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How YouTube Count Views of Videos Online – What to Know

Written by
SoNuker Writing Team

Man watching a youtube video

PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” Pinkfong’s “Baby Shark Dance,” and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk”— aside from being immensely-catchy and reminiscent of Christmas party dance numbers, these songs also hold the prestige of having billions of views on YouTube. 

A billion views may seem nothing short of impossible. Even the trending video on your YouTube feed right now may have at least a few million within only a few days of posting. Even so, taking a closer look at any trending or highly viewed video suggests that any type of content can earn millions of views.

Given that possibility, you might be wondering: How does YouTube count views in the first place? 

With billions of viewers watching videos on YouTube at any given point in time, it can be quite mind-boggling to think about the information overload that the platform has to deal with every millisecond. What constitutes a single count, and how all this information is accurately reflected? 

What counts as a view on YouTube?

Looking at the technical sense of the term, views are defined as “a viewer-initiated intended play of a YouTube video that’s been despammed,” according to the platform’s official definition of the term. What this means is that views take place when a video that doesn’t have any viruses in it is selected and watched by a computer, which constitutes one play or view. 

During the uploading process, YouTube’s own systems run a despamming process wherein a video is scanned for any security threats and potential malware or viruses. The screening process also aims to remove any threats from the uploaded file, ensuring its quality, safety, and security for general public consumption. Once a video is found to be free of any malware or viruses, it is then uploaded and made available for viewing. 

If someone who views my video refreshes their browser window, does that count as a view?

Not quite. While refreshing used to add numbers to a video’s view counter in previous years, YouTube has become much more strict due to the platform’s monetization program. Refreshing a video as a means to get more views is what YouTube calls an “artificial view,” so it has been discounted in the tallying process. 

How are artificial views spotted?

YouTube’s algorithm classifies between natural and artificial views by identifying key details, such as reloaded videos, website autoplay status, and the presence of malware and viruses.

If a view falls under any of the aforementioned classifications, then YouTube determines it as artificial and doesn’t add it to your video’s total view count.

Knowing what constitutes a YouTube view and what doesn’t is a valuable piece of knowledge that you can use to ensure the effectivity of your digital marketing efforts via the platform. As YouTube discounts the artificial views, you can be assured that the view count you get is valid.

If you need to increase the views for your video content, get in touch with us today and see how we can help you!