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What Do Impressions Mean on YouTube?

Views, watch time, impressions… YouTube Analytics has dozens of metrics that help to understand your channel performance. In this blog post, we discuss impressions and why they are important on YouTube.

What do impressions mean on YouTube?

YouTube impressions show how many times your thumbnails were shown to viewers on YouTube. It includes only impressions on YouTube, not on external sites or apps.

Therefore, impressions click-through-rate (CTR) depicts how often viewers watched a video after seeing a thumbnail.

youtube search results

How are impressions counted?

YouTube impressions are counted if the thumbnail is shown for more than 1 second and at least 50% of the thumbnail is visible on the screen.

YouTube impressions are not counted on:

  • External websites and apps (for example, links and embeds outside of the YouTube website)
  • YouTube mobile website
  • 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

Why are my impressions on YouTube low?

The reason behind might be YouTube SafeSearch.

YouTube’s algorithm filters results that might feature explicit content via its so-called SafeSearch technology. With the SafeSearch computer vision method, YouTube screens your thumbnail on explicit content.

SafeSearch is a technology used within Google Search, YouTube, and Google Images that acts as an automated filter of pornography and potentially offensive content.

When a thumbnail is likely to contain explicit content, the video may not show up in search results—neither on YouTube nor Google. The video will also have a much lower chance to show up in the Suggested Videos section on YouTube. That means your video will get much fewer impressions and views.

If Google’s SafeSearch technology thinks it’s likely, very likely, or possible that your thumbnail contains explicit content, you should definitely use another image. By changing your thumbnail, you increase your chances of ranking high in search results and getting more views for your video.

Are you impressions low? Check in your YouTube analytics now!

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