YouTube 101: How Does YouTube Count Views?

February 05, 2021

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How Does YouTube Count Views

How does YouTube count views? Don’t you want to know the answer to this question, and especially if you’re a business owner or content creator?

The view is one of the most important metrics to reflect the amount of time your channel, or a specific video, has been interacted with. Overall, the view is a vital measure of the channel’s popularity among users.

Without further ado, let’s get started on today’s article!

What Counts as A View on YouTube?

To answer the question, what counts as a view on YouTube, you have to know some of the basics first. It is calculated as a view when viewers meet the two requirements:

  • Viewer initiated to click to play the video (whether they look it up on the search bar or found the link from other social media platforms)
  • Watch it for at least 30 seconds

Even if a user clicks on another video while watching yours, and the watch time has been over 30 seconds, the view is still counted.

So, what happens if your video isn’t longer than half a minute?

In this case, YouTube will see it as a count when a person finishes watching the whole video. For example, your video is 25 seconds long; users will have to give it a full video play to count as a view.

And that’s how does YouTube calculate views.

how does YouTube calculate views
Youtube View Count Calculation

The platform wants to make sure that all the views are valid, meaning that they come from real and active users; in other words, organic sources.

It is against YouTube’s policies and terms of service that users use bots and fake accounts to engage with channels, so keep that in mind.

Sometimes, you see the view count from one of your videos fluctuates. Yes, the difficulty in counting your views is there. The YouTube algorithm is often confused about how to accurately count your views. Which ones are from real people? What views should be counted? Which ones should be displayed in YouTube Analytics or even on the YouTube Watch Page?

In YouTube Analytics, you will see something called the Real-Time Activity metric.

The view count from this section is different from the ones mentioned because it only shows the potential view traffic based on your video’s history. This number can be slightly higher than the one on your watch page and search page.

Video Views on Different Social Media Platforms

As you may know, video views from different platforms can be calculated differently. And this also leads to one of the most controversial subjects in this digital era.

This is because views don’t get calculated the same way across social media. It is sort of unfair to judge the triumph of marketing campaigns by video through various social networks.

Take this for example:

  • Facebook: 3 seconds or more
  • Instagram (video posts or IGTV): 3 seconds or more
  • YouTube: half a minute or more
  • TikTok: counts instantly each time a video begins

Getting a view on TikTok is literally as easy as cake, while it is a bit harder for Facebook and Instagram. YouTube is the hardest one of all. This explains why having a decent number of YouTube views can mean that your effort has paid off with the engagement and interaction from the audience when they see your video.

If One Person Watches The Same YouTube Video Twice, Does It Count as One or Two Views?

Yes, it is still counted. However, the algorithms will count repeated views in one day to a certain number. YouTube has yet to announce the exact number of times a video can be watched until they stop counting.

YouTube does this because of spamming reasons, even though some of your subscribers are just purely enjoying the content. But don’t worry too much, everything will be back to normal the next day. After 24 hours, the algorithms will go back to counting views, and stop once you have reached the limit.

Why are YouTube Views Important?

As stated above, the YouTube view is vital in many aspects, especially when you want to make money off YouTube. Even those who don’t attempt to monetize their channels or promote their brands still want to get a whole lot of views for the sake of fame and popularity.

In case you didn’t know, the view and other metrics are Google’s requirement for SEO strategies. It is one of the first things people notice when they visit your channel as YouTube is a video-streaming platform. The more views you have, the more legit and quality your channel seems.

What is more, the view is the gauge for your exposure and visibility among YouTube users. If you’re a business owner and trying to promote your products through videos on YouTube, it is vital to have more traffic on your channel, and in this case, more views.

Why are Youtube Views Important
Youtube view is a factor ranking

You will also rank higher on YouTube and Google search results as the algorithm always favors those with a decent number of views.

Your videos will soon become viral and appear on the Recommended section of YouTube, or even You May Also Like This. This results in incredible exposure to millions of people who use YouTube to stream your content regularly.

Your account will do so much better that your Watch Time and view count are increasing.

Long story short, the view is beneficial to the process of growing your channel, and it’s always better to have more and more views through time.

However, YouTube recently announced that the view is not as important as before. Don’t get me wrong, it is still proof for one video’s discovery and rank.

