How to Embed YouTube Videos in CraigsList

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I’ve come across what was once a road-block and have created a workaround.  With creative thinking there is always, and I mean always, more than one way to skin a cat.

The issue:
CraigsList will not allow a user to embed a YouTube video.  More specifically, CraigsList has a short list of acceptable HTML elements and the <embed> HTML element is not one of them.  This means that you can’t “embed” any video in your CraigsList ad, thus a page visitor can’t watch video residing on your page.

Why this should matter to you:
If you are an investor and/or a Realtor, you can find great use for YouTube videos for property marketing.

Google reigns supreme as the most popular search engine, they have the greatest market-share of all search engines.  In November of 2008, YouTube (a Google company) surpassed Yahoo in search engine market share to take the #2 spot and has extended its lead margin as of July 2009 (comScore).  CraigsList is #7 worldwide in terms of english-language page views.

By implementing two heavy hitting websites such as YouTube and CraigsList together, you will greatly increase the marketing exposure of your business.

The Solution:
While you could just place a text hyperlink to your YouTube video on your CraigsList ad, this isn’t very effective.  Web users respond more to imagery than to text.  If you simply use a text hyperlink, chances are the end-user will skim over the link and never view the video.

Currently, there is not a way to get around the <embed> HTML-element ban.  Any inserted HTML elements, into your CraigsList ad, that are not included on the safe-list will be stripped out at posting time.

The next best tactic to embedding the video is to implement a hyperlinked image of your YouTube video in your CraigsList ad.  This can be done as the <img> HTML element is acceptable per CraigsList.

The Step By Step: Embedding YouTube in Craigslist

Please note that you can click on any image below to see it full size.

1.Take a Screen shot of your YouTube video page.  An easy tool to take screen-shots and manipulate them is FireShot.  FireShot is a screen-shot editing web-browser plugin that can be used with either FireFox or Internet Explorer.  I prefer FireFox by the way. On a Mac, you can take a screenshot by pressing Command-Shift-3 OR by pressing Command-Shift-4, then selecting an area that you want a shot of.

    YouTubeSS

2.Crop the screen-shot so that only the video window appears and save it.

    duncanPic

3.You will now need to post the image to the web, you may use a site such as www.flikr.com.  This step is necessary because you will later need to use the URL of the photo’s location on the web.

    flikrURL

4.On CraigsList, you will need to compose the text for your ad.  For more attractive and colorful CraigsList ads, I recommend Postlets..   When you create an ad via Postlets, it is syndicated to multiple sites at once.  Also, the site generates the HTML that can be copied and pasted into CraigsList.

5.After composing the ad copy with or without the beautification of Postlets, now it’s time to link your screen-shot so that it appears in your CraigsList ad and links back to your YouTube video.

5a. You will need to grab the URL of the screen-shot (as seen in step 3)

5b. You will then need to insert that screen-shot URL and YouTube URL into the HTML mark-up that can be pasted to your CraigsList page.
YouTubePic

I have done the work for you below, just insert your specific URLs (red text):
<a href=”http://www.YourYoutubeLink.com” rel=”nofollow”>
<img border=”0″ src=”http://www.YourImageLink.jpg” width=”480″
height=”295″>
</a>

6.Paste your specific HTML markup into your CraigsList ad (both red and blue text)

7.Once the CraigsList ad is published, it can look like the following:

    DuncanCLpic


8.
Or if you decided to use Postlets with your ad, it can look even more polished as shown below:

    DuncanPostlets

Conclusion:
To the common user, the YouTube video will appear to be embedded.  By mimicking the embedding of your YouTube video into CraigsList, you are sure to see an increase in your marketing response rate as comprehensive property information is conveyed to buyers both in written and visual form.  The redirect of users to your YouTube page will create more exposure for your targeted property as well as other properties that you may have YouTube videos for on your profile.

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About Author

Justin McClelland (G+), is a real estate investor in Houston, TX. Visit his blog MyInnerG where the rule is: Get fit, Get money, Globe trot, Give back. Socialize with him on Twitter and Facebook.

86 Comments

  1. 1. How did you get the code for my pic? I was not able to find it.

    2. Once I input the code into the html code and clicked on continue, once it went to the preview page it does not show the image, its just blank. Any suggestions? Here is the code, please look at it and let me know if I am doing something wrong.

  2. I tried to do this several time and I can’t get it.I copied and pasted the HTML and put in my links and no picture came up.HELP

  3. Thanks for the tip. What a brilliant work around! I would have never even though of pasting the picture and using the picture itself as a link back to youtube. Is there any way to include links back to my web site from my youtube profile?

