What Does Impressions Mean On YouTube?

Perhaps the most difficult part about trying to break into the blogging or vlogging world is getting your name out there and increasing your exposure. 

One of the best ways to get eyes onto your YouTube channel and subsequent YouTube videos is to fully understand how impressions work. 

What Does Impressions Mean On YouTube

But what does this mean? Well, at its simplest – YouTube impressions are a metric that help content creators to boost their view numbers and a better click through rate.

Of course though, there’s much more to it than this. So, if you’re wondering about how you might use impressions on YouTube – read this handy guide to learn more.

What Does This Mean?

Anyone hoping to get their YouTube channel to grow will know that they need more views to their videos, which hopefully will attract more subscribers to their channel. 

But let’s step back for a moment and assume that you’ve created a video. There are various things you can do to track how well this video is doing in terms of exposure, and one of the ways you can track this is using YouTube impressions. 

Impressions when it comes to YouTube, refers to how many times your thumbnail – at least 50% of it – has been visible on another user’s screen. 

It’s important to note at this point though that YouTube only tracks impressions to thumbnails only – it doesn’t extend to clicks or views. 

At this point, you’re probably wondering about what the rationale is behind this. If your video has not been doing very well in terms of views – why would you want to track the thumbnail impressions?

Why Track Thumbnail Impressions?

There’s various reasons why you might want to track your thumbnail impressions, but primarily it’s a great indicator of the efficacy of your thumbnail. 

If you have an effective thumbnail, you have a much higher chance of increasing your clicks and views, which in turn can increase the chances of you getting more subscribers to your channel. 

Wait – What’s A Thumbnail?

We’ve talked a lot here about thumbnails on your YouTube videos, but for some of you, you may not know what thumbnails actually are. 

Thumbnails are the small window, like a preview, that shows up on your chosen device’s screen. They aim to entice viewers to your video, so in order to further the attraction to your video, you’ll want a strong thumbnail. 

One of the most effective thumbnails are the ones that contain large red arrows. This is for two main reasons. Primarily, just as stores do – large red arrows will attract attention. For stores, this is a way to entice shoppers to things like sales. 

However, the second reason involves the way our minds work. Humans psychologically are almost always compelled to follow arrows, or look at where they go. For thumbnails, this can mean the difference between an impression and a non-impression. 

For example, if a small area of an arrow appears on the corner of a user’s screen, they may be compelled to look at the entire thumbnail to look at where the arrow is pointing – meaning more than 50% of that thumbnail now appears on the screen. 

How Impressions Are Counted?

Not all devices, or areas where YouTube videos appear, will count towards a content creator’s impression data. It can be relatively confusing to know how these impressions are counted and where they appear.

Below, we’ve cleared up some of this confusion to help. 

Impressions Counted 

  • Computers
  • TVs
  • Game consoles 
  • Mobile devices
  • YouTube recommendations 
  • YouTube search function/homepage/feed
  • YouTube playlists 

Impressions Not Counted 

  • Apps that are not YouTube (unless directed to YouTube via URL) 
  • YouTube Kids and YouTube Music 
  • Notifications via email for new videos 
  • Thumbnails less than 50% visible 
  • Videos that play in the background but are not actually seen (such as autoplay) 
What Does Impressions Mean On YouTube

Finding Impression Data 

Now that you know what impressions are and why they are important, you’re probably wondering where you can find them. 

Well, you need to head to the YouTube Creator’s Studio (if you haven’t already, you will need to authenticate your account before you can use the studio). 

Once you’re up and running, you will notice a sidebar on the left. Click on analytics and then you will see a few more sections. The default will link you to “overview”, but you’ll want to click on the second option which is “reach”. 

From here, you will be able to see some of your YouTube analytic metrics, such as:

  • Click through rate 
  • Views 
  • Unique viewership 

If you wish to, you can set dates from which you wish to see your data. 

What Is My Click Through Rate?

Click through rate refers to the number of impressions that turned into views. 

This is a very useful figure to look at because if the numbers are high, it suggests that not only are your thumbnails effective, but they’re attracting users to actually click through and watch the content. 

The higher this metric gets, the more chance you will have of YouTube placing the video (using its algorithm) onto the suggested feed or the home feed. This in turn can lead to even more views and therefore, the potential of more subscribers. 

Why This Matters? 

Any YouTuber hoping to make it on the platform will want to utilize this unique data as much as possible. The fact is, the more views you get and the more subscribers you get – the more opportunity there is to make money. 

This could be through sponsorships, advertising revenue or through partnering with YouTube or its affiliates. 

The Bottom Line 

Impressions on YouTube in its most basic form, are simply a figure that tells you if your thumbnail has appeared more than 50% on a user’s screen. 

Be sure to use the data wisely and to your advantage!

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