The amount of views your video has is a key metric people use to determine the success of your video on YouTube.
Because of the importance placed on views, people have come up with a variety of ways to manipulate these metrics, which can seem tempting to video marketers looking for a quick fix.
In this article we’re going to take a look at YouTube’s view count policy to better understand how it works, and what it means for you.
So what is a view?
YouTube defines a view as:
“a viewer-initiated intended play of a YouTube video that’s been despammed… A view isn’t an autoplay, scripted play, spam play or playback. Views should only be a result of pure viewer choice to watch a video, not as a result of a transaction through incentivised views.”
This basically means a view is when a video is played because a viewer has chosen to click play out of choice – not for manipulation purposes.
Artificially Inflating View Counts
When YouTube started out, view count was simply determined by how many times the video had been loaded. The problem with this approach, is that it’s very open to manipulation. The video publisher only had to keep hitting refresh and the view count would continue to increase.
In addition to this, online providers started offering services to artificially inflate the view count, allowing people to buy thousands of likes for just a few dollars.
A quick search for “buy YouTube views” will return a whole range of companies offering them:
This started to become a real problem when YouTube looked towards monetizing videos, and as a result, they implemented a process designed to cut back on manipulative views.
So How Does it Work?
Up until you reach 300 views the process is very similar to how it used to be. Every time the video is played it counts as a view, and for low viewing figures this system is fine.
Below 300 views you don’t really need to worry about manipulation as it’s too low a figure for anyone to gain significant financial return – you’re looking at a few pennies at most. Because of this, YouTube doesn’t worry about committing resources to checking views below this level.
Once you reach 300 views YouTube automatically freezes the view counter (which is why you often find videos stuck on 301+ views).
While the view count is frozen YouTube carries out an audit on your views, looking for signs of any manipulation. These are things like all the views coming from the same place or autoplaying the video on a webpage without viewers deciding to press play.
At this point any suspicious views are removed and the view counter reset.
You’re Still Under Scrutiny
After you’ve made it past the 301 mark, it doesn’t mean you’re free to go and buy views without getting caught. YouTube is on the constant look out for manipulative tactics. They will periodically audit video views and weed out any suspicious views from the overall view count.
The system is pretty good at telling the difference between natural and artificial views, which make buying views a pretty ineffective route to go down.
While it might seem like a quick and easy way of boosting your authority and increasing trust in your video – the reality is that these views will just be removed over time without providing you with any real benefit.
There’s also the real risk of running foul of YouTube’s policy and getting your video, or even your whole account completely suspended.
What Are The Alternatives?
If you’re looking to grow your view count, stick to the tried and tested natural approach. Share the video with your colleagues and customers. Promote it across your social media accounts and reach out to industry websites to see if they would share it.
If you’ve got budget and need to give your videos a boost then consider TrueView – which is basically AdWords for videos. It’s easy to get set up and views can cost as little as a penny.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Buying views can be a risky move for a business, and it’s something anyone with longer term goals should avoid. If you’re looking to build long term value, invest your budget into developing quality, engaging content and actively engaging with your audience. This will pay dividends further down the line.