How To's

How To Get More Impressions On YouTube

Vukasin Ilic 10 min read
Table of Contents

There are so many metrics to keep in mind when building a fanbase and publicizing your work on YouTube.

One of the most important of these measurements are impressions.

Views, likes, and subscribers are all more known metrics, so what are impressions?

Impressions are when a YouTube user sees your video’s thumbnail for over one second. 

Knowing this value can help you determine how visible your video is and why you're getting as many or as little views as you are.

In this guide, you will learn how to get more impressions on YouTube, understand how impressions work, why they’re important for your channel, and reasons why you struggle to get your video in front of an audience.

With my framework, you’ll be able to implement new strategies that will get your video placed exactly at the right spots.

Why Do YouTube Impressions Matter?

The reason why impressions are so important is because they give you insights into how visible your videos are.

They are literally the first step in getting your content viewed, and this first impression (pun intended) can make or break your channel.

Impressions are counted when the thumbnail of your video is viewed or shown on someone’s YouTube page for over a second at over 50% visibility. You’ll have gained one impression for each time this happens.

One second may not sound like a lot, but you'd be surprised at how fast a human brain interprets and stores information. Much of it happens subconsciously, but as a creator, you have a number of ways to influence user's reaction to your content.

The number of impressions and a corresponding CTR (clickthrough rate) for your videos are directly linked to the thumbnails and titles of your videos.

Engaging or intriguing images are more likely to generate impressions and very much influence whether a user would click through to watch your video.

A higher clickthrough rate influences whether YouTube will further promote your videos. That leads us to a logical conclusion; increasing impressions and increasing CTR can define how fast your video will be able to take off. Or if it will even happen.

So, if you’ve ever wondered why certain videos don’t get many views, the first step would be to check how many impressions a video gets and what is the CTR of that video.

If you have a high number of impressions, it’s likely that YouTube is recommending your video to other users.

You can see that videos above that are in the recommended section all have a ton of views.

It doesn't come off as a surprise; most of these videos have very engaging thumbnails, very intriguing titles and likely have a good CTR, as well.

So, when a YouTube puts these videos in front of new audiences (increasing videos impressions), these videos tend to do well, resulting in more views. That puts in motion another cycle; videos doing well get promoted even more by YouTube.

But my focus today is not on these videos or showing you how they manage to get high number of views.

It's all about how to make the right first step - giving YouTube a reason to display your videos thus giving you impressions, and how to make the most of your chance to convert random users into your raving fans.

In a case when you have low impressions, there is likely a few reasons why.

I'll go over them in a bit.

Where Do Impressions Count?

Impressions are counted according to views of your video thumbnails. However, they are only counted in certain places. Here is where you gain impressions:

  • YouTube’s homepage (browser and app)
  • YouTube search results
  • YouTube playlists
  • YouTube recommendations

And here are some places that won’t count towards your total impressions, but can still help in gathering views:

  • Embedded videos on other websites
  • Social media links
  • YouTube’s Kids and Music apps
  • YouTube’s mobile website (different to mobile app)
  • Emails
  • Notifications
  • On-screen cards
  • Video player end-screen

Why Do You Have Low Impressions on YouTube?

There are a few reasons why you can have low impressions on YouTube:

  • Your views are coming from outside YouTube.
  • Video's topic is not hot and interesting at the moment.
  • Video is unsuitable for a larger audience.
  • Your videos tend to perform bad on average.
  • You are still a small-time creator.
  • Video's title and thumbnail are non-engaging.

As mentioned before, you can gather a lot of views from outside YouTube that won’t be counted towards impressions metric in your analytics.

If your video is embedded on other websites or shared a lot on social media, you won’t naturally gain any new impressions for it.

However, that is usually not the case for a majority of new creators. The reason for low impression usually lies in one or more very important factors, and my goal is to try and dive deep into each one of these.

To give you a preview, my framework would focus on helping you realize how to make your videos engaging in all forms, specifically focusing thumbnails and titles.

Like the ones Mr Beast uses on his channel

But to also help you realize how to choose topics that are suitable, how to get yourself included in trends and how to optimize your videos to make sure YouTube knows how to rank them or where to place them exactly.

Before I dive deeper into the framework, you should also be aware that YouTube may not be promoting if you are a small-time creator.

If you started your channel a couple of weeks ago, you need to give it time. Period.

How To Get More Impressions - Here's The Secret Sauce

Now that you know what impressions are and how they influence your channel, you should learn how to apply a proven framework to start generating more.

The Riches Are In The Niches

Figuring out your niche is what will make you stand out from the crowd.

Some creators feel like they need to always follow trends, but that is not the best advice. Niching down and becoming an expert around one single thing (that generates enough interest) can prove to be more valuable than anything.

And by realizing what your niche is and building expertise in it, you can create the most valuable content and earn a loyal following of people who trust you.

Aside from knowing enough about the things you talk about in your video, you also need to get to know the person on the other side who is watching your content.

Figure out what their interests are, what makes them tick, what are their fears, desires, goals and values.

This will get you further than 99% of creators, guaranteed.

Understand The Type of Content Your Audience Needs

Some advice, huh? I've done plenty of consultations with YouTube creators, and I can't tell you how often creators don't understand who their audience is and what type of content they need to create.

This part of the framework is all about reminding you to think about who your audience is and what type of content you are trying to serve them.

The first and most critical way to think about this is to figure out if your content is search material or browse material.

What does that mean?

