So I know we said we would be making pages about stages, etc..
This is the bane of all of our existence:
The ever perpetual revolving door of “OMG Do This To Increase Views”.
The Simple Answer:
For people who just want the quick answer to How To YouTube… here you go:
If you watch the MV normally then it will count.
There is no elaborate way to watch YouTube. Only elaborate ways to cheat. Once those methods are discovered, YouTube adjusts the algorithm to stop the cheating from happening and removes illegal views. Rewatching, pausing, volume, quality…. none of that matters. Gangnam Style didn’t become a hit because everyone watching cared about HD quality or volume levels.
For those who want the more in depth, complicated answer (or just want all the linkage and rules to prove it)… read on.
The Long Answer (AKA: all the rules, links, & stats to prove what works & what doesn’t)
As an international fan; one of the best methods to have our voice heard and to show our love for our favorites is by raising YouTube views.
Well… other than buying every release of their albums ever and forcing our non-kpop friends to accept them as birthday gifts and stocking stuffers each Christmas.
But none of us would ever do that. [Kell’s interjection: What, never? No, never! What, never? Well…hardly ever!]
All of us want our favorites to be the best.
So with every comeback, well intentioned; but misdirected, fans will inevitably spam social media with erroneous hacks that are “guaranteed” to make your view count. And tons of new KPoppers fall for the gimmicks each time.
The sad reality is these “must dos” actually do the opposite: they stop your views from being counted at all.
Let’s just say: if you can find the “cheat”, so can YouTube. Because, you know… they’re owned by Google. (And we’re fairly certain they know how to use a search engine.) [Googling is totally a word. Urban Dictionary says so.]
If you’ve been guilty of any of the following- don’t beat yourself up. Most of us have whoopsied [Seoul’s interjection: I’m totally pretending that’s also a word. It’s fun to say.] with at least one of these at some point in our My Idols Must Rise KPopping career.
Instead, put on your big person pants, buckle up, and let’s break down all these myths one by one. [Kinda wanted to insert a Santa Claus pic here but thought that might be misleading.] [Easter bunny? Vampires? Ooooh… how about one pic with all of the above. *runs to look for pics*]
For the Love of Soju!!! There really is such a thing.
And you thought KDrama mothers were scary…
[Oh dear lord, what have you done?! Oh, the humanity! I’m sorry. I’m going to step inside, where I cannot see it.
Myth 1: Incognito
This myth has made rounds more times than I care to count. [AKA the herpes of kfans]
Rule of thumb: If you want your view to count on anything (YouTube, web pages hits, research, etc.), don’t use incognito or any other stealth program. Ever.
Incognito and other cookie disabler/privacy modes mask you similar to a web crawler or “spider”. The page will know that you are there because your IP address will show, but it will ignore you and assume you’re a bot. Bots don’t get counted. [Calling the Equal Rights for Anthropomorphic Automatons Commission right now.]
So if you use any type of cookie blocker program (Cookie Monster, Better Privacy, Ghostery, etc.) – turn it off when you want your view to be seen. [Also really wanted to put a Cookie Monster pic here. Look at my restraint. Thank me later. Dooooo it! No? Well then, I will…]
[Who’s the REAL monster here?]
Myth 2: Multiple Tabs or Windows
This is another myth that makes rounds with every comeback. To put it simply- multiple tabs or windows (which is nothing more than a segregated tab) used from the same browser on the same device do not work.
A good example to see how this works is by using a cookie cleaning program that tallies the cookies in a counter you can see (we’ll use Click&Clean as our example). If you open two windows from the same browser, and you do absolutely nothing in one while randomly frolicking through the internet in the other- you will see the cookie count rise on both windows at the same time. [“randomly frolicking through the internet”?! The immense restraint I am exercising here. OMG you’re killing me slowly.]
[*Distracts the readers with shinee things while whispering to Kell* Retaliation?! Does this mean we are about to have a pic war?? *bounces giddily* Oh- this is kind of our introduction to the world. Well… more like their introduction to us. We probably should wait until we’ve convinced them we’re somewhat
professional… erm… normal… we know how to behave ourselves before we go full on “us”. But paybacksies! Later. Promise.]
So… back to our regularly scheduled program:
There is a plus side. Multiple browsers do not affect each other. So lets say you wanted to watch your new favorite MV while getting some work done (or just browsing the nets looking at
wet haired idols cats). [Wet haired idols WITH cats. OK. I’ve actually died. Thanks.] You can have the MV running in one browser and work in the other and the view count won’t be affected.
