YouTube counting views - what you should know

How exactly does YouTube count views? It is quite tricky...

This is what official YouTube guides writes:

YouTube engagement metrics (views, likes, dislikes, and subscriptions) reflect how many times a video or channel has been interacted with. These metrics can be an important measure of your video or channel’s overall popularity.
We want to make sure that your metrics are high quality and come from actual humans and not computer programs. It takes our systems some time to figure out which views, likes, dislikes, and subscriptions are legitimate.
Note: It may take time for your metrics to appear in our system during the first few hours your video is published.

Of course, from the YouTube side, it is super important to track only real, not fake views.

If you check YouTube views in different YouTube platforms - e.g., YouTube Studio, YouTube real-time analytics - the number can be different.

How YouTube counts views?

Probably, only YouTube engineers can tell you the answer. There are different approaches.

Some articles say that a YouTube view is only counted when:

  1. A user intentionally initiates the watching of a video.
  2. The user watches it on the platform for at least 30 seconds.

If you skip through a video but the total time you spend watching is more than 30 seconds, the view will count too. If you watch for less than 30 seconds, it probably won’t.

Also, if you watch same video more than 5 times per day - these views will stop counting.

YouTube won't count views

  • YouTube won’t count a watch from a user who leaves spam comments on videos.
  • YouTube will not count the views of videos that are embedded in a page and autostart.
  • If there are patterns of a bot behaviour.

Even for YouTube it is quite hard to completely distinguish human and bot views. Therefore, in Analytics you will see "Estimated views". Your real views number will be available only when AdSense sends a payment, adjusted to the non-fake views.

To see my YouTube views, I use Analytics in YouTube studio app.

Note that views on the live website can be different from internal views.

Internal counter usually shows the real number, while number of views on can be a bit delayed. This is especially true for videos with a lot of views.

Do playlist views count on YouTube?

So if a video is watched inside of a playlist it is still a normal view on YouTube.

If someone specifically watched your playlist - that will count as a playlist view.

Playlist views are separate metric and don't count as normal YouTube views.

How many views do you need for a YouTube Partner Program?

You need 4000 watched hours during last 12 months.

So, it depends what is your average view duration is. A good ratio can be around 3 minutes of watched content for 1 view.

How YouTube shorts views are counted?

You see views from YouTube shorts in the same Analytics tab as regular views. Just you will see that source is different.

Also, views from YouTube shorts don't count towards YPP eligibility.

Can you filter YouTube views?

Is there a way to not count specific views? For example, you don't want YouTube to count views from yourself or from a specific IP. I don't think it is possible at the moment. You can do this setup in Google Analytics, but not YouTube.

Other social media

Here is an overview of what is considered a view on other social networks.

  • Facebook: 3 seconds or more
  • Instagram / IGTV: 3 seconds or more
  • LinkedIn: 2 seconds or more
  • YouTube: 30 seconds or more
  • Tiktok: 0.1 seconds i.e. each time a video starts
  • Twitter: 2 seconds

As you can see, YouTube has one of the strictest policies regarding views.


SocialBlade is one of the best tools to count YouTube views - both for your channel or other channels. It gives a pretty accurate estimate of views and revenue for all YouTube channels.

How important are YouTube views?

But, does it really matter how many views you get? Of course, it is absolutely amazing to have millions of views.

For example, to get your video boosted in YouTube algorithm, YouTube watch time matters more.

It is all about high-quality, highly-engaged, legitimate views with a long watch time. You should optimize your content for that.