  4. It’s also slick to autoplay the property within the single property page so the CL visitor sorta gets what’s been promised.

    Even better if the visitor lands on a page that offers a bunch of videos of your other properties with an opt in… “Receive a weekly digest of my latest distressed property videos.”

    Cool post… built a list 150 strong with this technique last fall…

  5. Im having a problem because its linking to the picture instead of youtube?
    so when you click on the pic it brings you to image shack where my pic is hosted…can anyone help?

  6. Yes this works.

    @Mike
    If your picture is linking to itself that’s because you need to place your YouTube URL in place of the picture URL. Step 5B explains this (…href=”http://www.YourYoutubeLink.com…).

    @Shep
    Tell me what isn’t working for you (if you can). Your comment appears to be groundless. There is nothing for CraigsList to “Catch On To” as this is not some sort of hack. In laymen’s terms, an image is simply being linked to a YouTube page. Nothing more.

  7. My apologies, I was peeved at wasting so much time – glad it works for you guys.

    I did EXACTLY what you said, 3 times. No typos, I didn’t put the wrong url in either spot. All it does for me is show a blank page where the code is. All other html code in the page takes effect.

    But, I’m not in the USA and I’m using free craigslist, not the paid adverts so maybe that has something to with it.

    cheers

  8. hmmm well I guess you can’t post html in a post! lol sorry – in that case you’ll have to imagine the the brackets , and put them in of course: (if it will post this time, lets see…)

    a href=”http://www.THEYOUTUBELINK” rel=”nofollow” img src=”http://THEIMAGELINK.jpg” border=”0″ /a

  9. Will Rodriguez on

    It wouldn’t work for me either. :-( I tried BOTH ways outlined above and no matter what I did, it just wouldn’t show up on my CL post.

  10. To let everyone know, Justin McCelland is correct. I have been having the same problems as other in trying to get this method to work for me on craigslist. no matter what I tried it wouldn’t show up on craigslsit, or it wouldn’t work. For some reason, before you paste the youtube and image hosting links….delete and retype the quotations marks before and after the links. I don’t know much about html but this definitely worked for me.

  11. Great job Justin! It took a little playing around with the quotations, but now they are up and running! Thank you!

  12. Evelyn McDonald on

    THIS IS FANTASTIC, THANK YOU!!!

    I had a little trouble at first, my issue was the quotation marks, but once I changed them everything magically appeared.

    I have a few questions: 1) I use Firefox and my friend uses Safari and it works perfectly however, when I tried it using Internet Explorer I couldn’t see it. Is there a way to make this viewable to all browsers? 2) Is there a way to open the link and keep it within the frame while still on Craigslist? Now it directs me to Youtube, as it should, but it would be nice to be able to view the video while still on the Craigslist post. Any Solutions???? Thanks again.

  13. I don’t have an answer as to why you are having troubles viewing this in Internet Explorer. It shouldn’t be an issue across all browsers. Perhaps, reset your internet explorer browser to its’ default settings.

    And no there isn’t a way to truly “embed” a YouTube video in CraigsList, this tutorial is meant to serve as a workaround or sorts.

  14. KC your coding never showed up. Maybe you can send it to Justin and he can post for you. I’m still trying to get this to work for me and I think having the video and the CL posting at the same time would be beneficial.
    Justin do you know the code for that? This is great article. Thanks for it! Hoping I can nail it here.
    Cheers

  15. Hi Justin, I’m using the an image hosted by my dealership and perhaps thats where the problem lies. Whenever I try to post, the result ends up a blank posting. and when I go to edit the posting the youtube link is gone. Maybe they are banning the multimedia link completely?
    Should I try this with photobucket or google docs?

  16. Great article –

    however I am having trouble getting the images to show on craigslist I can get the links to show up but not the images. ANy help would be greatly appreciated

  17. Well, I can’t offer too much more assistance than what I already have in the article and in the comments thus far. Anything more would be the equivalent to teaching HTML in a day.

    @David: you may want to refer to the website http://w3schools.com/html/default.asp for further guidance

    @Jeff: there is a way to place the HTML mentioned in the article within a POSTLET listing, however that’s a bit advanced. If you really want assistance you can message me and perhaps we could work something out.

  18. It really it not so advanced, but for those interested in embedding it into Postlets, as you have depicted, it would have been nice if you would have explained how to do this, instead of giving a teaser. Might have been a good idea to not even show that if you weren’t going to explain how to do it for those who don’t know how to.

  19. Jeff, it’s unfortunate you feel mislead. The purpose of this post give a detailed step-by-step of the basics. However, short of writing an e-book, I really can’t explain where you need to place your HTML within the HTML of your postlets page.