Search material content is the one that heavily relies on gathering impressions and views from the YouTube's search algorithm.

These are most often the videos focused on a single topic, most likely a "how to" topic related to solving a specific problem.

These types of videos get most of their views by managing to rank high. The higher they appear in YouTube's search results, the more impressions they get.

The better they optimize their title and thumbnail, the better they convert those impressions into views.

And that's why if your video's topic is search material, you need to make sure the content you are creating, and the way you are optimizing it is focused on that.

On the other hand, if your content is browsing material, then you are more likely to rely on making your title and thumbnail more clickbait-y. The main focus would be on finding ways to stand out in the sea of videos from the YouTube's homepage or sidebar recommendations.

Optimize For SEO

To further build onto my earlier point, for content that is search oriented, your best bet is to rely on optimizing the shit out of your video for YouTube's algorithm (excuse my language)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important nowadays that you probably hear about it all the time.

Creating videos for YouTube requires optimization on many levels. You should figure out the most important keywords (what your audience is searching for) and add them to your:

  • Titles
  • Descriptions
  • Tags
  • Videos


Video titles need to be catchy, intriguing, or engaging to get as much attention as possible. (Un)fortunately, we all know that clickbait titles tend to work the best, but they do come with their own downsides, so be mindful when using them.

Aside from making titles attractive, you should use keywords and phrases in the title, as I mentioned above.

When optimizing a title, think about how YOU search for videos you’re interested in and then write your titles with that in mind.

What many creators do is analyze their own behavior.

They search on YouTube using keywords related to their own channel, and then observe what "pulls" them towards specific videos.

These pulls are always going to be related to the structure of the title, its attractiveness, intrigue, description and the thumbnail.

There's only a few things you can influence at the end of the day, but there's a lot of nuance behind all of these factors.

For example, if you are creating a video about great music of 2022, you wouldn’t just make title “great music”.

You should be more specific. “The 50 Greatest Songs of 2022” is going to stand out because it has important keywords.

It's also a tad controversial; who decides what are the best songs, what criteria and why did you pick one song over the other. This is going to spark interest and engagement, which plays right into your hand as a creator.

Tell me you are not being drawn to click on the above video. And if you do and actually visit the video, you will notice that a creation of it was extremely simple.

All we have here are 40 songs going one after the other. Now, this type of video may garner a lot attention, but keep in mind that it is not monetizable type of content.

Video Descriptions

The same goes for descriptions as for titles.

Videos can be picked up because of keywords present in the description of your content, so give a good explanation of what happens in the video using words and phrases that users would search for.

The best creators out there know how to aim for a perfect balance between optimizing for users and optimizing for algorithm.


While titles and descriptions can include keywords in a phrase, tags are made up of precise words that are going to get your video noticed.

With tags, you should use plenty of keywords, but make sure not to go overboard.

YouTube will block videos with too many tags because its algorithm will realize the creator is keyword stuffing for more attention.

Also make sure to only use relevant tags. If your video is about making an Irish stew, include tags like “irish”, “stew”, “lamb”, “potatoes”, “recipe”, “cooking”, etc.

Don’t add “harrystyles” or “worldcup2022” just because they’re trending. Even an algorithm knows that Harry Styles isn’t an ingredient in a stew.


You’re probably aware that YouTube can “listen” to the content that’s posted on the platform.

It’s how videos using unauthorized, copyrighted music get blocked. What’s less-known is that it can listen to keywords that are said in the video.

When making content, use some keywords in the first 30 seconds or so.

For example, if you’re creating a video about comparing guitars, say so in your intro.

You can even mention some of the guitars that you’ll be reviewing.

Be very clear and intentional on the premise of your video. That way, YouTube will have a perfect understanding of what the video is about, and you increase the likelihood of being picked up.

Stay Consistent

As always, consistency is key when creating content. You need to be consistent in two ways:

  • Consistent quality
  • Consistent posting schedule

If the quality of your content isn’t consistent, you lower the chances of being regularly picked up by YouTube’s algorithm.

Without being recommended to other users, it’s very hard to achieve the number of views you may be hoping for.

Posting content consistently will also make a big difference to your impressions.

Creators who have a regular schedule for posting videos are also chosen by the algorithm to be recommended more often.

Focus on crafting great content and posting it on a fixed schedule. Your impressions will increase and so will your views and subscribers.

And this might seem like an extremely simple advice; but creators most often struggle with being consistent. We can easily say that consistency is the key to success in the creator's game.

Create Engaging Thumbnails & Titles

How many times have you seen two thumbnails on your recommended list and chosen the one with the more striking image?

Your videos are competing with the millions of others that are uploaded on a daily basis. Your thumbnails are what will make your videos stand out.

There's a lot of psychology behind creating a perfect thumbnail. There's also a ton of common advice people often forget; majority of creators edit and create videos on their computers. That leads them to forget that over 70% of YouTube content is viewed on mobile devices.

A simple conclusion: your thumbnails need to be clear and engaging when viewed on a smartphone.

Thumbnails that include people, contrasting colors, and striking graphics tend to get more impressions than others. 

You can also choose a distinct theme that your audience will recognize you for.

Finally, you can tease expectations. Include a phrase that will intrigue users.

They will want to understand what you mean and click on your video. You’ll have turned an impression into a view just by giving some more focus to the thumbnail and title of your video.

Bottom Line

Learning how to get more impressions on YouTube is an important part of your role as a content creator.

Do you keep track of your impressions? Feel free to share your experiences with other readers in the comments below.


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