For those who may be wondering: different browsers = firefox, chrome, opera, safari, iron…
To keep things all nice and legal, we probably shouldn’t tell you
that if you watch a video in different browsers it also doesn’t flag the view count. But since we never told you that, you didn’t hear it from us. [My two cents is that it is way easier to install Opera, Firefox, Comodo, and Kmeleon for the exclusive purpose of streaming MVs, voting for awards, increasing search term popularity, etc. I don’t log into them and I can just clear my browsing history from the beginning of time if I need to without affecting my primary browser. Shhhh! Liability! Paperwork! Lawyery stuff! Don’t just say that without a disclaimer. Did you not read what we just wrote above??! Right. Disclaimer: That way Chrome and YouTube don’t think that the only thing I’m interested in is KPop and will stop serving me ads in Korean. What? It can’t just be me. Nope. Not just you. But I kinda like the ads in Korean.]
Myth 3: The Views are Stuck
If YouTube gave awards for most repeated comment- this one would win. [Pfft. I think “First!” would give it a good run for its money.]
If you’re new to kpopping and are preparing for your first comeback (or you’ve been here for a while and just never noticed): the views staying the same for a length of time and uploading to the count in spurts is normal.
Not only is it normal… it’s a good thing.
A YT video is automatically frozen when it has a large number of viewers at the same time.
If a channel only has a few views, then the algorithm for checking and counting the view runs quickly, and it appears as if it’s working instantly.
The YT algorithms are looking and counting several things.
- They run what they call Watch Time. This basically counts how long someone watched the video, what activities were they doing (like were they spending all their time in the comment section instead of focusing on the video, etc..) If you’ve ever noticed the comments linger a bit before loading, this is the Watch Time metric cataloging where your attention is focused while watching the video. This is also why you should use another browser if you are planning to surf or work while watching an MV for views. Cookies from other sites can also feed into the How Much Were They Paying Attention (AKA: Watch Time) metric.
- They are checking whether your view is legitimate or has an anomaly that could potentially be a false view. (Note: YT will toss out any view that has an irregularity. They would rather lose a few dollars for your view than to be sued by advertisers for inflating their bill).
Also, when a new MV drops: expect a freeze somewhere around the 20-45 minute mark for the algorithms to acclimate to the viewership and designate a standard pattern. For extremely popular videos, this freeze can last several hours. It’s infuriatingly maddening, but it’s normal.
UPDATE: The new 1st freeze mark for algorithm set seems to be
484,149 around 499,000ish. It’s like the new 301 from back in the old YT days.
The several hour counter lag also happens when there is a sudden change in viewership on any video. Say the video has been out for several months but for some reason it went viral, or (more relevant to us) say it’s an MV that kpoppers have been sleeping on, but now there is a push to get it over a certain number of views… the “freezing” is simply a recalculating of the the metric.
To see YT’s own answer on the “frozen views”, you can check the link here.
So whenever you see a comment claiming “the views are stuck. sadface emoji.” The real comment should be “Yay! The views are frozen! We have a ton of people watching. Happyface Happyface.” [I’m totally laughing right now instead of inserting sad and happy faced emojis.]
Myth 4: Changing Your IP. Closing Your Browser…
The Uniques metric (the calculation of unique viewers that watched a video) was depreciated in September 2016 and abandoned by YT in October 2016. This was a calculation in YT Analytics that allowed channels to keep track of how many new people watched their videos.
Since YT no longer sees the need to keep track or care how many times someone watches the same video over and over, there is no need to log out of YT or to change your IP address to “help make your view count”.
You still should sprinkle a different MV every once in a while to remind YT metrics that you’re not a bot. [I attempted to contact the Equal Rights for Anthropomorphic Automatons Commission. Unfortunately, I was too human to navigate the phone tree.] But you are free to watch your favorite MV as many times a day as you like, regardless of whether or not you are signed in to your YT account.
Myth 5: Deleting Cookies
Do clean your browser, cookies, and history cookies every once in a while to keep your own devices running smoothly, but it’s not necessary after every view. If you watch a lot of MVs (which you likely will) every few days is fine.
(For proof and reasons- See Myth 4 above.)
Myth 6: Skipping Ads
The answer is yes. Yes, you can skip ads. [THANK THE GOOD LORD JEEBUS!
That new Clive Owen BMW commercial is almost 14 minutes long! I mean, it’s actually a really good commercial but still…]
And thank goodness. Because bugger me if I’m going to sit through a 17 minute ad on copy paper for a 4 minute MV. […I…I haven’t seen this ad…but now I want to.]
Ads are measured similar to videos, which means retention value (how long you sit through it) is calculated for information purposes. But this doesn’t count against your favorite artist. It only counts against the advertiser who had the terrible idea of making a 19 minute commercial. Each ad will have around 15-30 seconds prior to the skip button appearing for appropriate product placement and name dropping. 30 seconds is all that is required for the ad to be be counted as “watched”. After the skip button appears- skip away. If you like the commercial, then stay. But holy hanboks- don’t let the brainchild behind the 14 minute car commercial think they did a bang up job and need to make more.
