Youtube has a sophisticated mechanism for determining to view.
This means that not every page refresh or replay of a video is counted as a separate watch. Also, you should keep in mind that the exact algorithm by which the video platform reports views is not officially known. The reason for this is trivial - not to attempt manipulation.
In order to provide adequate data on the number of views of a video, YouTube tries to determine whether a session comes from a real person or from an automatic script, also known as bot traffic.
Bot traffic is an imitation of real human visits. Usually, there is behavior that resembles a real-life user action. In 2020, it is a whole turn to determine whether viewing is real or due to a bot.
For this reason, YouTube monitors every movement while we're on the page. For example, if a user pauses, comments, likes, shares, or otherwise interacts with a video, it most likely comes from a real person. Bots are not intuitive, because it takes a lot of hardware to perform a lot of activity, which greatly increases their existence.
Also, YouTube is trying to determine if a watch is realistic by monitoring the duration of each view. Thus, if many users watch a video for exactly a few seconds and there is insufficient evidence (interaction with the content), YouTube does not report a watch.
In terms of looping songs, YouTube decides for itself whether the repeating should be counted as separate viewing.
YouTube has sufficient protection against fake comments by analyzing their content. If they are similar or contain links or spam text, YouTube not only filters them but also deletes their creator and its profile.
YouTube does not always count views when the video's auto-start feature is available and is embedded on external sites.
YouTube has a reason to strictly count views as it offers paid advertising.
When an ad is displayed on a bot, it does not generate revenue in the first place and then spends on advertisers' budgets, and they do not get results. That's bad for the business.
Why doesn't YouTube show live views?
As the video platform analyzes every potential view, more time to process is required. When uploading a video, YouTube records information about the device, IP address, viewing time, content interactions, and so on. Later, when technically possible, it validates this data. That's why we often see 301+ views. Because the data is stored in YouTube's database, but it is not processed yet.
The more real views YouTube reports, the more often the counter is updated.
If you notice differences in the number of views when you enter the video page and beyond, this is completely normal. The views that show when we are not on the video page are their total number - including those that came from sites where the video was embedded.
The number of views is not the most important indicator, but the duration of the viewing.
Why you might ask?
Assuming a video is 4 minutes long, if a viewer watches only 20 seconds of it, then he or she will probably see up to three ads. However, if it looks 120 seconds, the ads served will be 6 times more. The more ads appear on the screen, the greater the chance for the user to become interested and interact with them. In addition, not all ads are CPC-based (cost per click). Some advertisers pay to show their ad as many times as possible (cost per mille or cost per view).
So the real indicator is duration of viewing.