YouTube is big business, and, unfortunately, that means a lot of people are willing to take risks to get an edge when searching for success on the platform. One of the more obvious ways of doing this is to literally buy your success. You can buy likes, subscribers, and, the focus of this post, views.
Unfortunately, life is rarely easy, and YouTube is no different. Shortcuts like these invariable end in metaphorical tears, so we thought we’d outline what we mean by fake views, and why you should steer clear of them if you want to succeed on the platform.
What Are Fake Views?
When we talk about fake views, we are not simply talking about views you have paid for. After all, when you pay YouTube to promote your channel through their advertising platform, you are essentially paying for views. The difference is that there is no guarantee on how many views you will get since you are paying for advertising.
The kind of fake views we are referring to are typically sold in amounts, and though there may be a margin for error in the number of views you actually get, the seller will often specify a number, and perhaps even guarantee that that as a minimum.
But how can that work?
Think about it, you can’t guarantee a viewer will want to watch any given video, that’s not how people work. The seller would have to have an enormous pool of YouTube viewers ready and waiting, spanning a diverse range of interests so that when you come along ready to pay for their eyeball time, the seller will be able to find enough viewers to meet the number of views they have promised.
And then there’s the compensation for those viewers. If you’re going to have a large pool of YouTube viewers on retainer, they’re probably going to want something in return. The promise of engaging content that interests them won’t be much of a draw, since that’s the same promise that YouTube makes for simply having an account. Then consider that you’re only being charged a few pounds or dollars (or whatever your local currency is) for these views, how much can the seller really offer these viewers?
Well, the answer is, of course, nothing. There are often no human eyeballs on the other side of these views, just bots. The seller can afford to give you 10,000 views for £5 (or whatever the going rate is) because they have already invested whatever time or money they need to in building their bot farm, and the rest is simply a matter of entering your video’s URL and clicking a button.
But, with that being said, are these views any good?
Do Fake Views Work?
Whether or not these fake views works is a subjective question, since “working” depends on what your goal is. If you just want to inflate your view counts for the appearance, then yes, fake views are effective. The numbers under your video will go up and it will look like you have far more viewers than you actually did.
This is a bit of a hollow game, however, since these views don’t translate into anything more than the numbers themselves. And, if you don’t have that many real human viewers, nobody will really care that you have tens of thousands of views.
What about more material metrics of success? Let’s face it, the thing most of us are concerned with when it comes to YouTube success is how much revenue our channel can generate for us. Well, that’s where fake views really start to fall apart as a path to success.
Revenue is generated from ad views and YouTube Premium subscriptions. Clearly, the fake viewer seller is not going to be buying YouTube Premium subscriptions for their bots—that would be a quick way to lose a lot of money. As for ad views, a sizable portion of ad views earn their money on interaction (clicking the ads) and bots don’t do that.
There is still money to be made from simply viewing an ad, of course, but YouTube—or, more specifically, Google—have built their business on selling advertising, and they’re not about to let that business collapse because advertisers are sick of wasting their money on fake views that don’t generate leads.
In other words, YouTube is very good at sniffing out fake views, and the improvement of that skill is one that is in constant and active development. It can also affect the numbers game we mentioned above since YouTube has been known to erase fake views from a video’s view count after the fact.
Another negative side of fake views is the way YouTube sees your channel. Even if a fake view gets through YouTube’s elite fake view defences, YouTube is going to see your channel getting a lot of views and very little engagement, which is a bad sign for your recommendation prospects. This means that, not only are fake views not helping you succeed in the short term, they can actively harm your chances of succeeding the right way in the long term.
Are Fake Views Allowed?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but fake views are not permitted under YouTube terms of service. Or, rather, you are not permitted to artificially inflate viewing figures.
Practically speaking, if you are not a serial offender, the worst you’ll face is probably your fake views being removed and your money wasted. That being said, YouTube could decide to take more severe action against you—such as banning you from the platform—and you should be prepared for that eventuality if you decide to take this risk.
Like many shortcuts in life, fake views are not worth it in the long term. And, with YouTube constantly improving their fake view prevention mechanisms, it is increasingly becoming the case that fake views offer little benefit in the short term, also.
It takes patience, but genuine, organic growth is the way to go, and there are plenty of resources right here on this blog to help you do just that!
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.
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. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks 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 StoryBlocks 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.