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How to Embed YouTube Videos in CraigsList

Justin McClelland
3 min read

10724v1 maxI’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.


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


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.


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.

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″

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:


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


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.

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.