[But…it’s a really good car commercial. Look how I went out of my way to insert the crying emoji…]
But your favorite MV will still get the view, and everyone will still get paid, and you will be less stressed, and your friends and neighbors won’t think you’re crazy because you’re muttering curses, twitching at jingles, and looking for voodoo dolls in the shape of “creative teams” and copywriters. [Ooooo VIXX!]
That’s right. Everyone wins. Even if you skip the commercial.
A monetized playback is counted if a viewer is shown a preroll ad but quits watching the ad before your video ever starts.
Myth 7: Reporting and Bullying
This one is relatively new. At least from the comebacks we’ve seen. But we can see this one getting out of hand.
To the best of our knowledge the “I can’t believe X is reporting our MV” stemmed from some people trying to explain why the view counter was uploading slowly. In other words; people who didn’t understand how YT works (see Myth 3 above).
To make it quick for people who want to skip our nerdy rant: Reporting on a pre-approved video from a labeled company will have no effect on the the MV.
For those who like nerdy rants… read on.
What If Someone Does Report? MVs have already been screened as part of the RIAA system for the Parental Advisory Label Program. In order to meet company to company contract compliance [wow, that’s a lot of C’s], the MV has already been rated to this standard. So reporting it as something sexual, violent, containing otherwise offensive material, or violating copyright laws will go absolutely nowhere. However, repeated reporting of non-offensive videos can be labeled as harassment, and said reporters are subject to having their own accounts and IP addresses blocked or frozen. For those that claim that “reporting is anonymous”, note that YouTube says it is only anonymous to other users or channel creators. Not to YouTube staff.
What should be reported is hate comments.
Please note that by YouTube’s own words, comments that can be interpreted as “incitement to harass other users or creators” are counted as cyber-bullying and can lead to action by YouTube.
In other words; if you are from one fandom and are trying to start a fanwar against another group or are leaving comments considered inflammatory, this is grounds for reporting and removal. If you are part of a fandom that is being picked on by another group: Don’t Respond. Just flag and report. This is in accordance with YouTube’s guidelines.
Honorable Mention 1: Volume 50% or higher
We’ve combed through hundreds of Google, Alphabet, and YouTube policy documents. We’ve read help pages, news articles, and official press releases until we our brains hurt and our eyes were being propped open with toothpicks… and we could find absolutely no mention anywhere that how loudly you listen to a YT video matters. If you find actual documentation, please contact us and we’ll investigate it and update this page with changes. Until then; we suspect, as long as you don’t mute it from the YouTube video window itself, you can listen as loudly or as quietly as you want by adjusting the volume on your device. And yes. That includes muting. [So the YouTube volume can be at whatever volume like 10% and you can play other videos at 100%? Yep. And you absolutely can mute your computer speakers, tv, etc. without it affecting your viewing count. Internet wizards would have to be physically in your house to know just how loudly you like to
annoy your friends and family enjoy KPop. Speakers are hardware, not an interneted codey kind of thing. I’ve actually started muting the tab itself. Not sure if that affects things. Not that I can find. Also, since I use those extra browsers only for support streaming, at least on my Windows machine, I can mute the individual program using the operating system volume control. Excellent idea!]
Honorable Mention 2: Autoplay
Autoplay views have not been included in the view count since 2008. Neither do embedded videos (ones that play from other websites and not YouTube directly).
What about Playlists?
Playlists are the questionable frustration of every YT streamer. This is because the rules for Playlists keeps changing. First they counted, then they didn’t. Then they counted again, then embedded playlists were nixed, then someone brought up channel creator rights and playlists were counted as views to the creator of the list….
It boils down to the same thing we’ve already talked about. Advertising companies don’t want to pay for ads you didn’t actually see, and YouTube wants to count as many as possible to get more ad revenue.
It doesn’t help that YouTube likes to keep the what/why/how of view counting as secret as possible. But some playlists do have ads on them (especially ones that include MVs from verified accounts). And if we apply the “if it has ads it counts” rule… then YT playlists on YT should count. Problem is, YT still maintains that the viewer must “manually choose” (their words) the MV for it to be counted so ad companies can feel happy viewers are still seeing the ads they pay for.
So our answer here at KpG to “Do playlists count?” is a big, whopping “Probably… Maybe”.
Our suggestion is that you use playlists only when you are not able to actually sit and click. Whenever possible, manually choose to stream your MVs. But if you’re not going to be near your computer anyway, then it doesn’t really hurt anything to set a playlist and go about your business. You’re not really losing anything, so why not.
What You Should Do
So how do you actually use YouTube?
The answer is surprisingly simple.
You just watch the MV.
From beginning to end for a full view count.
Yep. That’s it. You just watch the MV like you would any other YouTube video. How long you watch is measured, and at what point did you lose interest and begin to look at comments, etc..