    It’s definitely possible.

    I’d suggest consulting with a web developer if you want further help. But if it’s not that advanced, then you’ll probably be fine without one.

    • [qoute]However, short of writing an e-book, I really can’t explain where you need to place your HTML within the HTML of your postlets page. [/quote]

      No e-book is necessary for giving this kind of simple instruction…sheesh. Its a very easy process explained above yet this blog is blocking the code that was posted. Looks like someone wants to sell their html services.

  20. Justin,
    All I am saying is that there should not have been an example of an embedded video on the postlet listing, if there was not going to be some sort of explanation as to how to do it. I am not, nor are most real estate professionals I know, web designers. However, I know more than most, and I figured out a way to do it.

    For those that are interested, here is the code from Postlet. All of it is automatically generated when you create your listing, however you have to modify a piece of the code in order to place the link, along with your graphic in the listing. This is the specific line of code to put in there. Of course this point to my files, so your will be a little different.

    <!–
    !–>

  21. Jeff,

    Here is the answer to your question, and anyone else who may wonder how to get a postlet to look like the example above. Here is the kicker though, you can not post HTML code into a postlet that is hosted by postlet. You can however store the file locally on your hard drive and change the code for uploading to Craigs List or even in mass emails.

    1) Save the postlet HTML code from their site and past it into notepad.

    2) Look through all the code and find where your last line of the property description is. It will be word for word and you can use the notepad search function if you have trouble finding it.

    3) After the last character of your property description, whether it be a period or just the last letter of the last word, type the following code.

    TEXT HERE

    Just replace what I have in capitol letters with the proper links to your source files.

    4) Save the file BUT when the “save as” window comes up select “all files” as the “save as type” and then type in the name you want to use for the file AND use the .htm extension. ie: my_video_link_picture.htm. Do not save it as a text file.

    5) Now find the file you just saved and open it. It will open in your internet browser as a local file and look exactly like the example posted above. You can use this code to post on Craigs List or insert into emails you send out.

    Your done! Easy as can be. Not sure why you didnt get a straight answer before but there is nothing advanced about this at all.

  22. i’m fairly versed in cut/pasting html codes and followed all the steps, however when i posted it to craigslist and submitted the code, the image didn’t show up. i then went back into my ad to see what happened and craigslist had stripped a bunch of the code?? i am using photobucket. the only difference i noticed was the photobucket url ended with png, not jpg?

    http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/jsny/random/subluxation.png <=====

    here is my ad http://tulsa.craigslist.org/com/1672178674.html

  23. Great idea you have here. I was looking for a way to embed YouTube videos in my Craisglist Ads but sadly it’s not possible. I use this technique for email campaigns and it works really well.

  24. I just posted my first posting on Criagslist right before I came across this post. This is a very clever idea. I’ll have to try it again next time. Thanks!

  25. The only problem now I think will be that at least for us in Australia, there is only one link allowed per listing, so if you want to use this technique as well as a link to your page, you have to choose which one is going to be more effective for your ad to sell. I wish they allowed us to have more links.

  26. I tried this method today to embed a youtube video onto my craigslist ad but it doesn’t work.

    Can someone confirm this with me if this method still works? Or did craigslist update their site to remove this work-around?

    Thanks

  27. Wow, I never thought of this. You are right that minimizing the clicks is best to keep the reader interested. Disguising the image as a link to play the video is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Dudley Chapman on

    I tried this today and they removed the URL reference in the HTML code. I even tried to make it a tiny URL thinking that maybe having Facebook in the name was how they were catching it, but that didn’t work either.

    This technique worked last year because I used to use it for Picasa slideshows (i.e. Click Here for a Slide Show). Now that doesn’t even work. When I went back to the HTML code for this, the Picasa URL was stripped away.

  29. I need to make a coorection in my previous post. I had said that the URL had been removed.
    Actually, this was due to a mistake of mine. I had the HTML code saved as a WORD document. Big mistake because in WORD a double quote becomes a curly quote instead of a “.
    In the Craigslist ad, I changed the curly quote to a ” and the URL stayed and the video played just fine.

  30. 9-27-10 I’ve spent hours trying this and it doesn’t seem to work. Does this still work or has Craigslist totally taken the video link to an image away?

  31. Excellent Tip and Content. Even though this post is somewhat dated (today is 11-10-10) the “work-around” you provide is perfect timing for what we are doing with our real estate video marketing strategy. Thanks!

  32. I have a landscape company in the sf bay area. Been doing a lot of seo stuff. This came in super handy. So big ups..for putting this info out. The 1st one was a bitch.. But hey smooth sailing from there.

