Original Poster

Huge surge in views from 'Unknown-Direct' source? & Audience retention plummets in first 4 seconds?

My channel only started recently. The first four videos we uploaded got around 80-150 views, which is not surprising.
Those first videos were 1 minute film reviews which we weren't expecting mega views on. 5 days ago we released our first feature, which was longer and supposed to be more engaging and hopefully lead to more views.
We were delightfully surprised to see it suddenly surge with both views and likes almost as soon as we started publicising it on social media (it was made public on YT the night before).
As things stand at the moment the video is on 25,000 views with 506 likes.
However, when our analytics caught up a couple of days later, it showed that the vast majority of our views are from Ukraine, Russia, Bangladesh, and India. Our absolute audience retention (while above the YouTube averages) leaves a lot to be desired. There is an almost instantaneous plummet down to around 30%, pretty much within the first 4 seconds and then steadily falls to 15 over the next 30 sec.
I am not for one second saying that it is not possible that people have clicked onto my video and decided within 5 seconds that they don't want to watch it, but it does also beg the question where have all the views come from, from people that aren't interested?
It is also worth pointing out that, while our analytics can tell us that the views are coming from those countries, it can't tell us which websites. It just says that they are from an "Unknown - Direct" source.
A friend of mine that earns his money through YouTube said that you tend to see those results when people pay for clicks, however rarely do you see Russia and Ukraine, and more importantly, I haven't done that!
I am not complaining about having lots of views, and in an ideal world it would turn out that our analytics is just busted and suddenly it will turn out that lots of people our watching the videos and enjoying them.
However for people to click off in such a short space of time and for 90% of our views to be coming from an unknown source seems very odd, and it would be nice to have at least some idea of what is going on.
Thanks in advanced for the help!
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Yes, it does look like a view-buying pattern. It could be:

a) A blogger/media personality with some influence in the Ukraine or Russia linked to it, but his/her fans aren't really into your video (no problem)
b) Someone is buying views to help you, but may end up accidentally hurting you* 
c) Someone is buying views to hurt you*

*If you are monetizing the video, you are not allowed to buy views. If you are not monetizing your video, you are not allowed to buy non-human views. One flaw in YouTube's system, however, is that anyone can buy views for any video on any channel.
To prevent future video removals I would suggest the following. Set the video to private to prevent additional false views. Use the feedback button on the bottom of your video editor menu to inform Youtube about your observations and counter actions. Tell them you are going to search pro-actively for the source and that you are going to make sure it will not happen again. If your video is monetized inform AdSense as well by using their Invalid Clicks Contact Form. Users had their AdSense Account permanently terminated for invalid clicks in the past.

Once you took these "first aid" actions try to find out the source website for these views from your Youtube Analytics. Search the web for the depending contact data and tell the responsibles to stop directing views to your channel. If they repeat their behaviour take legal action.

Note that this is no guarantee that Youtube won't delete your videos. It's just the best way to tackle the problem I can think of.

If your video got deleted anyway you may use the YouTube View Abuse Appeal Form. Make sure to describe the counter-actions you took to prevent the Youtube system from damage.

Original Poster
Thanks for the quick response.
Quick question. If we were to tell YouTube, what is the likelihood that they would just take down our video anyway and we would lose the legitimate views we did have?
They don't give a clear statement on that issue.
Original Poster
Thanks again for your help!
It does however beg the question, is there anything that I can do in the future to protect my videos? I haven't found anything clear but I would really like to know.
There must be some way of avoiding all this, otherwise what is to stop me paying for a bot to sabotage any of the big YouTubers?
Hey Jamie, 

I'm sorry to hear that. I wouldn't know what to do in your situation (I assume you've filed a report already). Just came by to offer support and hopefully bump the discussion thread up a little.

Good luck.

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