leaves viewers wanting to know more about what is alive. The Season 3 part also highlights that there are more seasons available to watch.
Add or update descriptions that contain keywords, hashtags, relevant links, and other descriptive information for each video in the playlist.
Description guidelines based on YouTube Creator Academy resources:
- Hashtags can help viewers find your videos, but YouTube will ignore hashtags if you use more than 15.
- Include a link to its playlist and other relevant playlists.
- Use one to two main keywords in the title and at the beginning of the description.
- Provide an overview of the content to help the viewer learn more about its content.
- Avoid profane or controversial language for advertiser-friendly content.
Create each playlist by going to a video on YouTube and clicking on Add to > Create New Playlist > Create.
The video has to be already uploaded and accessible on YouTube, but it does not have to be on your channel to add to your playlist.
Gain insight into playlist results using YouTube Channel Analyticsn to view impressions, click-through rate, views, unique views, watch time, average view duration, and subscriber count over time.
Playlist metrics reveal your most popular playlists, total views, average view duration, watch time, and playlist start and exits for more information on engagement.