    Thanks

  33. Thank you soooooo much it didnt work for me exactly how you posted so what i did was embeded picasa with youtube link inside picasas embedded html

    • Curtis-

      Can you paste the code you used to “embed picasa with youtube link inside picasas embedded html”

      I’m not very code savvy but want to see what my options are!

      Thanks!

  34. Nice. For the image code, you can change the hight and width to whatever you want or remove the value for original sized photos.

  35. Lets make this simple. (on PC) For a quicker method than using the Fireshot addon, just find the video on youtube as explained above hit the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard, open “paint” on your computer then hit “paste”, and the screen image will come up. Use the selection tool to drag over the image, then select “crop” and save the image name as whatever you want (I like to save it as a PNG file). Then upload that saved image to a photo sharing site. After you have cropped your image, then saved it to photobucket, flickr etc….then take the link such as this (my own image from photobucket, but the code is similar in other photosharing sites, I also used the Fireshot Add on, but you do not have to):

    Now that you have this HTML code from the photo sharing site, paste it into your Craigslist ad, then delete the address from the first set of quotations (in this case, http://photobucket.com, and replace it with your Youtube URL, then submit, and it will show up. Be sure to make sure that you leave the quotations on both sides of the Youtube address that you put in. Using this method, you do not have to try to remember the HTML from the original article above, and you don’t have to worry about saving it in a text file to refer back to. The photo sharing site does all of the work, and all you have to do is crop a picture, and delete one address. Brilliant!

  36. Thank you so much, really enjoyed the article! Just stumbled on it this morning and read half way through the comments to try and make it work.

    What i was using:
    Vimeo video
    photobucket photo
    Original language from post

    For the life of me, I could not get the image to appear, but when I moved my cursor around, I could see that something was clickable! Once clicked it led directly to my vimeo page, however no image was available.

    What was the trick you asked?
    I deleted all of the double quotations and re inserted them. This worked like a charm!!!

    Thanks Justin!!

  37. I cant make it work…
    I read the article, read all comments and answers, and watched Justin’s related video on youtube as well. I followed all the steps, re-keyed quotation marks, but still in my resulting post I see an image (the video screenshot) and a link. When I click on the image it takes me to the Flickr page (where I hosted the image) instead of the Youtube video. When I click the link then it takes me to the Youtube video.

    Can anyone help me find a way so that clicking on the screenshot takes the CL visitor to the Youtube video?

    This is the link to the craigslist ad
    https://post.craigslist.org/manage/2763767152

  38. I followed the instructions, and it worked perfectly.
    But when I go to CL, and look for my ad, it’s not there.
    Yet, when I go to ‘manage my account’ it says my ad is ‘active’, and if I click on the link there, I see the ad, and it works as it should.
    I even tried using ‘ctrl F5′
    Yet when I go to the CL for my city, and search there, my ad is no where to be found.
    Any ideas?

    • Ron, your ad is getting “ghosted” by Craigslist when that happens. Craigslist does this when they feel users are doing something against their terms of service usually. This has nothing to do with the video-embed thing however…

      • Justin,
        Thanks for the reply, it’s what I suspected, as my other ad in the same category is fine.
        But really, the only thing I can see that’s wrong (re: terms of service) with this one is the YouTube screenshot with the hidden link.
        But, I’m going to experiment, and try writing a new ad with just a few words, and the pic/link back to youtube.

      • What I failed to report was that my ad is in a different category, it’s in home services, as we do carpet and tile cleaning.
        I don’t know if different rules may apply to that section, than from the real estate section.
        I’m surprised and impressed to get a reply on my comment, thank you!

  39. This was the only ad in that section I had posted for months, but I did do numerous edits to it.
    I kept tweaking it, then publishing it, to get it the way I wanted.
    Actually, never quite got it right, as the links to my website kept moving to an inconspicuous corner of the ad, and I never could keep them in the place I wanted, so I finally gave up after 10 or more tries.
    Maybe that caused it?

  40. Just a quick update.
    I tried it again, and it’s working like a champ, I’ve been using it almost daily since I last posted here.
    Thanks for the information Justin!

  41. Great article.

    Tho I am having a similar issue as everyone else – when I paste the HTML you provided (with the image URL & YouTube URL inserted), there is just a blank space in my CL ad.

    I took out and re-added the double quotation marks, but no go.

    Any ideas?

    • Hey Misty, because HTML isn’t allowed in the comments, go ahead and email me your HTML and I’ll take a look at it and get it back to you corrected. Send it to justin_mcclelland (at) yahoo (dot) com.

      The same goes for any future readers who have issues.

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