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How YouTube Counts Views [2024]

by | Dec 31, 2023

Have you ever wondered how YouTube counts views? It’s an important question for creators and viewers alike. Understanding how these metrics work can help you gauge the popularity of your videos and make informed decisions about your content. In this article, we’ll break down the process of how YouTube counts views, using simple and common words to make it easy for you to grasp. So, let’s dive in and unravel the mysteries behind YouTube view counts!

Why Do YouTube Views Matter?

You might be wondering why we pay so much attention to what counts as a view and what doesn’t. Here are three simple reasons that explain why YouTube views matter a lot to creators and social media marketers.

1. They Help Your Video Reach More People

YouTube views are a form of engagement. When someone watches, likes, comments, or shares your video, it’s considered engagement. The YouTube algorithm takes into account the engagement level of a video when deciding which videos to rank higher in search results. 

How YouTube Counts Views

The more views and other forms of engagement your video has, the higher it will rank. When your video ranks higher, it has a better chance of being clicked on and seen by more people. This means your video reaches a wider audience, potentially gaining more engagement and attracting new subscribers to your channel. If you want to rank for your YouTube videos, read our article about “YouTube SEO Tips to Rank Your Videos Higher in Search Results”.

2. They Help You Make Money

If you want to monetize your YouTube channel and start earning money, you need to meet certain requirements. One of the requirements is to have a certain number of views and subscribers. The more views your videos have, the closer you are to meeting the eligibility criteria for monetization

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Once your channel is monetized, you can earn money through ads that companies pay to display on your videos. It’s one of the ways top-earning creators make their income. So, views directly contribute to your earning potential on YouTube. To learn more, read our article about “How Much Does YouTube Pay for 1 Million Views”.

3. They Help Your Channel Grow

Having a high number of YouTube views is a game-changer for channel growth. When more people watch your content, you have more opportunities to attract new subscribers and build a loyal audience. If one of your videos gets thousands or millions of views, it can even go viral and bring you fame and recognition. While not every creator achieves viral status, having a large number of views significantly increases your chances of gaining popularity and growing your channel.

How YouTube Counts Views?

YouTube counts views based on certain criteria to determine the legitimacy of a view. While the exact details of YouTube’s view counting algorithm are not publicly disclosed, here are some key factors that are believed to be involved:

User Initiation: A view is counted when a user intentionally initiates the playback of a video. This means that views from automatic plays, embedded videos on external websites, or views generated by bots are typically not counted.

Duration: The duration of a view may play a role, but it’s important to note that the specific threshold for what constitutes a view is not officially disclosed. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not universally confirmed that a viewer must watch at least 30 seconds of a video for it to count as a view. Shorter videos can still accumulate views as long as they meet the other criteria for legitimacy.

Video Validation: YouTube’s algorithms continuously evaluate the legitimacy of views to ensure they are not artificially inflated. They employ various techniques to identify and exclude views from bots, spam accounts, or other fraudulent sources.

Quality Control: YouTube’s algorithms analyze engagement metrics to assess the quality of views. This includes factors such as the user’s interaction with the video, engagement with comments, likes, dislikes, and other signals of viewer interest and satisfaction.

Filtering: YouTube employs automated systems to filter out views that are deemed low-quality or suspicious. This helps ensure that the view count reflects genuine user engagement.

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It’s important to note that YouTube regularly updates and refines its algorithms to adapt to evolving methods of view manipulation. The platform aims to maintain the integrity of view counts and provide accurate metrics for creators and advertisers.

Overall, while the exact details of YouTube’s view counting algorithm are not disclosed, it involves a combination of user initiation, duration, video validation, quality control, and filtering to determine the legitimacy of views.

What is the Role of YouTube Views in Making Money?

YouTube Views in Making Money

Short YouTube videos and YouTube shorts that are less than 30 seconds long cannot make money with AdSense. However, for longer videos, simply getting more views may not be enough to earn money from YouTube.

YouTube values how much time users spend watching your videos. The longer they stay, the more ads YouTube can show, which generates revenue. So, it’s important to focus on increasing your watch time and session time to optimize your channel and YouTube brand.

The number of views does not determine the ranking of your videos in YouTube search results anymore. It’s an outdated factor. Instead, the quality of engagement a video receives now determines its success on the platform. So, it’s better to not solely focus on the view count and consider other metrics for success.

What Are the Different Ways YouTube Counts Views for Different Types of Ads?

There are two types of ads: “TrueView in-stream ads” and “TrueView video discovery ads”. 

  • TrueView in-stream ads are video ads that play before, during, or after other YouTube videos across different platforms. They are skippable ads that allow viewers to skip the ad after the first 5 seconds if they are not interested. Advertisers are only charged when viewers watch the ad for at least 30 seconds or if they engage with the ad by clicking on the accompanying elements like website links, call-to-action (CTA) overlays, or companion banners.
TrueView in-stream ads
  • TrueView video discovery ads, on the other hand, are ads that appear in various places on YouTube, such as search results, related videos, or on the YouTube homepage. These ads are displayed as a thumbnail image along with some text, enticing users to click on them. When a user clicks on a TrueView video discovery ad, they are taken to the video’s watch page to view the content. Advertisers are charged only when a user clicks on the ad and the video starts playing.
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TrueView video discovery ads

How YouTube counts views for TrueView in-stream ads:

  • For TrueView in-stream ads that play before YouTube videos across platforms, a view is counted if the video has been watched for at least 30 seconds. Even if viewers interact with the ad by clicking on your website, call-to-action (CTA), or companion banners, it’s still considered a view.
  • For videos shorter than 30 seconds, a view is only counted when someone watches the complete ad.

How YouTube counts views for TrueView video discovery ads:

  • For TrueView video discovery ads that appear in search results or on the watch page on desktop or mobile, a view is counted when users themselves click on your ad and the video starts playing.
  • YouTube analytics won’t display views that are less than 10 seconds. As a suggestion from YouTube, making videos at least 12 seconds long can help ensure view counts are accurately reflected.

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Now that we’ve explored how YouTube counts views, you have a clearer understanding of this important aspect. It’s crucial for both creators and viewers to comprehend these metrics to assess video popularity and make informed content-related choices. By breaking down the process, we aimed to make it easily understandable for you. Hopefully, this article has helped demystify the mechanisms behind YouTube view counts. Keep creating and enjoy your journey on YouTube!


If one person watches the same YouTube video twice, does it count it as one or two views?

YouTube counts a view when a video is loaded and begins to play. If the same person watches the same video twice, it will be counted as two views.

Can I buy legitimate YouTube views?

It is not recommended to buy legitimate YouTube views as it goes against YouTube’s policies and can result in penalties such as video removal or account suspension.

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