How YouTube Counts Live Views – Revealing Detailed Information And Secrets

Real YouTube view counter algorithms at the moment

The world’s largest video hosting site YouTube has recently been updating the algorithms of the system more and more frequently, which prevents users from understanding exactly how the service works. Viewing videos is the main indicator of viewers’ interest and the success of the filmed material. In this article we will look at how exactly the algorithm for counting views on YouTube works, as well as which ones are counted and which ones are not.

YouTube is constantly updating the algorithm to identify flaws in the algorithms for calculating this metric. Since many users running a channel monetize their videos, the issue of the number of views is of utmost importance to them. It is for them that sites like have been created, where YouTube views, subscribers and likes can be obtained quickly and, most importantly, inexpensively.

Currently, a new unique visitor is counted as early as the first seconds when the content starts downloading to the browser’s cache. It doesn’t matter if it’s a subscriber who opens a new video after receiving notification of its publication or a random viewer who comes from a search engine or to whom YouTube suggested the video in a list of similar ones.

However, these counter indicators are not updated instantly, but at intervals of several minutes. This only applies to views. The likes and subscriptions are updated at the moment the corresponding button is pressed.

Keep in mind that if the video has been played for less than one minute, the subscription and the likes may be counted as fake and will be annulled at the next check. It’s useful to know this when you’re collaborating with channels, i.e. mutually reviewing them, subscribing to them, and setting the “Like” mark.

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This indicator affects the video’s ranking among similar content – the more viewers who have already viewed it, the higher the chance that other users will be offered your video rather than competitors’. The chances increase when the video falls into the “trending” category. However, it’s not enough to get a couple hundred thousand plays within a short period of time: user activity is also accounted for – the ratio of likes to dislikes, comments from some users, and participation in discussions with others are all counted. A guaranteed way not to let your competitor into the trends is to order the accrual of dislikes for a particular video.

Also, a large number of plays is an important condition for the good ranking of the video in search results by Google or Yandex. A greater “weight” in the eyes of search robots have videos that have already been viewed by a certain number of users.

What views YouTube counts as a number on the counter

It is a misconception that all plays of videos on YouTube are counted by the system. In fact, according to the service’s algorithms, only a small part can actually be counted. To prevent unscrupulous users from cheating and getting undeserved money for it, YouTube checks all the counters quite strictly.

Service has several degrees of verification of the view before approving it. A total of 4 main factors can be identified. If all of them were met, in which case the playback is counted. Let’s look at each of them separately to better understand the methods of working with the platform.

Factor 1: Video Playback Method


There are two ways in which the video is triggered: the user clicks on the video himself or the viewing starts as a result of automatic download during auto playback. Only when the YouTube visitor decides to watch the video themselves does it count.

Factor 2: Viewing Duration

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In addition to having to click on the video yourself, viewing time is also important. The algorithm calculates a percentage of the total duration, but on average only after 5-6 seconds will it count. This method allows you to not count random clicks as views.

Factor 3: Optimization for devices

The platform pays attention to the comfort of its users, so a very important factor is the convenience of viewing the clip on different devices. Although videos are partially optimized during uploading to YouTube, many channel creators crop the picture to avoid blocking. Views will only be counted if the video is comfortable to watch on at least 50 percent of gadgets.

Factor 4: Video visibility

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This factor is one of the least talked about, but it greatly affects the calculation of views. YouTube’s algorithm was recently changed so that it checks if the browser window has been opened on the video for counting. What does this mean? The user must have the video open, not the comments below it or other tabs, to get it counted.

If all the above conditions are met, the platform adds viewing.

Previously, the algorithm worked a little differently: the system “+301 views” worked. That is, automatically under any video after uploading you could see 301 views, and only after some time after reaching the real indicators of this mark, the algorithm weeded out invalid plays and showed the real data. It has been 3 years since this algorithm was disabled. Now, as we said before, during the first hours there may be one reading, and then it will sharply decrease. This happens because of the honesty checks of the views.

During the first few hours, the video viewing rate is not always accurate. Views may not be counted for some time, and then immediately increase to a large number. This problem is especially common for owners of new channels, where the system performs checks every time in order to detect fakes on the video. The most accurate number of viewers of your content can be seen only after 10-12 hours.

Why some views on YouTube are not counted by the counter

In the first part of the article, we reviewed which views are considered by YouTube to be honest and are added to the overall indicator (accordingly, the author gets money for them if content is monetized). Now let’s move on to the situation when the playback simply does not count.

Factor 1: Views from one device

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The hosting algorithm works by an IP validation mechanism to calculate views. That is, if you watch the video from the same device and through the same network by constantly refreshing the page, the viewing will not be counted. At the moment when you open the tab, the figure may increase, but then the data will be checked and updated. Thus, from each IP and device only one playback is counted.

Factor 2: Accidental inclusion

Above, we already talked about the fact that viewing is only counted when the user clicks on the video on their own. If you turn on a playlist and watch all the videos in a row, the score will only increase on the first video.

The platform also fights accidental views of videos that were improperly embedded on third-party sites, in pop-ups, etc. Non-YouTube playback only counts when the player is embedded correctly and the video matches the description and expectation of viewers. The exception is social networks: integration on Facebook, VKontakte or Odnoklassniki works according to other algorithms. When a video is turned on in social networks, views on YouTube itself are not counted.

Factor 3: Mute

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When more than half the time of the entire duration of the video has been muted, YouTube will not count this as viewing. This method allows you to calculate how many genuinely interested users are hosting the content in question.

It is necessary to understand that when using YouTube in bad faith and constant violations of the company’s rules, the author not only deprives himself of the opportunity to earn money, but also worsens the state of his channel. Such videos will not get into the recommended ones, and may not be displayed in the subscribers’ feed.

It would not be a violation of the rules to embed a link to the video in the social media feed: OK, VK, Facebook. But the counter on the hosting will not count these views. To connect it to social networks, you need to make changes in your personal cabinet:

  • go to “Distribution Settings”;
  • in the item “Allow embedding video” to remove the check mark, from this point, the link to the video will lead to the author’s channel and will be counted.

In addition, you can use the service for shortening links. The shortened link posted will lead to the blogger’s channel.

For all authors of channels the conditions are the same, to increase popularity you need to create interesting videos to watch with sound accompaniment. It is possible to post a link to your creation on popular social networks, it will not be a violation of the rules. To account for the transition to the address, you need to prohibit the distribution of the video, so that the viewer of the content will automatically go “to visit” the blogger. Do not try to cheat the algorithm, for such actions there are sanctions, up to complete blocking of the channel