What are impressions on YouTube? Plus 3 easy tips for how to get more

Learn what YouTube impressions to see how far YouTube will share your content, and discover how to get more impressions for your YouTube videos.

Sandy Beeson
Image to accompany article explaining what impressions on YouTube are.

Ever post a video to YouTube and obsessively refresh the page to see how many people are watching your video? You’re certainly not the only creator to instantly check their views. But if you want a better early indicator of the numbers your content will achieve, you’ll want to check your YouTube impressions too.

Understanding impressions and how they translate into views can make a big difference to your channel. And the best bit is there are plenty of simple ways to boost impressions and set your future videos up to explode.

So what exactly are impressions on YouTube, and why are they the secret sauce to your channel's success? Read on to discover how the YouTube algorithm holds the key to getting more impressions, and what you can do to get your videos shared further.

What are YouTube impressions?

Image showing a YouTube-branded truck to visualise how YouTube serves impressions.

YouTube counts an impression every time your video thumbnail is shown to someone scrolling through YouTube. Which means each impression is an opportunity for someone to click on your video, watch your content, and potentially become a subscriber.

But how do you get impressions? It all comes down to YouTube’s algorithm, which gauges how much people are enjoying your content before promoting it to a wider audience. So if your content makes YouTube’s algorithm happy, you’ll soon see your potential viewers explode.

How do you check your YouTube impressions? A step-by-step guide

YouTube Analytics is your first stop if you want to see how well your videos are doing. You can check the impressions for any of your videos in just a few clicks:

  1. Head to YouTube Studio, hit the Analytics tab and head to Advanced Mode
  2. From here, select Impressions to get a timeline comparing all of your videos
  3. Or simply click on any video to see its own impressions timeline

What do YouTube impressions show you?

First of all, let's make it clear how they’re different from views. You’ll get a view every time someone actively clicks on your video to watch it, whereas impressions are the number of people who have the opportunity to watch your content having been shown your title and thumbnail. 

YouTube impressions show you the potential audience for your content. Which is why videos attracting more impressions should also rack up more views, as long as your title and thumbnail are enticing enough. So if you’re not getting as many views as you were hoping for, boosting your impressions will go a long way to helping.


If you’re getting lots of impressions but they aren’t translating into views, try changing your title and thumbnail. The key is to convince people to stop scrolling and click on your video.

You’ll notice every single video you post sees a big spike of impressions in the first few days. This is because YouTube’s algorithm wants to see how many people want to click on your video and how long they’ll watch for. 

It finds this out by sharing your content with a test audience. If they like your video, YouTube will share it further. Which is why the secret to getting more impressions is to create binge worthy content, especially if it gets long views and drives likes, comments and shares.

How to get more impressions on YouTube in 3 easy steps

Image of a video ranking top on YouTube to show how a creator can get more YouTube impressions.

If you want to rack up more impressions on YouTube, you need to understand how they work. Your impressions are directly influenced by the YouTube algorithm, which is designed to match viewers with videos they’re more likely to enjoy.

The algorithm will judge your video and decide how many people’s feeds it shows up in. YouTube is more likely to share your content further if it keeps viewers watching longer and encourages more engagement. The good news is there are different strategies you can follow to keep the YouTube algorithm happy.

1. Create videos to keep people hooked

This should be your number one aim! The longer people watch your videos, the more chance YouTube’s algorithm will show it to more potential viewers. So if your video keeps people watching to the end, you’ll get more impressions as a result.

How do you get people to watch your content for longer? Find out which of your videos keep people’s attention and apply those lessons across your channel. See how to identify which of your videos are doing this with our guide to YouTube Analytics.

2. Use SEO to get more impressions

Keywords are vital to earning more impressions. Choosing the right words when titling and setting up your video will help YouTube find it a suitable audience, increasing your chances of getting impressions that’ll turn into views and subscribers.

So make sure your video titles, descriptions, and tags contain plenty of super relevant terms that’ll have you ranking higher in searches and improve your YouTube impressions. And if you need pointers on how to find the right keywords, check out our guide to YouTube SEO.

3. Interact with your audience

Engaging with your viewers should be your bread and butter anyway, but it’s a key ingredient to getting more impressions too. If your videos encourage people to like, comment and share, YouTube will recognize that they’re sparking meaningful interactions.

YouTube’s algorithm sees this as a strong sign your content deserves wider exposure, and gives it more impressions as a result. So get social, encourage conversations and make sure you’re responding to any comments.

Boost your YouTube impressions and watch your audience grow

Image of a content creator looking happy because they've learnt how to get more YouTube impressions.

Now you know racking up more impressions on YouTube simply means you’re increasing your potential audience. Which is why uploading videos that get you more impressions should become a priority.

It’s all about creating content that has people hooked, using keywords to rank your videos higher, and encouraging people to get active in your comments section. Keep checking which of your uploads are driving the most impressions and use those insights to get even more next time.

Once you’ve boosted your impressions, all it takes is strong titles and eye-catching thumbnails to turn them into video views. And don’t forget, you can unlock your channel’s full potential by getting familiar with YouTube analytics thanks to our handy guide.

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