Digital, Google, Technology, Video

How Does YouTube Count Views?

When it comes to sharing videos online, no platform does it better than YouTube. YouTube even pays you when people click your...

youtube count views

When it comes to sharing videos online, no platform does it better than YouTube. YouTube even pays you when people click your video to view it. The number of YouTube views determines how much they will pay you. But it is not that easy to get paid. Your views have to reach a certain threshold for you to receive cash in your account. That is why, nowadays, YouTube is more strict when it comes to counting YouTube views. It is not just about clicking a video; the viewer has to play for a significant amount of time before it gets counted as a view. A lot goes into calculating the number of views on YouTube. We are going to explore the various ways YouTube uses to count relevant views on its platform.

Clicking a YouTube Video Doesn’t Necessarily Amount to a View

YouTube has not clearly revealed how it counts its views. However, a view won’t count if you click a video for a short while and then click away immediately. The watch time plays a big role in view to count. In most cases, a view will count if a video is viewed continuously for 30 seconds. However, this has not been proven yet.

So, How Does YouTube Count Views?

For a view to count, YouTube needs to confirm first that the view is from a human and not from one of those intelligent bots. This explains why YouTube is more strict with the first number of views once uploaded a video. Legit YouTube views are those that are counted, and YouTube strongly believes so. For discretion’s sake, it may end up ignoring legit views.

Once a couple of hours pass on after publishing your video, you will notice that the views start updating more frequently. If YouTube detects some trickery from the number of YouTube views, it will revert to updating slowly again.

In rare cases, if the YouTube algorithm needs to verify the view count, it may even stop the count temporarily. It does this for the sake of being fair and transparent to those creating video content. View counts can be reviewed upwards or downwards, depending on the outcome.

How does the View Count Algorithm work on YouTube?

YouTube has one of the most mind-boggling algorithms in the world. The reason being that decoding its complete dynamics is hard. If you want to try figuring it out, there are tests you can run on your own.

One of these tests is uploading a video and set it as unlisted. You will notice that it won’t get any public YouTube count views. Another way is to play a video for different lengths of time to see how long it takes for a view to being counted as a legit view. When doing this, you shouldn’t use the same computer you used to upload the video. Viewing from the same computer won’t be counted as a view. You should also ensure that you view the video from a different location from where you uploaded the video. View the video for roughly 15 seconds. What you want to do is keep the view length of time below 30 seconds. When you do this, you will see that the view won’t be counted as legit. You will still get the same outcome even if you use the view from different computers in different locations.

Watching the video for more than 30 seconds will more likely increase your view count. Besides meeting the threshold time, there are other factors that YouTube uses to count views. Another test you can run is watching the same video countless times on the same day. You will notice that after some time, the view count will slow down or even stop. When a video is played over and over again, it means that users are enjoying it, and they can’t get enough of it. YouTube factors in replays into their algorithm since they suggest that the video is of high quality. After some time, the view count will stop to get rid of spam views.

Some Views Don’t Count Due to Account Tracking

Another thing that affects the view count is the fishy activity portrayed by the account. If an account watches a particular video before landing on the video’s watch page, the view may not count. If this happens, YouTube may stop counting views, thinking that the account is a bot and not a human.

When a user directly jumps between videos without going through recommendations from the subscriber feed, search engine, it may look suspicious. This may force YouTube to flag such an account as a potential bot. Moreover, YouTube may conclude that the account is run by a bot if the view time is exactly 30 seconds or less. It could also be part of an exchange program where a human watches for a bare minimum of 30 seconds. This means such YouTube views may not be counted as legit. Any action taken by a user and looks fishy may not be added to the view count.

The Skip & Skim

It is normal for some of the YouTube users to skim through a video by skipping certain parts. A user may do this to try to find his or her favorite part of the video. If this happens and the viewer watches the video for a scattered 30 seconds, there is no telling whether it would amount to a legit view or not.

Frozen YouTube View Counts

YouTube account freezing may happen when the accuracy of the view count needs verification. The moment it is done validating the view count, views may go up or down once the account is unfrozen. This will depend on the findings.

The 301 Mark

You may sometimes notice that many videos may remain stagnant after reaching 300 views. The logic behind this is that the YouTube algorithm believes that the perception of people about YouTube’s quality may be affected by views above 300. To make sure that the homepage is not filled with artificially popular videos, YouTube will freeze the count at 301. This is to allow YouTube’s teams to very manually decide whether the views are legit. If it finds nothing wrong with the count, the views will spike up once the count is unfrozen.


And that is how YouTube counts YouTube views to establish whether they are legit or not. With so many videos being published every day, users need to be assured of quality. That is why YouTube is strict when it comes to counting views.


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Written by Naman Modi
I'm Naman Modi Serial Entrepreneur, Business Blogger, Digital Marketing Expert, CEO & Founder of Naman Modi Digital.

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