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I have the following scenario: I have uploaded a video to YouTube and I am logged in, but each time I refresh the page or "view" the video, the count does not change.

  • How does the video count work?
  • If I load it once, play it 2-3 times, will it still count as 1?
  • Does it count my own viewings?
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migrated from superuser.com Jul 6 '11 at 20:18

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

    
This has been very helpful as I had many of the sane questions. One thing I'm atill wondering is If you view your own video in the edit mode, does it count as a view? From My experience at first it doesn't seem so. But my history shows these views on my iPhone app. So just wondered. –  user47571 Sep 12 '13 at 18:44

4 Answers 4

This is just speculation, but I would expect that they'll be counting all page views from the same IP address with a certain period of time as one view, obviously it's not as simple as this as a lot of people share IP addresses, there will probably be cookies involved as well. This will stop people artificially inflating their view counts by repeatedly refreshing the page from a single computer.

I don't know how long the time period would be - it may in fact be effectively forever so if you went back and viewed the page again in a year's time it still wouldn't count it as an extra view.

It's important that Google get this number to reflect (as far as possible) the actual number of people who've actually seen the page as they are selling advertising based on the page views. The more page views the higher rates they can charge. Anyone running a site that has advertising has the same problem to solve and a lot of time and effort goes into getting these numbers as accurate as possible.

They won't publicise the exact algorithms they use as this will allow people to game the system and artificially inflate the viewing figures.

I would also suspect that, like on Stack Exchange, the viewing figure as displayed is cached. So when you view the page for the first time even though it registered the new view the figure on the page won't update for a few minutes (or even hours).

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I highly doubt they are counting purely based on the IP address, too many people use NAT these days. Though I might accept tracking the IP combined with a cookie. –  Zoredache Jul 7 '11 at 16:54
    
@Zoredache - true - I'll update the answer. –  ChrisF Jul 7 '11 at 17:49

In my humble opinion, I think this isn't public information, since it’s a metric that helps Google sell advertising on the respective video and page and making the rules public would make it prone to abuse.
However, here is an article that might help you a bit: http://techcrunch.com/2008/07/18/does-google-know-how-to-count-some-youtube-views-dont-seem-to-register/

Hi there,

Thanks for your email. I would like you to know, if a user views the video on the external website itself, it is not added to the view count of the video on YouTube. However, if a user is directed to the YouTube site on clicking the embedded video on the external website, it would register as an additional count to the video views.

Additionally, changes to video and account information on our site such as video view count can take a few hours to update and synchronize. We’re constantly working to make that happen a lot faster and appreciate your patience.

Regards,

Shweta
The YouTube Team

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While YouTube is generally tightlipped about its security measures – they will only say a view is counted whenever someone watches a video on YouTube and claim they “do not get more specific than this to avoid attempts at artificially inflating view counts” – the company is not shy about discussing the technology in more obscure terms.

YouTube has sophisticated technology to count views consistently. If this technology detects that there has been an attempt to inflate a video’s view count artificially, that video’s view count will be frozen, according to YouTube guidelines. During this time the video is still available and the all-important view count will continue, only it will not appear until the video and the issue has been adjudicated.

YouTube explains why they have employed these measures:

We’ve implemented this type of technology and view count analysis in order to prevent abuse of the system. Video views are at the heart of the YouTube community and we want to ensure that we’re counting only valid views (and not artificial attempts to game the system). Ultimately, consistent view counts benefit everyone in the community, from the viewers to the uploaders.

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Good information, but can you link to a source? –  Al E. Jul 29 '13 at 12:38

Numberphile - "Why do YouTube views freeze at 301?" contains a load of information related to your question, much more than I could easily summarize here.

It includes a very insightful interview with one of Google's product managers for YouTube Analytics.

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Well in my case it is stuck at a much much lower count. Only 1 person was viewing the (private) video so I wanted to know when and how much. The video is cool though. –  Herr K Sep 6 '13 at 5:19
    
The video describes how views are counted both above and below the 301 "freeze" point where verification becomes more strict. –  Dan Sep 12 '13 at 19:44

protected by Community Sep 12 '13 at 19:14

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