Beginner Guide

How to Create a Playlist on YouTube: A Step-by-Step Guide to Increase Engagement

Playlists are a powerful (but underrated) feature that you can use to grow your YouTube channel. Yes, that’s right—it’s more than just throwing together videos. This is a major part of your YouTube strategy.

When strategically created, playlists can help you leverage the YouTube algorithm to your advantage, influence what your audience likes, and keep them coming back.

In this article, we will show you how to create and manage new playlists on your YouTube channel. We’ve also compiled some best practices for getting the most out of this tool.

What is YouTube playlist?

A playlist on YouTube is usually a collection of videos curated by theme. You can use playlists to categorize content and help viewers find specific videos. Visitors can find them in the Playlist section of your channel page.

You can even use playlists to organize your channel’s homepage—like we did on Sprout’s YouTube channel:

Sprout Social YouTube channel homepage
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Playlists add a binge-worthy element to your channel. They follow the same rules as streaming platforms (such as Netflix): as soon as one video ends, the next in sequence begins playing.

Both viewers and channel owners can create YouTube playlists. Let’s take a look at why creating a playlist is an important part of your brand’s YouTube strategy.

Why create a playlist on YouTube

Improves YouTube SEO

Playlists often rank in YouTube’s search results. In fact, many search results bring up a separate section for ‘Related Playlists’.

YouTube playlist showing up in search results on YouTube
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If your playlist description and title is optimized based on what people are searching for, it will rank higher and improve your chances of getting more views. With a 5000 character limit for the description, you can naturally integrate the keywords your audience is searching for.

To learn more about getting your videos to the top of search results, here’s our guide on YouTube SEO.

Improves Search Efficiency

Videos included in a playlist have a higher chance of appearing as a suggested video for viewers. YouTube likes to feature “spatially related” videos in the suggested videos column. And they may even appear as suggestions when someone watches one of your videos outside of that playlist.

See how playlists and videos from the same channel appear in the Suggested section:

YouTube video player window with a list of suggested videos on the right and a red box around two videos being suggested from the same playlist
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In short, by creating a playlist, you are increasing your chances of being discovered on YouTube.

increases engagement

There are many ways you can use playlists to boost YouTube engagement rates.

For example, you can point visitors to videos that you specifically want to promote. Putting your most popular videos together in a playlist so new viewers see your best content first is a good practice to follow.

You can organize videos by theme, audience type, or content. This is especially helpful for viewers if you have a wide range of videos on your YouTube channel. It will be easier for them to navigate and find the content that interests them the most. Here’s a great example from Andy Crowley’s channel where he created different playlists for guitar lessons based on learning level:

YouTube playlist on YouTube channel homepage for guitar lessons organized by learning level
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long viewing time

Playlists reduce the likelihood that a viewer will switch to another channel after watching one of your videos. The next video in the playlist plays automatically, increasing viewing time. And longer viewing time means higher search rankings.

How to create a new YouTube playlist

You can create, edit, and manage playlists for your channel from YouTube Studio.

step 1: From the left menu, select playlist, to select new playlist top right.

menu in youtube to create a new youtube playlist
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step 2: Enter a title and description (optional). to select visibility Settings (we recommend selecting Public so your viewers can see it) in the drop-down box and click to create, Now you can see the playlist.

Set visibility on menu and YouTube to name playlist
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step 3: To add videos, click the editing pencil next to the playlist you created.

Menu on YouTube to edit YouTube playlists
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step 4: Click on the three dot menu and choose Add video,

Menu on YouTube to add videos to an existing playlist
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step 5: below your youtube videos, select the videos you want to add to the playlist. Click Add video,

Menu on YouTube to select videos to add to playlist
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step 6: To reorder the videos in the playlist, drag the videos up or down.

Your curated YouTube playlist is ready! It can now be viewed by your viewers under the Playlists section of your channel.

You can also add videos to one or more playlists when posting to YouTube. After adding video elements, you get the option of selecting an existing playlist or creating a new one.

