By Chris Lee
Video site YouTube is cracking down on users who artificially inflate view counts. As NMK reported last year, fake views and social media fans can easily be purchased via sites offering multiple clicks based in Asia, for example.
“YouTube isn’t just a place for videos, it’s a place for meaningful human interaction. Whether it’s views, likes, or comments, these interactions both represent and inform how creators connect with their audience,” the company said in a blog post. “That’s why we take the accuracy of these interactions very seriously. When some bad actors try to game the system by artificially inflating view counts, they’re not just misleading fans about the popularity of a video, they’re undermining one of YouTube’s most important and unique qualities.”
In explaining its actions, the Google-owned channel added: “As part of our long-standing effort to keep YouTube authentic and full of meaningful interactions, we’ve begun periodically auditing the views a video has received. While in the past we would scan views for spam immediately after they occurred, starting today we will periodically validate the video’s view count, removing fraudulent views as new evidence comes to light. We don’t expect this approach to affect more than a minuscule fraction of videos on YouTube, but we believe it’s crucial to improving the accuracy of view counts and maintaining the trust of our fans and creators.”
Users will benefit from clampdown
Irfon Watkins, CEO of Bristol-based online video ad startup Coull, believes YouTube’s hardened view is good news for both users and advertisers.
“The news that YouTube is to start auditing video views will be welcomed by users, viewers and advertisers alike. The practice of artificially inflating video views via underhand tools is rife throughout the industry and is both misleading and damaging,” he told NMK. “It benefits no one in the long run, least of all advertisers who rely on their campaigns reaching a genuine, engaged audience. Publishers can naturally build views by generating quality content and using the myriad of social media platforms to distribute their content to a wider audience. After all, potential advertisers want to reach human audiences, not projections of them.”
Advertisers to benefit
Coull works with some of the biggest publishers in the UK to help them provide relevant, contextual video advertising experiences for their viewers. It does this by linking the content of the video with the ads that appear throughout it. So, for example, if a viewer were watching a video online about cooking, Coull’s technology would ensure the ads that appear around it were related to cooking as well.
Advertisers want to reach human audiences, not projections of them, so YouTube’s action will benefit advertisers, in Watkins’ view.
“Targeting falsely inflated video views is only the tip of the iceberg because most video advertising across the industry is still irrelevant to the content that it is displayed next to,” he added. “If advertisers truly want to see return on investment, they should ensure that their campaigns are contextually relevant to the content, thereby guaranteeing that their audience is engaged and genuine too.”