How video views are counted

JANUARY 30, 2018
We’re rolling out an update to improve system accuracy and validation of views across YouTube. You may see view fluctuations on your channel from January 29, 2018, as more or fewer views may be marked as invalid than before.

YouTube video views reflect how many times a video has been watched and can be an important measure of a video's overall popularity.

We want to make sure that videos are being viewed by actual humans and not computer programs. During the first couple of hours after a video has been published, we'll only show views that our systems believe to be valid. This might not yet show all legitimate views at that time.

After quality views are counted, view count updates more frequently. The process of including all quality views can take some time depending on a video's popularity and viewership. Afterward, the view count updates more frequently, but keep in mind that we're constantly validating views, so view count can always be adjusted.

Frozen view count

On some videos, the view count might seem frozen or not show all the views that you expect. Video views are algorithmically validated to maintain fair and positive experiences for content creators, advertisers, and users. To verify that views are real and accurate, YouTube may temporarily slow down, freeze, or adjust the view count, as well as discard low-quality playbacks.

Paid advertising views

If your video is used as an ad on YouTube, we may count views of your ad as views on your video. These paid advertising views are counted as views because they indicate that a viewer engaged with the video.

  • TrueView in-stream video ads: Paid advertising views will be counted as views when:
    • Someone watches a complete ad that’s 11–30 seconds long
    • Someone watches at least 30 seconds of an ad that’s more than 30 seconds long
    • Someone interacts with the ad
  • TrueView video discovery ads: Paid advertising views will be counted as views when someone clicks the ad and the video starts to play

Check views with YouTube Analytics

If you're looking at a video you uploaded, you can monitor your views more closely using YouTube Analytics. However, keep in mind that the Realtime report only shows estimates of potential view activity and might not match the number you see on the watch page.

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