YouTube Marketing

How To Upload Unlisted YouTube Videos

8 min read
Aug 10, 2021

Take complete control over your YouTube channel and decide how and when people view your video content.

Toby CoxSenior Content Writer

Many businesses rely on YouTube to reach current and potential customers. If this is your business, then your YouTube videos might explore themes around your business’ mission or give viewers instructions on how to do anything from repairing drywall to juggling to doing their taxes. 

But sometimes, you might want to exercise a little more control over your published video content, such as who can access it and when. You can do this by adjusting your video’s privacy setting. 

Public videos

Pros:

  • Easily found through YouTube searches or on your channel

  • Likely to get more traffic and views

  • Excellent for brand awareness

Cons:

  • Risk attracting trolls and bots

  • Will be there forever, even if you try to delete them

Private videos

Pros:

  • Control who views your personal video resume

  • Share videos with your internal team only

  • Use YouTube for free storage of your video content

Cons:

  • If you forget to invite someone from your team, they will not be able to view your content

  • Will not attract a lot of views

  • Cannot embed on websites since all viewers must be invited

Unlisted videos

Pros:

  • Unlisted videos will not show up in search results, but can be easily accessed through a URL

  • Can test reactions to a video before making it public

  • Easier to embed than private videos

Cons:

  • Not as secure as private videos

  • You must provide every viewer with the URL

  • URLs can be easily shared online making them less secure than private videos

What is the difference between private and unlisted YouTube videos?

On YouTube, there are three video settings: public, private, and unlisted. A public YouTube video can be viewed by anyone and will show up in regular searches. A private video can only be viewed by people who you’ve specifically invited to access the video. Unlike public videos, these videos will not show up in searches. 

An unlisted YouTube video also does not show up searches, the user's subscriber feed, or your channel, but you also don’t need to invite people to view it. All you need to view an unlisted YouTube video is the video’s URL.

Why would I want to unlist a YouTube video?

There are many reasons why a small business may want to unlist a YouTube video.

Scenario 1: You have a YouTube channel and a website. You created a YouTube video specifically to embed on your website (or an email campaign) but you don’t necessarily want this video to show up on your channel or in your subscribers’ feeds as a stand-alone video. If you unlist the video, you can still embed the video on your website while preventing it from showing up in search results or your channel’s content. 

Scenario 2: Your marketing team is A/B testing video content for an upcoming campaign. You’re not sure which will perform the best with your target audience. If you unlist these different videos, you can share them with your focus group to gauge their reaction. Once you decide on which version of the unlisted video is best for your business, then you can make it public so it can show up in search results and be more promotable. 

Scenario 3: Creating video content is difficult, and most companies probably have stories of video projects that didn’t turn out as planned. Over the years, your business’ video content has evolved. A few years ago, your video content might not have been the greatest. It got the job done, but now, your content is more refined and sleek. You might even be a little embarrassed of the video content you made years ago that didn’t perform as well as you would have liked. Instead of deleting older videos, you can unlist them. This means that people can still access them if they have the URL (such as in a link from an external source, for example) but they won’t show up on your channel’s page. 

Unlisting a YouTube video falls somewhere between the very open, transparent public videos and the very controlled, restricted private videos. There are many reasons why you might want to unlist a video, and here’s how you can do it. 

5 steps to unlisting YouTube videos

Follow these five steps to upload an unlisted YouTube video. 

1. Click on the icon to create new content.

2. Select “Upload a Video.”

3. Click “Select File” and click on the file you want to upload or drag and drop the file to upload.

4. Fill out “Details” and “Video Elements” as they apply to your content. Click “Next” through until “Visibility.”

5. Select “Unlisted,” schedule your video if needed, and then click “Save.”

After completing these five steps, you’ve successfully uploaded an unlisted YouTube video. Your next step would be to share the link with your selected viewers and keep an eye on its performance, even if it’s shared with a small group of people. 

You can control your YouTube video content 

Using a third-party social media platform, such as YouTube, you’ll never have as much control over your content as you would your own website. You can, however, take advantage of the visibility settings YouTube offers to control who can see your content and when.

Are you new to video creation or looking to replace your current platform? Browse our list of video editing platforms!

Find more resources to help you manage your channel

We hope this guide has prepared you to turn your content into a cash cow. And if you’ve found this article helpful, there’s even more resources for your YouTube channel on our site:

We also recommend taking a look at the tools in our video making and video editing software directories, where you can compare tools’ functionality and usability, as well as read reviews from real users like you.

About the author

Toby Cox

Senior Content Writer

Hey there, I’m Toby. I’m a Senior Content Writer at GetApp. I bring you insights about software and technology trends for small businesses. Home base: Washington, DC; Things about me: I love bees, tacos, and yoga; Tech trends I think you should keep an eye on: Immersive reality technology and blockchain.

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