Why are my YouTube views stuck at 301?

Earlier this week the new Microsoft Surface ad was released on YouTube.  Almost immediately, due to the unbelievable techno-geekery in the office, the video landed into the teams’ inboxes.  After unanimously agreeing that it resembled a High School Musical number or a particularly flamboyant scene from Glee, it was highlighted that despite the fact it only had 301 views at the time, it had somehow received over 5000 likes.

But how can that be possible?

The first assumption was that there was an issue with YouTube and some kind of glitch had skewed the views and likes. Surprisingly this isn’t the case. There is no glitch; this is in fact intentional element within YouTube’s system.

It’s not new, but nor is it a well known fact either…

Once a video reaches 301 views, YouTube then screens the video with a process verifying that each of the views the video has received are authentic and not from the same IP address. This process lasts approximately 24 hours before the view count begins to increase again.

But why?

This screening process was initially implemented as a result of some users attempting to manipulate the viewing figures. Tactics included using spam bots and malware to name a few, but all with the objective of artificially increasing viewing figures.

The number of views is a factor in YouTube’s algorithm for ranking video content in search. If videos can generate a large number of views in a short period of time, YouTube will recognise the video’s popularity and consequently (whilst also taking into account a number of other factors) begin to display the video more prominently within search. Hence why so many people try to manipulate this metric.

So next time you see your video at 301 views it’s not your video faltering, but simply YouTube ensuring that you’re playing fair.