What Counts As a Video View on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook?

This question concerns many brands and bloggers. Some people think that to count the view in, all you have to do is to hit the triangle. It is not precisely that, but the truth is out there. YouTube’s definition of a view is different from Instagram and Facebook.

But bloggers who embrace all these platforms, have to turn their attention to the video content, as it continues to conquer the media space. The majority of brands are using it as a powerful instrument in their hands. Since 2017, the number of social media users has shown huge growth, and so has the level of engagement that video content can bring. So anyone who is looking for success on social media has to regard this content as a primary type that you should produce. Another important fact is that only about half of all people watch this type of content till the end. Recent research shows that the videos which include custom thumbnails are getting twice more views than the ones without it or with a still from the video.

In this article, we will explain the difference between YT, Fb, and IG views that is significant for videos you produce.

So What Is YouTube View

As the term “view” on this platform stands for how many times the reel was watched, it can be not that accurate. YouTube puts much effort into proving the validity of every account that clicked the play button. Sometimes the algorithm can misread the data and show the lesser number of views than it actually is. This feature is usually noticeable when the video is just uploaded to the platform. At some point, the view counter is frozen. As YouTube couldn’t care less for the videos which have under 300 views, the freeze usually happens at the point of 301 views. Now, the real YouTube worker has to check the validation of the views by hand.

Besides the facts given above, nobody knows how exactly the algorithm of YouTube does its work. But it is obvious that it relies on a certain period of time that a user is spending on the video. It is commonly considered that this period is about 30 seconds, and only then it can be recorded as a view to your counter.

Anyway, you should be aiming for keeping people glued to your video for a longer time, because views are important for all other metrics on your profile, and also for your activity results. To do so, follow a few tips:

  • Make a room for an intro. Don’t make it too long, up to 15 seconds, to keep the attention.
  • Make a scenery for your content, where you must include the introduction, the body, and the conclusion to the topic. These are vital parts that will make your content look professional and gain more views.
  • Do not fall far from the theme of your video. Keeping it strictly within the topic is also a sign of professionalism.
  • Engage your viewers in the first 30 seconds ( that time includes intro if you have it), but do not reveal the main theme of the video. A small intrigue will provoke the wish to watch the contents till the end.

And What’s With Views On Instagram?

This platform is radically opposite to YouTube, even having IGTV launched and running. To understand the difference from YT, you must know how video content was born on Instagram. Everybody knows that IG was a merely photo-sharing platform at the beginning. But with time, as the potential of filming content grew, Instagram introduced the possibility to upload short reels limited to 30 seconds at first and later pushed to 1 minute to collect views. Another feature that differs IG format from other platforms was the loop. It means that after the video ends, it starts over again. When it became obvious that it became the most wanted type of content, Instagram offered IGTV to cover the uploading of longer videos. And Stories, the main form of entertainment on Instagram, are also a type of content that made a revolution in the blogosphere.

Whatever form of video on Instagram we are talking about, the counter on this platform records a view after three seconds of watching, without counting in all the loops. A huge advantage to it is the fact that the videos on Instagram are played automatically once you scroll to them in your feed. So, basically, you have to catch the users’ attention in the first three seconds, or he will just scroll through. Important things to remember if you want to increase your viewership rates on Instagram with the help of filming content:

  • Add a title to your video. It will easily get you the sacred three secs that you need.
  • Choose an attractive still from your film, which will be its cover image. It will be the first thing that a user will see while the reel is loading or until he scrolls to the whole post. So it has to be pleasant to the eye to collect views, or else people will just skip it.
  • Remember the limit. Though IGTV found popularity on the platform, Instagram remains the realm of short videos.

And What Counts As A View On Facebook

Finally, we have reached a great and powerful Facebook. This is one of the oldest social media platforms, and video content evolved with it through time. All types of video are represented on this network. Recently, Stories were introduced as well. There is much more information that is known to users about how Facebook view counters work. The algorithms that are gathering the data include:

  • The percentage of users who watched the video for half-time.
  • The percentage of ones who watched it almost until the end.
  • Three and ten seconds watch time.
  • In case if the video lasts from three to ten seconds, the algorithm counts in users, that watched 97% of the whole time.

Despite the enormous quantity of metrics that the platform gathers, watching the video for two seconds only is enough to be recorded as a view on Facebook. However, it is obvious that all the stats that the algorithm gathers are important for boosting your rating on this network. So here is advice for successful results:

  • Avoid long introductions. Use teaser phrases instead.
  • Add captions for your videos. Although by default the sound is on when you watch it on Facebook, it can be disabled in your settings, or if your device is in silent mode. Captions are helping to understand your videos even if the sound is turned off, so it is worth the effort.
  • Create a clickbait title. This, along with properly included keywords, can increase your discoverability multiple times.
  • Pay attention to the shape of your video – square or landscape. Prefer squares, as they tend to get a bigger amount of views and better reach (because the square format is the comfiest to use on mobile devices).
  • Post your videos directly to Facebook.
  • Don’t make things too complicated. For better engagement and sharing, highlight one point, that is easy for users to consume and understand.


In this text, we pointed out the definition of the view for three significant social media platforms – YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. All these platforms have different terms for that. YouTube is more strict than other platforms, for example.

The only common thing to consider despite the choice of platform is the formatting of your content. For social media, the optimization for mobile devices is vital. The estimated time that is preferred for the majority of social networks is around 30 seconds. Only YouTube works to the opposite – there people tend to choose longer videos.

The definition of the view and its quantity is just one of the many aspects that have to be worked on, when you decide to use videos for your strategy. But the understanding of their purpose and differences can help you to choose wisely.