The Difference Between Unlisted and Private Videos on YouTube


If your company is considering the use of video for your eLearning program, you probably already know that video is an immensely powerful learning tool. Good video content can add a dynamic element to your eLearning courses, and has proven to enhance knowledge transfer and information retention. Video also makes it easier to explain difficult topics and allows for the demonstration of complex procedures.

YouTube (the world’s most popular video site) can play a role in your eLearning program by serving as a repository for your video content. If you do plan to use YouTube to house your videos outside of your Learning Management System (LMS), you may be wondering about the difference between the “Private” and “Unlisted” settings YouTube offers.


Making Your Videos Public on YouTube

Before we look at the Private and Unlisted settings options, let’s first look at the Public setting. As you think about your video privacy settings, remember that YouTube is not just a website; it is a search engine. In fact, YouTube is now the second largest search engine (behind Google) with search volume larger than that of Bing, Yahoo, and AOL combined.


When you upload a video to YouTube, “Public” is the default setting, meaning that anyone can see your video and that it can show up in user searches. If you want to use YouTube to promote your videos and build your business, use the Public setting.


The Difference Between the Private and Unlisted Settings

The Private and Unlisted settings are offered by YouTube as options for video creators who do not want their videos to be found via search but instead want to make the available to a select audience. Private videos can only be viewed by people who have been given the specific link for that video. In the corporate world, the Private setting is most often used for group collaboration, video resume sharing, and other situations where video offers the best means of communication but needs to be restricted to specific users. Also, the use of comments is not available for private videos.


Unlisted videos, on the other hand, are available to the public but are not searchable. With the Unlisted setting, only those who know where the video is can view it (whereas anyone can find a Public video if they use the correct keywords). Unlike Private videos, Unlisted videos do allow for user comments.


Which Setting is Best for Use with Learning Management Systems

The Unlisted setting is considered by many eLearning executives to be the best choice when sharing YouTube video content to an LMS. With the Unlisted setting, you can utilize your YouTube video content (on most LMSs) while ensuring that the video cannot be found via YouTube search. Many eLearning executives see this as a good choice for leveraging YouTube as a learning video repository while keeping those videos out of public search results.


LMS Portals and YouTube Video Content

LMS Portals provides a cloud-based, multi-tenant Learning Management System that allows our clients and partners to launch and manage private eLearning environments to support various audiences. With LMS Portals, you can leverage YouTube as your video content repository (along with Vimeo and MP4 support) and each portal you launch offers its own branding, user onboarding, collaboration tools, analytics, and more.


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