For most of us, the TikTok ‘For You’ page (or FYP as it is known), is an exotic destination that we want to travel to at least once in our lives. But it often seems like it is out of reach.
Well, I’m here to tell you that this is a definitely achievable goal. You just need to understand how the TikTok algorithm works. So, let’s get started, shall we?
What Is The TikTok Algorithm?
All social media platforms have an algorithm. So does TikTok. But what does it actually do?
Just like the explore page on Instagram, the “for you” page is filled with videos that you might like. Each person’s FYP is different and personalized to their tastes. This is what the TikTok algorithm does. It analyzes your likes and dislikes based on your activity, and decides which videos to recommend to you. Think of it as a personal curator!
But what if your preferences change over time? The TikTok algorithm picks up on it and will show you videos based on your new tastes! Isn’t that cool?
The algorithm is very specific, too. Let’s say you enjoy videos of unboxing laptops and laptops only. It will show you only those videos, and not unboxing videos of other gadgets (say, phones or desktop computers).
Why Is The TikTok Algorithm So Good?
TikTok’s algorithm is so good that you might even mistake it for a friend. It knows you better than you know yourself, and keeps you entertained with a plethora of personalized curations. So, how did it get to be so good?
The TikTok algorithm tracks your activity continuously, giving it real time information about your content preferences. Another advantage that this platform has is its short-form video content. Since the videos are very short, a user is likely to watch at least 15 videos in one go. This gives TikTok more information to collect about them.
To understand this better, let’s compare it with Netflix. Here, in one session, the user is likely to only watch one episode of a series. So, there’s less amount of information to be collected. But, in the same amount of time, a user can watch several videos on TikTok, which allows the platform to gather more data quickly.
This is the reason the TikTok algorithm is so good!
How Does The TikTok Algorithm Work?
Until recently, TikTok algorithms were a mystery. Speculations on how to get on the “For You” page were abundant. TikTok finally decided to put an end to this by revealing how the algorithm works in a press release.
The platform uses several factors to decide what goes on your FYP.
- User Interactions. Your likes, comments, shares, follows, creators you hide, the videos you add to your “favorites” and the ones you flag as “not interested.”
- Video Information. This includes the hashtags you use, whether you use trending songs for your videos, and also how helpful your captions are in letting the algorithm know what your content is about.
- Device and Account Settings. Your device type, language preferences, and your country of residence.
These are the information that the TikTok algorithm collects to decide what to display on your FYP. And yes, even your device and account settings play a role!
The algorithm is actually very intelligent. It assesses whether you liked a certain video by noting down how much of it you actually watched. If you watched the video entirely, it is highly likely that you enjoyed it. If you watch similar videos, all of them in its entirety? That’s a definite sign of you being interested!
On the other hand, if you skipped a video after watching it only for five seconds, the algorithm will take it as a sign that you didn’t like it much.
The sounds and songs used in videos also matter. If the song is trendy or popular, the algorithm is more likely to put it on people’s FYP because it already knows that a large number of people enjoy it.
Apart from showing you videos that you will like, it also hides certain types of content from you.
- Videos you’ve already watched
- Videos reported as spam
- Duplicate content
- Content you’ve marked as “not interested”
- Potentially harmful/ upsetting content
Again, this is based on your past activity as well.
The TikTok algorithm sounds amazing, right? I wish I could have an algorithm like this that would tell me what decisions to take. *sigh*
Tips To Beat TikTok Algorithms To Get On The “For You” Page
Now that you know how the algorithm works, it is time to use that to your advantage and get your videos on the “for you” page.
Before you start, switch to a Pro account. You can do this in settings. This will help you view analytics and tweak your strategy accordingly.
Here are a few actionable tips for you:
- Choose a niche and focus on that niche.
Just like Instagram, it is important to stick to a niche because the algorithm focuses on the subject matter as well. When you consistently create videos in the same niche (say, cooking), the algorithm will recognize your account as a cooking TikTok. This will increase your chances of being featured in FYP.
- Use proper and relevant hashtags.
As with any other platform, hashtags are key. You need to use a perfect balance of trending and niche hashtags. Remember, all the hashtags should be relevant to your content.
And no, using generic hashtags like #foryou, #foryoupage, and #fyp isn’t really going to work. Here are some tips on how to find trending TikTok hashtags.
- Keep your videos short.
Since TikTok decides people’s preferences based on whether or not they watch the whole video, keeping your content short could really work in your favor.
People are more likely to watch short and engaging content till the end. This way, you’ll have a higher chance of getting your coveted spot in the FYP. In fact, most FYP videos are 60 seconds or less.
Of course, don’t forget to make sure your videos are high-quality. I’m talking both about the quality of the content and the video itself. Nobody wants to watch badly shot grainy videos. I mean, would you?
- Add engaging captions.
Your captions should speak directly to the viewers and entice them to watch the video. Add a little mystery and intrigue to it. Tease at what’s coming.
For example, let’s say you’re posting a beautiful video about a sunset from an exotic location. Your caption could be something like “this view changed my life..”
Don’t forget to add hashtags to your captions!
- Use trending songs.
TikTok has this amazing feature where it lets a user conduct searches based on songs. It also boosts videos that use trendy songs and audio. So, use it to your advantage! Don’t worry, you don’t have to post videos of you dancing to these songs. Find trendy songs that work well as background music for your video and post them!
You can find trending sounds by opening the video editor and navigating to “sounds.”
- Make the first few seconds of your video count.
The first 3-5 seconds can make or break your video. In that short span of time, you need to hook viewers and give them a reason to keep watching. So, make it count!
- Post during the times when your audience is most active.
They are more likely to see and engage with your content that way. If you don’t post during peak hours, you run the risk of your followers missing your posts entirely.
You can use TikTok analytics to determine when your audience is most active.
- Engage with others.
This is one of the most important parts. Whether you are a brand or an individual, engaging with your followers and other people from your niche gives you an advantage.
Followers feel more connected with content creators who engage with them. This also shows that you care about them.
There you have it! The secret of the TikTok algorithm. Use it to your advantage, and you’ll be featured on the FYP in no time! Before you go.. don’t forget to share this article.