Menu on YouTube to add to a playlist when posting a video
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Best practices for YouTube playlists

Use a compelling title and description

When naming a playlist, add a compelling title and description that is also optimized for search.

As mentioned earlier, adding description is optional. But, we recommend making it a mandatory step for every playlist you create so that it is visible for certain searches. The trick is to focus on keywords that your audience will be searching for and are related to the videos in your playlist.

The title and description should accurately represent the content that viewers will see in your playlist. Think about it: would you watch a playlist if you’re not sure what’s in it? While YouTube lets you add up to 5000 characters in the description, it falls short in search results. Load your resume with details that will grab attention while summarizing it concisely within the playlist.

put your best video first

Organize your playlist by putting your best videos first. The idea is to expose your top-performing content to more people and increase watch time. The increase in watch time will further improve the engagement rate of the channel.

Find out which videos bring in the most new subscribers or have the longest watch time through YouTube Creator Studio. For more powerful insights, use a tool like Sprout Social to discover what resonates with your audience and determine the features that drive more engagement.

Of course, this doesn’t apply for every playlist you create on YouTube. You’ll want to contextually decide if the video fits the playlist. Sometimes, you have to consider the narrative you want to build—which brings us to the next point.

have a narrative

The videos in a playlist should flow with them. Decide on appropriate themes and categories based on what your channel is about. Like an episode of a TV show, viewers should be curious to know what the next video in the playlist is about.

If you vlog, end each video with a loop and let your viewers know what’s coming. Organize your playlist based on this sequence and watch your ideas skyrocket!

Does your brand have tutorial videos or videos on how your product is made? Make sure they are arranged in the correct order so that the audience can understand what is going to happen next. See how created a playlist with lessons on building an eCommerce business. Each playlist has a specific order for the videos to make learning easier for beginners:

Wix YouTube Playlist for building e-commerce sites
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Create a special playlist for new visitors

Like an about us page on a website, create a YouTube playlist with videos to give new visitors an idea of ​​what your channel is about. For brands, you can compile different videos that tell your brand story—like Duolingo has an ‘All About Duolingo’ playlist with videos on the story behind the company and their brand mission:

Duolingo YouTube Playlist for Beginners
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You can also introduce your brand with a ‘New Here’ playlist to highlight your best videos, giving new viewers an idea of ​​the type of content your channel usually covers. Many YouTubers like to do this, especially if they have uploaded many videos over time. Creator Ali Abdal has a special playlist with 14 videos for new viewers to quickly become familiar with his content.

A creator's playlist for new visitors
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set best thumbnail

There is no option to upload a separate thumbnail for the playlist. The thumbnail of the first video will be set as the thumbnail of the playlist by default. But YouTube lets you choose a thumbnail from any video in that playlist.

You can easily modify it from YouTube Studio. Go to the playlist you want to edit. Select the video you’ve decided to use as the playlist thumbnail from the three-dot menu. From the drop down, select set as playlist thumbnail,

Menu on YouTube to set playlist thumbnails for better engagement
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It’s best to choose a thumbnail that matches the title of your playlist. Just like with videos, they can entice your viewers to click when they appear on search results.

don’t post too many videos

The purpose of creating playlists on YouTube is to make navigation easy for your viewers. Therefore, the last thing you want to do is overwhelm them with a large number of videos in the playlist. We recommend going for 3 to 10 videos per playlist. If the theme or topic you’ve chosen has multiple videos, try splitting it into another playlist.

Get the most out of YouTube playlists

Creating a playlist on YouTube is more than just grouping related videos together. They are tools in your video strategy to organize content and make it easier for your viewers to navigate through the channel.

It is up to you how to organize the playlist in the best way for your channel. Get to know your audience’s preferences and create playlists accordingly.

For more information on growing your brand’s presence on YouTube, check out our guide on YouTube marketing.

The post How to Create a Playlist on YouTube: A Step-by-Step Guide to Increase Engagement appeared first on Sprout Social.

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