What Are Impressions On YouTube?

what are impressions on youtube
Shutterstock/sitthiphong Shutterstock/ART PAL John-Michael Bond

Creating a YouTube page can take minutes, especially if you already have a Gmail account. But genuinely understanding YouTube is a process. You need to learn the basics. For example, what are impressions on YouTube? How are impressions different than an Impression click-through rate?

At Passionfruit, we believe your journey of making videos should be fun and exciting. At least until the comment section shows up; that’s a hell we all must face. Here are all the basics you need to know about YouTube impressions. 

What Are Impressions on YouTube?

Impressions are not the same as views on a YouTube video. As far as YouTube is concerned, an Impression is counted when your video’s thumbnail is shown for more than one second on a viewer’s screen. Only 50% of the YouTube thumbnail must be visible for you to get an Impression. However, impressions only get counted in a few specific places. 

When Are Impressions Counted On YouTube?

Here is where impressions get counted on YouTube. 

  • YouTube on computers, TVs, game consoles, Android, iPhone, and iPad
  • YouTube Search
  • YouTube homepage (includes auto-play)
  • YouTube feeds (subscriptions, trending, history, Watch Later)
  • “Up Next” recommendations on the right side of the video player (includes autoplay)
  • Playlists

When Are Impressions Not Counted On YouTube?

YouTube does not count impressions from the following places: 

  • External websites and apps (for example, links and embeds outside of the YouTube website)
  • YouTube mobile website (We were as surprised as you to learn this)
  • YouTube Kids app
  • YouTube Music app
  • Content within the video player (for example, in cards or end screens)
  • Email or notifications
  • Videos that play in the background tab (no visible impression)
  • Videos whose thumbnails are less than 50% visible or visible for less than 1 second
  • TrueView video discovery ads

What Is the Impressions Click-Through Rate?

Your impressions click-through rate is how many viewers watched your video after seeing your thumbnail image. This isn’t the same thing as views. Your impressions click-through rate is a way to track how often you’re converting impressions into Click-Throughs to watch your video. 

How Can I See My Impressions on YouTube? 

Seeing your impressions is simple. Go to the YouTube Studio page, select “Analytics” from the left “Menu,” and then select “Content” from the top menu on the next page. Under the “All” tab, you’ll find your “Impression and How They Lead To Watch Time” report. This provides a look into how your content is shared on YouTube. 

The Analytics card tracks your impressions, what percentage comes from YouTube recommendations, how many views came from impressions, and your average view time. This data starts updating within hours of publishing your videos. 

What Does It Mean If I Have More Views Than Impressions?

Remember that impressions are only counted on a handful of YouTube-specific sites. If your traffic comes from Twitter/X, Reddit, or other off-YouTube locations, you’ll get views but not impressions. 

Are Impressions Important To Monetize My Content?

Impressions are important, especially if you’re still building your audience. However, they’re not a metric for monetizing your content. That decision comes down to the age range of your content and if you have a large enough audience to qualify for YouTube’s Partner Program. We’ve got a guide to help you learn the basics of the YouTube Partner Program available right here. 

Remember, like any aspect of YouTube metrics, impressions are important to track but are not the end-all and be-all of the stats. Keep an eye on them, but also pay attention to the other sources that bring eyeballs to your videos.

You may find YouTube isn’t where your audience is coming from. Similarly, if you discover that using a new kind of thumbnail draws more impressions to your videos, that’s vital information for your growth. Don’t stress the stats; just make sure you’re keeping up with them to notice patterns that can help you.

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