YouTube makes money from advertisers every time you watch a video. So it’s in their best interest to count your view. So they want to make it as painless and easy to do as possible.
The advertisers; on the other hand, don’t want to pay YouTube for something that hasn’t actually been seen. So all the monitoring of views, audits, and the like are set in place to catch people who are trying to trick the system.
Bonus: There’s An App For That
Cue the angels singing. There’s a real hack coming. Well…. not a hack, really. More like a “why does no one ever mention this?!?!”
There is a glorious gem of an untapped resource that many of us have at our fingertips for raising view counts, that is rarely talked about in kpop circles.
The console market.
Basically, if the device offers an official YouTube app- your views on it are counted.
Just like with mobile… you can watch on game consoles, smart TVs, tablets.
The official list of supported devices by YT includes: Playstation 3 & 4, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Google TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Roku, Smart TV’s and Blue-ray players with official app installed, and tablets (this includes Amazon Kindle and Fire).
Although not listed on the above antiquated-and-completely-in-need-of-an-update YouTube list… Other supported devices include: Chromecast, Roku3 and higher.
There are 3 quick checks to make sure your view will work.
- Is it an official YouTube app?
- Does it allow you to log in to your account? Although login is not required; and on some devices it’s not recommended because the official YouTube app is still learning how to play well with others yet (ahem. Roku – I’m looking at you), if it’s official it should allow you to log in to your regular account.
- Do you see ads? Monetized views are the cash cow of YouTube. If you never see any ads, then chances are the app isn’t a real YouTube one.
If you can check yes, yes, yes for all three- then you’re good to go. Your view will count. And good news. Since console interfaces are simplistic, you can watch your favorite MV over and over without needing to watch other things in between to prove you’re not a bot. If you keep getting ads, then your views are still counting.
*NOTE: As of 20 April 2015 – Apple products are no longer YouTube supported. If you use an Apple product (iPhone, iPad, iPad Touch, AppleTV, iOS7 or higher) you must watch through a browser (Safari) for your view to count. Basically, what happened is this: Apple threw a hissy when YouTube decided to move off QuickTime Flash (an Apple product) and to stream via HTML5. Google decided the best way to end the debate was to just not make an official app. This may change at some point in the future; but as of now, please only watch YouTube through your browser. [Well, I, for one, am simply SHOCKED that Apple and YouTube/Google don’t play well together. Shocked.]
**UPDATE: As of 7 February 2017 — YouTube is now supported again in Apple products. [Crossing our fingers it will stay this time]
Tiny note: Because it’s been asked before… yes, you can pause the video. When you pause is also fed into the metric for research purposes. But pausing doesn’t stop your view from counting. You can also rewind the video and watch a certain part, screencap, etc.. As long as you watch from beginning to end, it will still count as a complete view. […I do NOT have all of these videos paused to compare each members’ hip thrusts. But that’s good to know…you know…for SCIENCE!]
[SO MUCH SCIENCE!!]
Second tiny note: Partial views are counted too. They don’t count for a full view, but they are weighed on a percentage scale and added to other partial views (or to rewound/ rewatched parts) to create a full view count. So if your favorite artist has a bunch of haters in the comment section- don’t fret. Just thank the antis for the view, because they probably thought partial views didn’t count and didn’t know they helped boost your numbers.
After all, they viewed the ad.
And YouTube wants to get paid.
Third (not so) tiny note: The jump in views = bought views
We really don’t know what to say about this other than:
YouTube regularly audits videos for fraudulent views. And ones with high view counts are audited automatically.
Buying views is one of the biggest things YouTube checks for. If you truly need more information on this you can read their policy statements here.
“Buying views” is really only possible if you can use a 3rd party service. But YT scrutinizes all 3rd party views and removes ones that are not specifically chosen by an individual to play. Which means “buying views” would be as useful as lighting money on fire. [Suho and Shownu, I’m looking at you.]
Purchasing views is grounds for a video to be removed. And no hard working, devoted fan is going to risk their beloved artist having their MV suspended or removed.
This is not why the views are freezing. (See Myth 3 above).
So…. that’s about it. [Wow! That was long.]
If you’ve stuck with us all the way through…
- first off- thank you.
- If we’ve answered your questions- great.
- If you have more questions (I’m sure more myths will happen over time) let us know and we’ll see what we can do to answer them.
You are now a full fledged, fully informed How to YouTube KPopper. [There should be cards for this. Or secret handshakes. Because I would absolutely relish in secret card carrying status and gloat over all my friends.] Please share this information with all of your KPopping friends and help us get the cancer out of KPop.
(Um… those aren’t real hashtags.
We should probably say that. They only aren’t real because we haven’t made them real yet. Except #INeedCake. I’m pretty sure that exists.)