Are you planning to buy YouTube views? You might want to think again.
Ever since the video sharing platform first went live in 2009, everyone from content creators to black hat marketers have tried to game the system. Many people have tried and succeeded at inflating their video’s view counts and engagement with the help of bots.
The existence of the fake view market has been around for a long time, with a top vlogger reporting about fraudulent practices among certain video creators as early as 2011. YouTube has taken notice of this and regularly updates its algorithm to detect artificial engagement and view counts.
Growing problem of the fake view market
YouTube has grown to become not only one of the biggest search engines on the web but also the most popular platform (after Google) among youths. There is more content created every day, and the opportunity to monetize has grown exponentially over the years. The chance to make a quick buck has led to the increasing demand of creators that are willing to pay for YouTube views and growth of services that provide them.
New York Times reported in an article that even celebrities and musicians have been known to buy YouTube views. It serves as a PR exercise to give a false impression that a video or a newly released music has become viral. There are also many other smaller content creators who use these services to pay for YouTube views but also to buy subscribers.
Can you buy YouTube views?
Yes, you can. But that depends on what type of views you are buying and from whom. There are two types of services that you can engage:
- Third-party services
- YouTube TrueView
YouTube’s policies are clear about buying views and subscribers from third-party services (e.g., buying 1,000 views for $10):
Views generated by some third-party businesses and services will not be counted or reflected on YouTube, and can lead to disciplinary action against your account, including removal of the video or account suspension.
Aside from buying YouTube views, there are also other practices that are disallowed by the platform, like serving pop-unders, redirects, and deceptive website layouts that trick people into viewing videos.
Views are usually acquired from digital vendors that operate social media marketing (SMM) panels. They provide traffic and engagement at a low fee through automated services. More often than not, the views come from bots.
The virality and monetization potential of the platform has been driving the spread of vendors who sell YouTube subscriptions and views for profit. When a video gets more views, it ranks better in search results, which in turn allows YouTubers to make more money out of ad impressions.
Dangers of paying to increase YouTube view count
Choosing to buy YouTube subscribers and views might be a cheap and easy shortcut. But black hat practices like these only hurt your channel and brand in the long run.
If YouTube detects artificial views in your video, there is a risk that the video will be removed or your channel getting banned. But even if you get away with it, there is still a price to pay.
Most of the time, the paid views happen through programmed bots or real people (often residing in developing countries). Bots can only engage (e.g., view, comment, like, or dislike your video) when they are prompted to. On the other hand, the people who were incentivized (or in some cases, deceived) to watch your videos may not be converted to your channel’s subscriber.
In both cases, there is no sincere intent for the bot or people who watched your video. It is, therefore, an unsustainable way to grow your channel and brand.
How to get more YouTube views and subscribers, the right way?
Buying artificial views should be avoided at all costs, even if the digital vendor claims that the views come from real people. It is too risky, attracts the wrong kind of audience, and hurts your brand in the long term.
There are other ways to grow your channel to get brand exposure, acquire new customers, or monetize better. Here are three solutions you can try instead:
1) Buy views through YouTube TrueView
Whether you are an independent content creator, a small business, or a multinational company, it’s a good idea to invest regularly to market your content.
You may want to acquire subscribers for an e-commerce store, or you might be a marketer running a seasonal campaign for a global brand. Either way, you will need to have a multi-faceted approach to market your idea, content, or campaign.
If you have a marketing budget to spend on YouTube, there is no better place to promote your content than through YouTube TrueView.
What is YouTube TrueView?
TrueView is a video ad format on YouTube that allows viewers to choose which video ads they would like to watch. The most common are bumper ads where it comes with an option to skip the ad after 6 seconds.
There are two types of TrueView ad formats:
- In-stream ads – These skippable ads (that give viewers the option to skip the ad after 5 seconds) usually run before, during, or after videos on YouTube. They can also appear on apps and video partner sites and often used to drive awareness for brands and products.
- Video discovery ads – Often appear in places where viewers discover content (e.g., YouTube search results, next to related videos, YouTube mobile homepage). These ads help surface your videos to a relevant and interested audience and invite viewers to click on a thumbnail to watch your video ad.
What are the advantages of using YouTube ads?
As opposed to buying artificial views, you have complete control over YouTube Trueview ads. You can choose the formats, target your audience precisely, schedule when to run the ads, and receive deep insights after the ads are completed. Through TrueView, you will be able to target your audience based on:
- Demographics (age and gender)
- Topical targeting
- Affinity (or interest targeting)
Through these specific targeting funnels, YouTube TrueView attracts a more relevant audience to the idea, product, or service that you are promoting.
2) Optimize your videos and channel
Similar to other search engines, YouTube runs its algorithms to assist viewers to find and discover the content that they want. You will need to optimize your video to ensure that it ranks well on the platform.
There are a number of steps that you need to do to optimize YouTube for SEO:
- Perform keyword research to find high-volume keywords to include in your titles and descriptions. Use Keyword Tool for YouTube to find relevant keywords, including additional keyword ideas to help your video rank well. You can include them in a well-written, catchy title and detailed description of your video.
- Use relevant tags and hashtags. From the list of keywords that you find on Keyword Tool, use the main keywords and synonyms for your tags. Find the latest trends related to your video and use the terms as hashtags in the video’s description.
- Create custom thumbnails. The more visually attractive your thumbnail, the higher the click-through-rate it will be for the video. It’s often the determining factor to whether viewers will choose to click on your video to watch on YouTube’s search results.
- Create playlists.YouTube search results show playlists separately from individual videos. As a result, it automatically adds another funnel for viewers to find your content.
- Optimize your channel. Make an attractive channel icon and invest in designing a good channel banner art. A well-branded channel will give a good impression to viewers. It also helps to create a more vibrant and loyal community for your channel.
It’s not enough to only create good content to get noticed in the largest video sharing platform on the web. You need to work at optimizing your videos to ensure it will be easily searchable by viewers.
3) Distribute your content on other websites and social media platforms
There are many ways to promote content around the web. Some come with a cost, but many others are free. All of which are worth exploring. Taryn Southern, a popular YouTuber and celebrity, shares how she builds her channel by sharing her videos on social media:
If you have a marketing budget, you can amplify content on promoted posts on media portals, banner ads on high-trafficked websites, influencer social postings, and others. But if you have little to no money to spend on promoting content outside of YouTube, you will need to find creative solutions.
How to get free YouTube views:
- Create social media channels for your content and share it across the platforms every time you post a new video. Edit and cut your YouTube videos to shorter ones that are easier to consume on social media.
- Connect with bloggers that write about content similar to yours. For example, if your channel is about cooking and recipes, reach out to food bloggers. Email them, saying “Hey, I came across your blog and I love your work! I happen to have a video that talks about your latest recipe. Here is the link and feel free to share it!“
- Collaborate with other YouTubers and cross-promote each other’s brand and channel. You can also invite guests to appear in your videos. Your guest can then promote the video to his or her audience, be it on a website, social media account, or email newsletter.
- Create a video response to another popular video. There is a chance the original video creator might mention or respond to you via a new post. It’s also another way to create relevant videos based on current popular issues or trending topics.
- Embed your videos on Q&A websites. Places like Quora and Yahoo! Answers are great places to give valuable feedback and post your video that is related to the questions asked. They often have a lot of web traffic and high domain authority.
Taking shortcuts like artificially inflating views will only hurt your brand in the long run. Instead, you should create and amplify content with sincere intent. It is the only way to grow and build a loyal community for your channel.