How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work
Since its inception, TikTok has taken the world by storm. TikTok attracts influencers, brands, advertisers, and regular folks through video content relayed in short clips to the user. Have you ever thought about how these videos go viral? Much like other social media platforms, TikTok has an algorithm. This specific algorithm pushes content to TikTok users through their viewing feed.
As a business, it is important to understand the TikTok algorithm in order to strengthen engagement rates and leverage a marketing campaign. This article will provide information on what TikTok’s algorithm is, how the algorithm works, and tips for getting your brand’s content on a users For You Page.
WHAT IS THE TIKTOK ALGORITHM?
In its basic form, the TikTok algorithm is a system within the platform that makes recommendations based on a user’s preference of content. The recommendations to the user are based on user interactions, video information, and device and account settings.
For example, if you upload a video with brand content, TikTok checks the engagement with the video. The more times the video is liked, commented on, and shared the more opportunities there are that the video will land on other users For You Page. On the flipside, if you are a user that watches similar brand content, TikTok will make sure to put the content on your feed so you continue to spend time on the app.
HOW DOES THE TIKTOK ALGORITHM WORK?
TikTok’s algorithm is essentially exposed to users in 4 phases. The phases are broken down as follows:
Phase One- A small audience is tested with new content. The group is determined by hashtags, content’s analysis and current number of followers for the account.
Phase Two- A wider audience is selected and tested. This group is made up of profiles that are similar to those users that engaged positively with the content in Phase One.
Phase Three– This audience is quite a bit larger and the video appears on additional users For You Page (FYP) and is ranked higher in the FYP listing.
Phase Four– In the final phase, the video is largely distributed and exposed to the greatest number of users. The video has significant distribution amongst all audiences.
In each phase, the algorithm considers factors such as likes, shares, comments, video completions, and rewatches or looping. Each category of the algorithm can be broken down further into factors. The factors are weighted to determine what users will be exposed to. We will cover the categories and factors in depth in the next paragraphs.
Key Categories of the TikTok Algorithm and Their Factors
- User Activity
A user’s activity is a strong indicator in the algorithm for which content to place on the user’s For You Page. User Activity includes items such as:
- Accounts followed
- Videos liked
- Videos shared
- Videos added to favorites
- Content created for your account
- Video completion rate
- Video rewatches or number of loops
- Comments posted
Basically, anything an account user does to engage or interact with video content and other users of the app are considered in the TikTok algorithm.
- Video Information
Video information factors are determined by the content you are looking for on the Discover Tab and also the content you are posting. Additional factors in this category include:
- Trending topics
The TikTok algorithm takes into consideration whether the hashtags used are trending, the keywords in the caption is sought after subject matter, and if the sound associated with the post is trending and popular.
- Device and Account Settings
Although device and account settings do not impact the algorithm as much as other categories, they are still part of the equation. These factors are typically one-time settings choices that optimize TikTok’s recommendations. Device and Account Setting factors for the TikTok algorithm include:
- Language setting
- Type of device being used
- Categories of interest (chosen when a new user of the platform)
Each of the factors in the algorithm is weighted separately, meaning that no two For You Pages will look the same. They are unique to the user of that account. You may have noticed that follower count and previous high-interest videos were not listed among the factors considered in the system. That’s great news for the average user because it means that every video has the same opportunity to go viral as it works through the TikTok algorithm phases.
TIPS TO BEAT TIKTOK ALGORITHMS TO GET ON THE FOR YOU PAGE (FYP)
The TikTok algorithm is constantly changing and adapting to user behaviors. It can be challenging to hack the system and ensure that your video is on par for viewer growth. With everything we know about how the algorithm works, there are a few tips and tricks that can be used to increase video performance. Here are a few tips to optimize video performance in the TikTok algorithm and land on users FYP.
- Use a TikTok Pro Account
Having a Pro Account will allow your business to track metrics and insights for your videos. This will help guide your TikTok platform strategy. You can easily switch to a Business Account within the app by accessing ‘Manage Account’. There are two types of Pro Accounts to choose from, Creator or Business, so be sure to select the correct one. In the Business Account, choose a category that best fits with your brand.
- Find a Niche or Subgroup
The TikTok algorithm is influenced by likes, comments, and shares. You won’t find a better audience to engage than with a niche specific to your business or brand. The more you can tap into a subgroup community, the more often your video will find its way to someone’s FYP increasing the performance. This includes interacting with other accounts by commenting, liking, and sharing their content. Don’t forget your hashtags.
- Grab Your Audience’s Attention Early
Hooking your audience in the first few moments of the video is vital! The algorithm is impacted by video completion, rewatches, and looping. If you haven’t gained the user’s attention early on, they may scroll on by. TikTok users want to be entertained immediately.
- Use Trending Audio
The TikTok algorithm likes to favor content with trending sounds. If an audio is hot, make sure that you are incorporating it in your video. The audio trends rapidly change so be sure to check TikTok often.
You can check for trending sounds two ways:
- By tapping on the music in the TikTok app and reviewing how many videos have been created with the sound, or
- Use the video editor in the TikTok app and select ‘Add Sound’; the app will give you a list of what sounds are trending
- Engaging Captions and Content Accessibility
Great captions can make a world of difference in audience engagement and whether a user decides to watch a video. The caption should let the reader know why they should watch the video and have a call to action to engage with the post. A great caption will also include hashtags to increase performance.
Videos should also be accessible to a wide audience. You can add on-screen text to the video or closed captions to ensure it is accessible to all.
- Make High-Quality Videos
This tip is pretty obvious but needs to be said. Shoot high-quality video in a vertical format. Videos should always have audio. And, make the videos short and easy to consume for the viewer.
- Post at the Right Time
Post at the right time and post consistently. Depending on things like location and your audience, the best time to post may vary for your brand. You can determine what is working for your content by reviewing the account analytics. Pay attention to days and times as these can vary too! Social media scheduling tools are a great way to ensure your content is getting to your audience at the right time.
To wrap up, the algorithm is a complex system that delivers content to users based on their interests. Understanding TikTok’s algorithm is key to businesses drawing in their audience and ensuring content is viewed. This article discussed how the TikTok algorithm works and a few tips to break into the algorithm to increase video performance.
What tips have you found work best for your brand and TikTok’s algorithm?