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YouTube Shorts: What exactly is a view?

person holding phone with youtube shorts logo

Measuring performance and understanding metrics of any emerging platform takes time. But with YouTube Shorts hot on the heels of (or even surpassing) TikTok and Instagram Reels, accumulating over 5 trillion views so far, its vital advertisers and buyers alike understand the metrics YouTube Shorts uses.

According to our latest research report, Precise Advertiser Report, Teens & Youth (affectionately dubbed ‘PARTY’) 8 in 10 teens say they know what YouTube Shorts are and 6 in 10 teens say they watch them. 

Research we launched in June for the 2-12 age group further supports the idea that Shorts is gaining traction with 75% of kids surveyed saying they knew what YouTube Shorts were and 50% of kids who said they watched ‘’standard’ YouTube said they also watched content on Shorts. 

YouTube Shorts, for those not in the know, are short-form vertical videos that can be uploaded onto the YouTube platform. Each ‘Short’ (as they are increasingly being known as) can run between 6 and 60 seconds long, with the app also allowing you to merge multiple shorter videos into a longer, one minute clip depending on the message your brand needs to convey.

Understanding the potential performance of a Short ad is essential however.

So, what exactly is a 'view' on youTube Shorts?

Simply put, a view is counted if the user watches the first 10 seconds of an ad or until the end of the ad if total ad run time is less than 10 seconds. 

Shorts also count a click as a ‘view’.

If someone views an ad for more than 10 seconds AND clicks it, it is still counted as ONE view.

What is interesting to see is that YouTube has opted for a longer view definition than its largest, arguably better known rival,TikTok. 

TikTok have opted for a view to be a simple movement of the advert, a ‘swipe’ through from one to the next, as we know it to be. TikTok does also have a 2 second and 6 second metric. 

These differences in definition will result in YouTube’s View Through Rates (VTRs) appearing to be lower than TikTok, but this is obviously not the case and something marketers should be very aware of when setting goals and reviewing campaign success. 

Understanding View Through Rates (VTRs)

Initial Precise TV data suggests that the VTRs for Shorts campaigns are generally much lower compared to our standard YouTube In-Stream campaigns, with most adverts achieving a 2 to 10% VTR. 

The secret to improving VTR, is a great creative, one that captures the audience within the first 2-5 seconds and that doesn't take up the entire 60 second ad time frame allowance. Our recommended video length for Shorts is 15-25 seconds for maximum impact.

We are able to leverage our Precise Intent targeting for YouTube Shorts advertising to audiences based on their most recent search queries on Google. We also utilize our proprietary in-house Consumer Panel data to select the best keywords needed to target your key audience. 

If you’d like to learn more about YouTube Shorts metrics and want to start advertising on YouTube Shorts, please get in touch.

Topics: youtube, advertising, digital, youtube shorts