The YouTube ‘300 Views’ Rule

We all know that YouTube is a powerful platform.

But, it is also one of the world’s most misunderstood platforms, especially when it comes to the specifics.

We do a lot of work for our clients on YouTube and managing expectations regarding viewer interaction is often a challenge.

One particular YouTube ‘quirk’ often baffles people so I thought I’d try and explain it in a bit more detail here.

The 300 Views Rule

The following image is a screen grab of the YouTube ‘trending videos’ tab taken at 7.30am this morning (29 March).

These are the videos generating huge buzz online and significant interaction.

But take a close look at how many views each video has had…

That’s right, each is hovering at around 300 views.

The reason for this, although it has never been officially made public, is that YouTube verifies the legitimacy of views / interaction of any video that starts to trend (or go viral).

Popular videos tend to pause at that 300 mark for up to 24 hours and then will be corrected with a more representative view count.

Reason being, just like Google search results, your faith in YouTube depends on it being accurate.

The last thing you want to do is share a ‘hot’ video with your friends that has been manipulated to appear more popular than it really is.

How on earth can people manipulate viewership figures on YouTube?

I’m not smart enough to understand how that’s done, but when so much money is involved in the success (or failure) of video content, you can bet people try to ‘game’ YouTube just like any other social network.

You’re much better off producing quality content in a consistent manner if you want to make inroads on YouTube.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get the most out of YouTube, download version two of the YouTube creator playbook here.

Finally, marketers out there, just be careful when you invoke the ‘300 Views’ rule with your clients / bosses – sometimes you’re legitimately waiting on the verification and update, while on others…well…you may just have something that isn’t as popular as you thought it might be.

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