It’s only natural in today’s data-saturated world to assume that content creators have access to a vast wealth of information about their viewers. And that assumption would be correct; YouTubers can see a great deal of information about the people who watch their content.
YouTubers cannot see who is watching their videos. Most YouTubers would LOVE to see who watched their videos, but this is not possible.
There are many data points for YouTubers to explore, but those data points stop short of telling you things like who is watching, liking, and sharing your content.
Can YouTubers See Who Viewed Their Video?
Of course, when we say YouTubers can’t see who has viewed their video, we just mean that there is no stat or dashboard panel that will show you your recent views, nor is there a link you can click on for a given video that will take you to a list of viewers. There are ways to infer some of your viewers, however.
For example, it is safe to assume that anyone who has commented on a video (and is not obviously spamming) has watched it. It’s not exactly of practical use from a data analysis point of view, but it may be useful in some cases.
What Can YouTubers See?
In terms of names, there are only two significant situations in which a YouTuber can see the who, and those are comments and subscribers.
Comments are a given, as every comment has a username attached to it. Not only that, you can click on them to head of to that user’s YouTube page. If they are also a YouTuber, this is a nice, easy way of getting to their channel if you want to check something out. It’s also sometimes abused by people posting all manner of attention grabbing comments in the sole hope that you will click on their name.
Subscribers are a little more complicated. YouTubers can see who has subscribed to their channel if the user in question has that feature enabled. Users can choose to keep their subscriptions private, which prevents them from showing up in the YouTuber’s subscriber list. They still count towards the total subscribers figure, of course, there’s just no way of knowing who they are.
If there is one thing that Google is known for… after search… and AdSense… and a veritable graveyard of projects… it’s analytics. Google collects an immense amount of data about the people using its various platforms, and for the people who make Google money, Google likes to make life as easy as possible for them by giving them access to as much of that vast treasure trove of data as possible.
Can YouTubers see who viewed their video? No. But can they see what percentage of their viewers were white men in their mid-thirties residing in England? Absolutely.
A big part of Google’s data collection is anonymisation. Google themselves might not have opted to do things this way if they’d had the choice… but they didn’t have the choice.
So YouTubers can see a great deal of information that gives them insight into the type of person that is watching their video. Essentially, they can see demographics. They can see if the majority of their viewers are male or female, or if they are in the United States, even what device they are watching the videos on.
What the YouTubers do with that information is their own business, but if you are a viewer worrying about what your favourite YouTuber might be able to see about you; don’t worry, there’s no way for them to link any of the data they can see to you.
Why Would YouTubers Need to See Who is Viewing Their Videos?
The truth is; they don’t. This may go a long way to explaining why YouTube don’t let YouTubers see who is viewing their videos, but there really isn’t much benefit, and some of the ways YouTubers might use this information are even negative.
For example, if a YouTuber has been targeting another YouTuber with less-than-friendly behaviour, and finds that their victim has been watching their videos, it could add more fuel to their unsavoury fire.
On the flip side, there is no added value to being able to put usernames and accounts to the analytical data YouTube provides. Knowing that a specific person is watching your content doesn’t give you any significant insight into your channel’s performance, so why bother?
What Else Does YouTube Hide?
The names of viewers isn’t the only thing YouTube keeps from its content creators. YouTubers also can’t see the names of people who have liked or disliked their videos. In fact, the only time YouTube is explicit about a like is when the YouTuber themselves clicks the little heart on a comment for their video.
It is also not possible to directly tell who has shared your videos, though this particular metric is quite easy to find through other means, as it involves essentially just searching for links to your video.
In today’s privacy-concerned world, where huge corporations are routinely harvesting and selling our data, it’s understandable to be concerned about what information about you is being passed around behind the scenes.
It’s important to remember that, just because YouTube aren’t making your account name available to the YouTubers you watch, they are still collecting vast amounts of data about you, and you have to be comfortable with that if you want to use the platform as a logged-in user.
That being said, the typically unpopular part of this kind of data collection is less about personal safety—after all, your data is anonymised—and more about the fact that the company—YouTube in this case—is profiting from your data. The counter to this, of course, is that you agree to YouTube’s terms of service when you use their platform, and all of this is covered in those terms.
Regardless of the reason for your interest in this topic, we can say confidently that YouTubers cannot see who has viewed their videos.
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. Learn new skills for FREE with Skillshare
I SUCK reading books to learn, but I LOVE online video courses.
Every month I learn something new. Editing, writing, video skills, how to cook, how to run a business – even how to meditate to calm a busy mind.
I find all of these for FREE with Skillshare – Sign up, pick all the courses you want and cancel anytime you need.
5. Shutterstock helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the Shutterstock website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.