What qualifies as ‘a view’ on video posts?

What’s in a video view, and how long does it take to earn one? The answer is more complicated than you might expect.

by James Shotwell of Haulix

Everywhere you look online, video content is king. Blame the influence of TikTok on culture, but each social platform is now promoting a video feature that—for the time being—offers more views and higher engagement than traditional content. 

But what is a view?

Unfortunately for artists and music marketers, A “view” isn’t a standardized unit of measurement. Each platform has a unique set of rules that define how views are counted, and knowing the differences can help you measure the success of your campaigns. For example, a video receiving 100 views on Youtube could hold as much—if not more—value than a video receiving thousands of views elsewhere. The opposite can also be true. 

Why does the math behind view counts matter?

Knowing how views are measured provides a greater understanding of how your content is performing on various platforms. If plays are counted instantaneously, like with TikTok or Instagram Reels, you’re likely to have incredibly high view counts regardless of how much engagement (Likes, Comments) you receive. Anyone who even glimpses at your post will be counted as a “viewer,” but how much did they see? Did they even see your name? What, if anything, will they retain?

Receiving 50,000 views on a clip is a cool talking point that sounds good in conversation and looks good buried three paragraphs into a press release, but how many viewers are engaging with that content? Of them, how many followed you? 

Understanding the value of a view helps us better gauge the success of our promotional activity. The more we create and share, the better our understanding of what people like and what moves them to take action. 

So, what counts as a view?

On TikTok, a view is essentially an impression—meaning, the very millisecond your video starts to play, it’s counted as a view. In addition, the platform also measures repeated views. 

Instagram Reels follow the same logic as TikTok. A view is counted the instant a video is viewed. The amount of time watched beyond that initial split-second interaction does not matter. 

Over on Facebook, a view is counted after a video autoplays for 3 seconds consecutively. Unlike TikTok and Reels, replays are not counted, so the same viewer watching a video repeatedly will not increase your view count.

Twitter, meanwhile, claims the ‘total video view’ metric is calculated by the sum of “any views which are at least 50 percent in-view for 2 seconds.” That means that to count as a view, at least half of the video has to be visible and playing on a user’s screen for at least two seconds.

Professional networking site LinkedIn counts video views after 3 seconds as well. According to a post from John Espirian, that short wait time “means a quick thumb-scroll past a video isn’t going to count, but if you pause and give the content even brief attention, that will count.

The grandaddy of them all, YouTube, counts a view after 30-seconds of continuous viewing and only when the viewer elects to play the video. Autoplay does not count toward views. YouTube also manually reviews all videos after passing 301 views to ensure the authenticity of viewership.

We will update these numbers are new information becomes available. Follow Haulix on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

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