Videos have revolutionized the way consumers and brands interact. This format is entertaining and easy to understand, so businesses are regularly sharing videos in an attempt to appeal to their audience and leave positive impressions. However, not all of them understand whether they’re doing it the right way, and that’s because they don’t know what counts as a view.
I understand that, because to avoid bots and fake views that don’t reflect the public’s real interests, each social media platform has established its own specific criteria regarding when or how visualizations are counted. To make things a bit easier for you, I’ve put together this article in which I’ll help you understand how YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram views work. Ready to start making the most out of your data?
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We all love it when one of our videos goes viral and starts gaining a lot of views. But have you ever wondered why these are so important to your channel’s growth? Well, the platform’s algorithm recommends popular videos to other users, so a high number of visualizations can help your content reach a wider audience.
Additionally, they have an impact on YouTube SEO, helping your pieces rank better on SERPs. So, as you can see, they are pretty important on YouTube. Now, let’s go over everything you need to know about what counts as a view!
Each time a user plays a YouTube video and watches it for at least 30 seconds, a view is added to the count. You may think that 30 seconds isn’t that long, but don’t relax just yet.
Video marketing statistics show that 20% of your viewers will abandon a video within the first 10 seconds. This means that when you hit the 30-second mark, 33% of your audience will already be gone. So, if you don’t see your visualizations growing, maybe you need to come up with a stronger hook.
The easy answer is yes. Rewatching a YouTube video counts as a view. However, refreshing your page over and over again to accumulate them will be detected by YouTube, and it can result in ugly penalizations. That’s because they consider that you’re trying to artificially inflate the video’s popularity.
These actions are punishable according to today’s YouTube guidelines, and they’ll delete all the views that they don’t consider organic—and sometimes, they even end up deleting some that were genuine interactions from your community just to be safe.
I have some good news for you! If you play your own video, that will be counted as a view. You can also rewatch them, and that will add to the count. Just keep in mind what I said in the previous question, and be careful!
If you embed a YouTube video on your website, whenever someone watches at least 30 seconds of it, a view will be added to the count. The same happens if it’s hosted or shared on other social media platforms, like Facebook.
However, there are certain limitations to this rule. Some channels have complained that they weren’t getting views because the video was embedded without using the original “sharing” code provided by the platform. Additionally, the platform filters visualizations from low-quality users, such as machines or proxies, because when it comes to bot views, YouTube is ruthless.
Since YouTube has specific guidelines for what counts as a view and what doesn’t, it takes the plarform some time to make sure yours comes from real humans and not machines. In fact, the view count can take up to two days to be updated.
But you can still see real-time—although not that accurate—analytics on YouTube Studio. In your analytics section, choose a video and go to the ‘Real Time’ section. There, click on ‘See More’.
Besides helping you play the algorithm to your favor, visualizations on Facebook allow you to understand whether users enjoy your videos enough to stay and pay attention to them. In my opinion, it’s a valuable metric to compare to others. For example, if you have a big reach but few views, maybe your videos aren’t catching your customers’ attention.
To avoid that, you need to understand the ‘Fb video view count’. Let’s go over the specific criteria you need to be aware of!
On Facebook, users have to watch for at least 3 seconds for it to add to the count. On the other side, for Reels, the rules are a bit different. The moment your video starts to play after an impression is made, a view is counted—that’s after just 1 millisecond!
It’s not true that rewatching a Facebook video counts as a view. On the other hand, replays on Reels are counted.
Considering that reels start replaying automatically—and that the second it starts playing, a view is added to the count—you can probably understand now why vertical videos tend to have more visualizations and, consequentially, more exposure.
What counts as a view in these cases depends on some specific factors. If the user is watching the video from their desktop, then the piece has to be fully on-screen before it starts playing to add a view.
On mobile, if at least 50% of the video appears on screen, the visualization will count. This is because many of us scroll down when watching a video to read the description text below or check the comments.
The bot problem on Facebook has gotten so big that, in 2022, 5,800 billion fake accounts were removed—half of the world’s population! So now, their system uses an algorithm to spot and reject any duplicate views and screen out fraudulent impressions.
To do so, the algorithm checks users’ IP address, browser type, cookies, and account behavior. Then, they compare all of this to how a human usually acts on the platform, and filters bot views.
To accurately determine the number of views a video receives, Facebook takes into account various factors. These include the time duration of the video, the sound it contains, whether it was viewed on autoplay, and if it was played manually.
For example, think of a video with bad audio quality. Users will likely spend more than 3 seconds watching it because they’ll want to figure out what is being said.
Instagram has grown into a great platform for businesses and content creators to connect with a worldwide audience with their creative, visually attractive videos. Although their parameters are very similar to Facebook, there are some unique things you need to know about Instagram views.
As you probably already know, Instagram is owned by Facebook (Meta), so it also counts visualizations after 3 seconds. For unknown reasons, though, view counts will only show up on videos that were uploaded after November 19, 2015. #JustMetathings.