Can YouTube Detect Views from Bots?

To answer this question, you need to know about the tipping point of YouTube.

You may have seen a lot of videos that just ‘freeze’ at a stagnant count of 301 views. There is a clear explanation of this matter. Once your video has reached 301 views, the algorithm will ‘freeze’ the counting process until manual acts are involved.

What does this mean? Your view count won’t be going up unless YouTube employees look at your video and verify that the views are from real and active YouTube accounts.

The algorithms think that videos having fetched higher than 300 views have the potential to impact people’s thinking about Youtube’s quality.

The platform doesn’t want its homepage to be crowded with fake popular videos. So, YouTube puts on hold videos that reach 301 views, meaning that it will appear at 301+ views until the system finishes processing the views.

There will be manual acts from real employees to verify if the views are legit or fake. Once they are sure that the views are from real people, the counter will start counting again, and you may come across a substantial swing in the view count.

Sometimes the process can be quite time-consuming due to glitches of the system, but overall, it shouldn’t take any longer than a few hours. During this time, legit views are still being counted, so you don’t have to worry about losing any views.

So yes, YouTube can detect views from bots. In fact, it is quite a big deal. Once they have tracked a big number of views from bots on your video, the video is likely to be taken down, or even your entire channel.

So, how does YouTube track down these fake views? It’s quite simple actually. When a person keeps switching from one video to another after watching for 30 seconds, and these videos don’t seem to have any connection to each other, the algorithm will assume the watcher is a bot.

Other reasons include:

  • Users regularly reload the video
  • Those who watch your videos have been noticed for using a bot on their account before
  • Videos that have been embedded on a website and are set to play automatically
  • Views only come  from new users

Did You Know About YouTube Live View Count?

Have you ever watched a live stream on YouTube? As trivial as it sounds, a view from live streams also counts as a regular view from watching YouTube videos.

However, views from live streams are often seen as a way to generate interaction and engagement with your fans and subscribers. On the other hand, the view count from pre-recorded videos works as a tool to solidify your brand influence so you can start monetizing from your videos.

Why is YouTube Serious About What Defines as A View?

This is because of the users to blame. Not all of them, but a considerate number of users. They try to ‘scam’ the platform in many ways, resulting in the loss for not only YouTube but also other YouTubers who are using genuine and natural ways to get more traffic.

Views from YouTube bring along many values to the channel owner, so it is obvious that people would want to try any way possible to get more views, even if it means they have to inflate the system.

To mimic this problem, YouTube created the tipping point of 301 views, which we already discussed above. It has proven to be very effective in terms of providing more transparency to the system.

Of course, there are some disadvantages to the tipping point as well. Maybe a genuine user got discounted because it seemed that a bot was watching their video, or a profile got lost in a ton of other profiles that YouTube has to check everyday.

Hopefully, in the near future, YouTube can come up with several improvements for the tipping point to work better.

How to Check the Total Views on My YouTube Channel?

You could use some view boosting strategies to get more views on YouTube once you know the exact views your videos are having. And no, you don’t have to count views to know the exact figure.

Here’s how it’s done.

  • Click on your channel icon; you should find it on the upper right of your screen (if you’re using a laptop/PC).
  • Then, click on YouTube Studio, and you will see Channel dashboard right there.
  • Right under Channel analytics should lay your channel’s total views; this includes streams from all of your videos. You can also see the number of subscribers right under your channel name.
How to Check the Total Views on My YouTube Channel
Channel dashboard

After having a look at the total views, those with a not so great view count might be thinking of how to get more streams for their videos. Sometimes, the easy way is the first to come to mind – buying YouTube views.

So, should you be buying YouTube views if it’s so hard to make yourself stand out from the rest on the platform? Up to you! But once you have decided to buy YouTube views, do thorough research to find a trustworthy provider.

Numerous websites on the internet sell fake views from fake accounts and spambots. Yes, they will give you an instant boost in the view count, but the risk of losing your entire channel is just too immense.

In Closing

How does YouTube count views? We’re sure our article has given you quite a thorough explanation to this question. Ultimately, we all know how do YouTube views work is more than just ‘a view is recorded when someone sees your video on purpose,’ The view count is one thing, but it is the importance of views and ways to drive traffic to your YouTube that matters.

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