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How Changes at YouTube Will Affect Your Video Metrics

Youtube data Simply MeasuredOver the last few weeks, you may have noticed a change in the way YouTube calculates your lifetime video views.

At the end of February, YouTube’s Keane Ng announced in a Google product forum that the Google-owned company would be limiting views shown on your channel to only include views from public videos; not private, unlisted, or previously deleted videos.

“Over the past few weeks we’ve been removing views for deleted videos,” said Ng on February 21st, “after which we’ve started removing views for private and unlisted videos.”

The ongoing process to clean up their internal analytics has had an impact on several brand accounts. We’ve seen several cases where a negative count in monthly views instead of a positive increment showed up in data collected directly through YouTube’s API.

The most notable example of this happened to Universal Music Group, whose YouTube channel was purged of 2.5 billion views at the end of 2012.  The impact left them with a paltry 582,000. The dramatic change was mainly due to the brand migrating music videos away from YouTube and over to the music video site Vevo.

Another reason for some changes in YouTube metrics has been the company’s focus on eliminating fraudulent views. The network has seen an influx of “view-botting” services over the years. These services that give a video hundreds of thousands of views (for a price) go against YouTube’s terms of service, and the company has asserted a new commitment to eliminating them.

It’s also important to note that in 2012, YouTube changed their search algorithm so that channels with longer watch-time on videos were rewarded in both search ranking and their “suggested video” section. Any brand with a strong presence on the network should take this into consideration.

How Simply Measured is Responding

Our goal is to make your reporting rich, easy to understand, and enjoyable. With this in mind, as soon as we noticed the impact these changes were having on YouTube data, we made several changes to our YouTube Analytics Report:

Before:                                                     After:

YouTube Analytics Deleted ViewsYouTube Analytics Changes
  1. The primary metric in this report will now be your total views instead of changes in views during the report period. This change is intended to eliminate erroneous negative statistics based on changes to your YouTube content.
  2. We’ll also now provide a new, secondary, metric that delivers insight into how deleting, migrating, or reclassifying your content has impacted your view counts.
  3. We’re continuing to monitor YouTube’s updates in real-time to make sure we’re delivering the best and most accurate data possible.

How This Affects You

As a social marketer, you should not only be aware of these changes, but address them head-on with your team.  You should understand what your posting, curating, and migrating decisions mean for your well-being on the network.  Based on what we’re seeing, if you’re deleting content or migrating it to another service, it’s going to impact your ability to remain a leader on YouTube. Use this as an opportunity to examine the real need to do so.

If you have any questions regarding your YouTube reports, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your account manager, contact our support team, or holler at us on Twitter. We’re here to answer any questions you may have, and would love your feedback as we continue to improve our current YouTube analytics.

Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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