On the other side, other types of videos have different regulations. If the video is a story or a live, for example, views are counted upon opening.
Insta views are counted each time a video is played, so multiple views from a single user are possible. The platform has taken precautions, though, to stop users from faking view counts by watching the same piece more than once.
If you view a video multiple times in a row, only the first one will count, but you can make each one count if you give it some time in between plays. However, to improve a video’s performance, things like commenting, liking, and sharing it will give you much better, organic results.
This may sound like a silly question, but I sincerely had that doubt, too. The answer is no; having your content shared on someone’s stories can increase your reach by showing the algorithm that it’s worth it. But watching a reel within an Instagram Story does not count as a view.
What you can do to increase views is placing a juicy hook within the first seconds that urges viewers to click on it, and finish watching on your profile. It can be an open-ended question or the promise of more depth in the description.
Instagram excludes self-views to ensure transparency.
This comes from the fact that many creators monetize their successful digital content on the platform, so it has specific measures to verify what counts as a view, whether it’s coming from a fan who genuinely likes what you do or from a bot.
Just like Facebook, they achieve this by using machine learning. Their algorithms examine the behavior of various accounts, their activity patterns, and each post to find similarities among fake profiles—like following and unfollowing many accounts quickly.
Do your videos lack a visualization count? There are several reasons why this can happen. First, according to Instagram, it may take some time before a view shows up. If they’re still not showing up, it may be because your video is part of a post with multiple photos, and in those cases, view counts aren’t registered.
Moreover, Instagram only measures views from the app—if someone views IG videos from other places like an embedded post or a browser, it won’t count. Last but not least, if your account is set to private, you may not see the count until your video has reached a certain number of views.
This widely-known platform has been praised by marketers and small businesses due to its potential to make any attractive video content go viral. The reason behind this lies in the way TikTok measures views. To make the most out of your presence on this platform, understanding that is crucial.
On TikTok, view counts are super simple: the very second your video starts to play visualizations are added. It doesn’t matter how long people continue watching after that or whether their screen is displaying it fully.
Considering that videos play automatically on this app, you can see why so many people say TikTok can give you a lot of exposure. This platform may offer one of the highest view rates among all social media, but their requirements for what counts as a view are also lower.
For TikTok, replaying a video or having a viewer return to watch it more than once are both considered new visualizations; it doesn’t matter if those are views from the same IP address. You could leave a video on a loop in the background while you do something else, and views would just rack up. As you can probably guess, TikTok has few—if barely any—countermeasures against fake accounts.
In fact, some analyses suggest that up to 97% of TikTok’s traffic could be detected as an automated bot. These shocking figures warn businesses and advertising companies to be wary of their numbers in this app to avoid losing lots of money and wasting their ad spend on a digital content strategy that won’t reach their target audience.
Upon reaching 1000 views, TikTok begins to feature its creators. The platform offers a payment of $0.02 to $0.04 for every 1,000 views for accounts associated with their Creator Fund. That’s from $20 to $40 for a million visualizations.
However, to be accepted into TikTok’s Creator Fund, you need to have at least 100,000 views in the last 30 days.
Now that you know what counts as a view on TikTok, you may be wondering whether the platform is even a good place to promote your brand. Well, not everything is as black and white as it might seem. To measure the effectiveness of an ad video campaign, TikTok offers a metric called “View Rate.”
This metric shows whether viewers are skipping or ignoring your TikTok ads, and it’s calculated by dividing the total number of video ad views by the total number of ad impressions. That way, you can understand the effectiveness of a campaign without worrying about hyper-swiper users, accidental views, or bots.
The best way to understand your TikTok results is to compare them with other platforms. For example, imagine you have 1,000 views on Instagram and 3,000 views on TikTok. Taking into consideration that Instagram views are at least 3 seconds, the differences in each video’s exposure aren’t that big.
Moreover, try to make your viewers engage and drive them to other websites. That way, you’ll know whether your audience is real or if it’s solely made by bots. As a rule when working with social media, don’t get enchanted by big numbers. When looking for the reason why one platform is better than the other, you may realize not everything that shines is gold.
Views are a valuable metric to keep in mind that can help you increase your reach, gain visibility, and appeal to new customers, but they aren’t the only information worth tracking. Other metrics, like the engagement your content gets via comments and likes, will also influence your videos’ rankings.
The core lesson lies in seeing the bigger picture and paying attention to all metrics to measure content effectiveness. By understanding how and why followers liked something you’ve shared, you’ll be able to keep on improving, share things that delight your customers, and boost your channel’s growth.
A skilled writer, translator, and co-editor for our web and blog content. As a self-defined "wordsmith," she’s talented in adapting the latest marketing news into all kinds of digital formats. If she’s not watching the latest Sci-Fi show on Netflix, then can find her tending to her
perfectly reasonable number of plants.
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