Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter: The Lowdown on How Social Media Platforms Count Views

Entire industries have been set up around creating video based content, sharing that content to a wide variety of platforms and subsequently trying to ensure that the views you get are maximized in every single way. However, one thing that people need to understand about views is that they are counted differently based on what platform you are operating on.

A view on YouTube is not the same as a view on Facebook, and with IGTV coming into the mix along with companies like LinkedIn and Reddit starting to experiment with video based content, the manner in which views are counted is starting to change faster than ever before.

One of the ways in which views are counted is by seeing how long a particular user continues to watch a video. Some platforms count a view within the first second of a user watching a video, whereas other platforms wait up to three seconds before a view ends up being counted.

As you can probably already tell, this can end up having quite a significant impact on the kind of views that you end up getting, since a lot of view counts rely on second long views in order to boost numbers. Also, the numbers will be more valid when they come from a certain platform because said platform might not be using such number boosting tricks.

One impact that such methods of counting views has had is that it has made companies that are posting, sharing and creating this video based content look towards other kinds of metrics in order to gauge the success of a particular video all in all.

Instead of just looking at view counts, they are starting to pay attention to things like the amount of time a particular user spent watching a video. Engagement metrics such as shares and likes also come into play here. What this means is that if a particular influencer gets a hundred thousand views but short watch times and little engagement, they are going to be far less preferable than someone that gets a quarter of those views but longer watch times and more shares and likes.

That being said, while marketing agencies and brands are starting to realize the importance of other metrics, this does not mean that views are by this point completely useless. Indeed, whenever an agency or brand is looking into a particular influencer in order to figure out whether or not they would actually like to work with them, they often use average views or total views as one of the deciding factors.


Hence, influencers that have gained a lot of views still have an advantage over those influencers that do not have as many views, as it will be more likely that an agency will take them on and hire them for a particular purpose even if later on engagement metrics are going to be used in order to ascertain the success of a particular campaign.



Some influencers charge their fees based on views, which is another reason why views still matter in the world of digital marketing and influencer based advertising. If a brand sponsors a video made by an influencer, they may be charged a flat fee but in some cases a bonus may be offered if the video receives more than a set number of views.

Hence, view counts, watch times and engagement metrics are all a part of the overall industry that has formed around video based content on the internet.

How different social networks count video views

Facebook and Instagram (including IGTV) count a view once a video has played in feed for at least 3 seconds. While for Story videos both networks consider a view valid once the Story video starts playing.

YouTube, sadly, doesn’t disclose the exact information on how it counts organic views because the video host platform doesn't want bad actors to manipulate its engagement metrics.

On the other hand, Twitter and Pinterest boasts a bit more transparent criteria, the micro-blogging platform count a view once a video has played for minimum 2 seconds while 50 percent of its content is in view.

Reddit and Snapchat consider a view valid once a video starts playing. While, LinkedIn just like Facebook consider a 3 second of content consumption as a view.

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