April 12, 2024

What Are Impressions on YouTube & How to Boost Them in 2024?

Today I will impress you (ha) by teaching you what an impression on YouTube is and how you can leverage it to achieve new heights. You ready?

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Written by
Filipe Pessoa

Marketing & Sociology. Gamer and music producer.

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Every day, millions of videos are uploaded to YouTube. All with one objective, getting views. But what comes before the view? Impressions, and today we are going to be talking a whole lot about them. What are impressions on YouTube, how/where are they counted and how you can use this information for your advantage. Hey, even AI is watching YouTube (a million hours at that) so with so many eyes and so much content just where exactly does YouTube choose to count impressions? We’re learning it today and if you want to get some more impressions on your content use Framedrop to turn videos into Shorts, automatically.

What Are Impressions on YouTube: In a Nutshell

Impressions on YouTube are when at least 50% of a video thumbnail is visible to potential viewers for more than one second. To optimize your impressions and increase your click-through rate (converting impressions to views) you can:

  • Enhance Thumbnail and Title: Create compelling visuals and descriptive titles.
  • Analyze Audience Retention: Understand viewer behavior to optimize content.
  • Experiment with Thumbnails and Titles: Use YouTube Studio's A/B testing feature.
  • Collaborate with Other Creators: Expand reach by collaborating with others in your niche.

What Counts as an Impression?

Every pre-YouTuber at some point asked themselves “should I start a YouTube channel?”. Likewise, after starting, they've questioned "what exactly constitutes an impression on YouTube?". Understanding what counts as an impression on YouTube is key for aspiring YouTube creators looking to analyze the performance of their videos and optimize their content strategy. According to Google themselves (on their help page “Check your impressions and click-through rate”), an impression on YouTube is counted when your video thumbnail is visible to viewers for more than one second, with at least 50% of the thumbnail being visible on the screen. This means that if someone scrolls past your video in their YouTube feed or sees it on the homepage, the thumbnail must be displayed prominently enough for them to notice it and potentially engage with it. Impressions can originate from various sources within the YouTube ecosystem, including:

  • YouTube on computers, TVs, game consoles, Android, iPhone, and iPad
  • YouTube Search
  • YouTube homepage (includes auto-play)
  • YouTube feeds (subscriptions, trending, history, Watch Later)
  • "Up Next" recommendations on the right side of the video player (includes autoplay)
  • Playlists

It's important to note that not all instances of your video thumbnail being shown result in an impression. Impressions are not counted in the following scenarios:

  • External websites and apps (for example, links and embeds outside of the YouTube website)
  • YouTube mobile website
  • YouTube Kids app
  • YouTube Music app
  • Content within the video player (for example, in cards or end screens)
  • Email or notifications
  • Videos that play in the background tab (no visible impression)
  • Videos whose thumbnails are less than 50% visible or visible for less than 1 second
  • TrueView video discovery ads

Are Impressions the Same as Views?

Impressions vs views, an age old… well not that old but still a lot of creators don’t know how to distinguish the two. Impressions refer to the number of times your video thumbnails were shown to viewers on YouTube. It's essentially the potential reach of your content. On the other hand, views represent the actual instances where someone watched your video. So, while impressions measure how many times your thumbnails were displayed, views count the actual engagement with your video content.

Think of impressions as opportunities for exposure. When your video thumbnail appears on YouTube, whether in search results, recommendations, or on the homepage, it counts as an impression. However, a view is recorded only when someone actively clicks on your thumbnail and watches your video. So, while impressions give you an idea of how many times your content was potentially seen, views indicate the actual interest and engagement from viewers.

Turn your YouTube videos to Shorts

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What About Impressions Click-Through Rate?

Impressions click-through rate (CTR) is a metric that measures the effectiveness of your video thumbnails in converting impressions into views. When your video thumbnail is shown to viewers on YouTube (impressions), the CTR tells you how often viewers actually clicked on your thumbnail to watch the video. Essentially, it indicates the percentage of viewers who were enticed by your thumbnail to watch the video.

So, essentially, here's how impressions turn into views:

  1. Impressions: These are counted when your video thumbnail is displayed to viewers on various YouTube platforms such as the homepage, search results, suggested videos, etc. The thumbnail must be visible for at least 1 second, with at least 50% of it visible on the screen.
  2. Click-through Rate (CTR): After your thumbnail is shown, the CTR measures the proportion of viewers who clicked on the thumbnail to watch the video. It is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions, then multiplying by 100 to get a percentage. (Pro Tip: Wondering what's a good impression click-through rate on YouTube? Google says that more than half the channels have between 2% and 10%, aim for the latter)
  3. Views from Impressions: This metric tells you how many views your video received as a result of impressions. In other words, it indicates the number of times viewers watched your video after seeing the thumbnail.

How to Make the Most of the Impressions Information

Ok, so no you’re in on what an impression is. But how can you make the most out of that information? Here are some tips to help you convert impressions into views:

1. Enhance Thumbnail and Title

Your video's thumbnail and title are the first things viewers notice. Optimizing these elements can significantly impact your impressions and click-through rate (CTR).

