How Youtube Works

Much like any other medium such as, television, film, music, etc. Youtube relies heavily on measuring the sizes of its audiences to determine the popularity and activity of a piece of media. On the other hand, Youtube doesn’t have box office or album sales to look at and as an internet based medium, it’s prone to hacking and spamming. In order to associate this, Youtube has a fine tuned approach to counting the ‘views’ of a video and deciding how to allocate monetised advertisements.

The Counting of Views

Colloquially the popularity of a video on is often determined by it’s views (usually in context of a time frame). But what exactly does Youtube count as a view? As far as I can determine, it’s any playback of a video from (That is not embedded with an autoplay function). This means that a video can be watched a hundred times from the same source and be counted as a hundred views. At roughly three hundred views within a short period of time, Youtubes algorithm will freeze the view counter till it can ensure that there isn’t any foul play at work, the importance of this will become evident later in this post.

See this video for further information on how views are counted by Youtube.

As explained in this video, view counts from around this world are accumulated and are used to determine certain values of a video, this is why fraudulent views are a hazard.

The Issue

People who make Youtube videos for a living are known as Youtubers. These Youtubers make their money through a technical system involving CPM (cost per thousand) and minutes watched per video.

Cost per thousand is the amount a youtuber is paid per thousand views of a video (not including Youtube and any third party cuts), the average being roughly $7.60. This means if a Youtuber has a CPM of $5 and uploads a video with two thousand views, that video will generate $10 for the relevant parties involved. The problem with this system is that the amount of CPM a Youtuber is allocated depends on their videos’ minutes watched. Youtube being such a diverse community of content creators means that not all video are created equally, by this I mean that someone who uploads regular ten minute long videos daily, will inherently get more minutes watched than someone who uploads a two minute video weekly regardless of quality and effort put into the content.

As made clear by the Youtuber in this video, independent content creators who are incapable of producing large amounts of quality content in their field are left behind by this system.

Putting The You In Youtube

Aside from campaigning for Youtube to adjust their system for this flaw, how else can we support our favourite Youtubers?
The minutes watched from a video can carry over from one video to another via a link, so, in order to maximise minutes watched, we can follow links to other videos within the original and share videos we like to encourage more views.
Apps that block ads prevent youtubers from counting your view as monetised so for the sake of supporting the creators of content you are viewing for free, don’t use adblock on Youtube.

I would love to hear of any ideas on how this system can be improved or even general feedback on my posts via twitter @RalphiePeerless or by leaving a comment on this post.


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