When getting started on YouTube—or even when you’re established—it can sometimes be tempting to engage the services of one of those “10,000 views for $10!!!” offers you find on places like Fiverr. And, if you seek the advice of any knowledgeable YouTuber, you will likely be told to stay well clear of those bought views for a variety of reasons.
Ultimately, however, the damage done by fake views is mostly one of disappointment. You pay for thousands of views only to find that your revenue doesn’t change because none of the fake viewers are legitimately engaged with your content. Where things get a little dicier is when it comes to YouTube terms of service, since breaking those can get you kicked off of the platform. Of course, for YouTube to penalise someone for fake views, they first have to be able to detect those fake views. So, can YouTube detect fake views?
Yes. To a certain extent, YouTube can detect fake views and will take action to nullify those views, as well as potentially take action against any YouTubers who are suspected of wrongdoing.
What do We Mean by “Fake Views”?
As with many things in the English language, the wording can get confusing when dealing with fake views. One of the main points of confusion is the use of “fake views” interchangeably with “buying viewers”, which may be true to some extent, but it is perfectly possible to buy viewers in a manner that YouTube deems acceptable.
We are, of course, referring to advertising. At the end of the day, paying advertising and other forms of promotion in which you pay money to promote your channel are forms of “buying views”, but YouTube does not have a problem with this. Not least because they hope you will use their advertising platform to promote your work
No, when we say “fake views” or “bought views”, we are referring to views that have been bought by the amount. Paying money for a guaranteed number of views will almost always fall afoul of YouTube terms of service, which takes a hard line against anything that artificially increases the number of views, likes, comments, or any other metrics you might care to pad out.
The use of the word “artificial” in that sentence is important. You see, if you just went out and paid 10,000 people to watch your video, like or dislike as they deemed fit, and drop a comment based on their actual thoughts about the video, YouTube probably wouldn’t have a problem. Those users would be engaging with the content and the fact that you paid them to do it wouldn’t be an issue.
The reality of fake views is not that, however.
Fake views are nearly always either bots or a captive audience, such as users who are being paid pennies to watch thirty seconds of video. These views are not worth anything to YouTube since they are not going to click on ads or dive further into the site where they can accumulate value for the platform.
This is not just bad in the sense that the fake view isn’t earning YouTube any money, but it’s also bad in the sense that it skews their advertising performance metrics. The more views that don’t result in clicks through to advertisers, the less appealing YouTube becomes for said advertisers.
Needless to say, it’s in YouTube’s best interests to crack down on fake views.
Can YouTube Detect Fake Views
So, with all of that in mind, can YouTube detect fake views? We said in a somewhat cagey fashion that they can, but what does “to a certain extent” mean?
Simply put, YouTube can make educated guesses about views based on a variety of factors. Things like IP addresses and their watching habits, how long views last, the views per hour ratio of a video or channel, and where the traffic sources for these views are.
All of these things and more are considered and allow YouTube’s systems to paint a picture of the user viewing a video. If there is a high probability that a view is fake, YouTube will treat it as such.
Will I Get Banned for Buying Fake Views?
You may get lucky. YouTube has been known to erase fake views without taking any action against the YouTuber whose videos were viewed. It is likely YouTube factors in the magnitude of fake views and whether a channel has a history of getting fake views. If you buy a few thousand fake views once, you will probably be safe from the ban hammer. If you buy tens of thousands every week, you’re going to get caught.
That being said, always remember that YouTube’s terms don’t specify an amount. Fake views are fake views, and you could have your channel erased if you buy them.
Do Fake YouTube Views Work?
The golden question then becomes; is there any benefit to fake views. And is that benefit worth the risk? Unfortunately, we have to come down on the side of no, there is no worthwhile advantage to fake views.
As mentioned, these views do not engage with your content, meaning they don’t earn you ad revenue or click your affiliate links or sign up to your Patreon. Worse still, they negatively affect your channel. Having a high volume of views with a poor engagement rate reflects badly on your content in the eyes of YouTube, and this could lead to your videos getting recommended less!
There are many shady things that can be done to increase your chances of success online, including on YouTube. But when the negative impact of buying fake views is weighed along with the risk of getting caught and suspended from the platform, it’s hard to make a case for buying fake views.
Building your audience organically will ensure that your viewers are engaged, there for the long haul, and, above all, you will be safe from being caught out by YouTube!
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.