  • Create Compelling Thumbnails:some text
    • Use high-quality images or screenshots from your video.
    • Incorporate bold, attention-grabbing text.
    • Make sure your thumbnails accurately represent your video's content.
  • Craft Engaging Titles:some text
    • Keep titles concise and descriptive.
    • Include relevant keywords to improve searchability.
    • Spark curiosity or offer value to viewers.

2. Analyze Audience Retention

Audience retention provides insights into how long viewers are engaged with your content. By understanding audience behavior, you can tailor your videos to maintain interest and increase watch time.

  • Review Audience Retention Metrics:some text
    • Identify points where viewers drop off.
    • Note patterns or trends in viewer behavior.
    • Experiment with content adjustments to improve retention.
  • Optimize Video Length and Content Flow:some text
    • Trim unnecessary segments to keep viewers engaged.
    • Maintain a consistent pace and narrative flow.
    • End videos with a strong call-to-action to encourage further engagement.

3. Experiment with Video Thumbnails and Titles

YouTube allows you to A/B test different thumbnails and titles to determine which ones resonate best with your audience.

  • Utilize YouTube Studio Features:some text
    • Access the A/B testing feature in YouTube Studio.
    • Create variations of thumbnails and titles to test.
    • Monitor performance metrics to identify winning combinations.
  • Implement Winning Elements:some text
    • Incorporate successful thumbnail and title elements into future videos.
    • Continuously iterate and refine based on audience response.

4. Collaborate with Other Creators

Collaborating with other YouTubers can expand your reach and expose your content to new audiences, increasing impressions and engagement.

  • Identify Potential Collaborators:some text
    • Research creators within your niche or related topics.
    • Reach out with a personalized collaboration proposal.
    • Cross-promote each other's content to drive traffic and visibility.
  • Leverage Collaborative Platforms:some text
    • Join creator communities or networks to find potential collaborators.
    • Participate in collaborative projects or events to enhance exposure.
    • Foster long-term partnerships for ongoing mutual benefits.

Posting Shorts can also lift your channel in the eyes of the algorithm and is a good way to reach a new potential audience you might not otherwise have the chance to. If you’re wondering “how many YouTube Shorts should I post a day” we have a whole article for that.


Impressions on YouTube are essential for gauging your video's visibility and potential engagement. Understanding what constitutes an impression—when at least 50% of your video thumbnail is visible for over a second—is super important to optimize click-through rate. Experimenting continuously to see what works for your audience is one of the factors that differs the average creators from the top ones. With this knowledge you’ll be able to increase the potential growth of your channel (and let’s be honest, after so much hard work on creating videos, you want as many eyes on them as possible). To get more impressions and views on your content short-form videos can also help tremendously - use Framedrop.ai to automatically find and transform your videos’ best moments to YouTube Shorts, TikToks and Instagram Reels.

Turn your YouTube videos to Shorts

Reach new audiences and repurpose your content with AI highlights.

Get started now!


Are impressions good on YouTube?

Impressions on YouTube are a measure of how many times your video thumbnail has been shown to viewers on the platform. While impressions indicate visibility, their goodness depends on your objectives. High impressions suggest your video is being seen frequently, which can be beneficial for brand exposure, audience reach, and potentially increasing views. However, the quality of impressions matters too. It's important that your video thumbnail and title are compelling enough to turn those impressions into actual views and engagement.

What does 1000 impressions mean on YouTube?

When you see 1000 impressions on YouTube, it means that your video thumbnail and title have been displayed to viewers on the platform 1000 times. These impressions indicate the visibility of your content. However, it's essential to note that impressions alone don't guarantee views or engagement. The effectiveness of your video thumbnail, title, and content determines whether those impressions translate into meaningful interactions with your video.

Are impressions the same as views on YouTube?

No, impressions and views are not the same on YouTube. Impressions refer to the number of times your video thumbnail and title have been displayed to viewers, regardless of whether they clicked on it or not. Views, on the other hand, indicate the number of times your video has been watched. While impressions show visibility, views demonstrate actual engagement with your content.

How does YouTube decide how many impressions you get?

YouTube determines the number of impressions your video receives based on various factors, including relevance, engagement, audience behavior, and competition. The platform's algorithm analyzes your video's metadata, such as title, description, and tags, to match it with users' interests and search queries. Additionally, engagement metrics like click-through rate (CTR) influence how often YouTube promotes your video through impressions. Factors like user location, device type, and time of day also play a role in determining the distribution of impressions. Overall, YouTube aims to show your video to the most relevant audience to maximize its visibility and potential for engagement.

Published at
April 12, 2024
Filipe Pessoa

Having a bachelor's degree in Sociology and currently getting his Masters' in Marketing, Filipe has always followed a customer-centric ethos. In 2021, Filipe was part of one of the 3 European Innovation Academy winning projects - CultureKit - as its CMO. Since joining Framedrop in August 2022, Filipe has worked on a wide array of tasks such as Copywriting, Lead Generation, Influencer Marketing and even dipped his toes in SEO.

When not working, Filipe channels his creativity into music production in his home studio.

Favorite sport: Football ⚽️

Favorite hobby: Gaming 🎮

Favorite musical artist: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard 🎸

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