How Does TikTok Algorithm Work – Everything You Need to Know

TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms in just a few short years, and most of us can’t remember what life was like before its addictive content we scroll through every day. But have you asked yourself – how does TikTok algorithm work, and more importantly, how to use it to your advantage and gain attention from the right audience for your brand? Worry not because we’re here to help you – let’s learn more about it.

The TikTok algorithm is a recommendation system designed to provide all users with highly personalized experiences on the app. By carefully considering various signals in the form of your interactions with this social media platform, TT provides you with videos on your For You page that are curated perfectly for your interests. The factors that play key roles in this are user interactions, video information, and your device and account settings.

Let’s Start at the Beginning – What Is TikTok Algorithm?

If you’re at least a little bit familiar with digital marketing trends, you are likely aware of the power that video marketing has right now – so if your brand doesn’t have TT, you’re missing out on so much potential for social media growth and development. But to get that, you first need to understand how this platform chooses the perfect content for all its users. 

TT algorithm is a recommendation system that decides which videos to show to every individual user, depending on their preferences and interests. These are displayed on your For You page, which is one of the most distinguished features of TT. Every user has a different FY page – this means that your friends or colleagues won’t see the same videos you see, although most people will see the same video that went viral this week.

A Great Recommendation System Is at the Root of All This

The recommendation system isn’t a new thing – many platforms, such as Netflix or Spotify, have it. While they aren’t completely the same, their basic concept is. The point is to ensure as personalized of an experience as possible for the users – TT can use your interactions with the app to figure out what you like. So, when you follow a creator, for example, or quickly scroll through some content, the system picks up on those little hints of what is liked or disliked and incorporates that into curating the perfect mix of TikToks for you. 

The TikTok Algorithm Often Seems Like Magic – As Your Interests Change, So Will the Type of Videos You See

The amazing thing about this app is that you don’t have to search much to find the content you love, even when your interests change over time. TT can quickly pick up behavioral changes and adapt to them. So, let’s say you want to make a perfect skincare routine for yourself and watch a few TikToks on this topic – TT will soon start showing you similar content, so you can find what you’re looking for. It’s amazing how technology can make our lives easy, right?

tiktok on the phone
 It seems the TikTok algorithm works like magic, but it’s oh-so-very real

How Does TikTok Algorithm Work to Bring You Carefully Curated Content on Your For You Page

So, how does the TikTok algorithm work exactly? Once you make an account and open the For You page, the app will first start showing you videos based on the information you provided when making the account – your gender, age, and interests. 

As you watch and interact with the content, TT will narrow down your preferences and start showing you better picks. The three key factors that influence what you will be shown are user interactions, video information, and device and account settings – TT has confirmed this. Now, let’s get into detail about each of these factors. 

girls filming tiktoks
 It’s time to figure out how the TikTok algorithm works and attract new people

User Interactions Play an Important Role – Similarly to Other Platforms, Such as Instagram 

Your interactions on TT are among the most important factors – if not the most important factor overall. It’s not hard to notice that this concept applies to other social media platforms as well – for example, Instagram. Interaction is essentially any action that users take on the app, and it can be positive or negative. Positive will cause more of the similar content to show on For You page, and negative means that TT won’t show you similar content anymore. These hints help the platform understand your preferences – here’s what is considered an interaction:

  • Likes, shares, and favorites,
  • Watch time for each video, 
  • Videos that are completed, 
  • Comments that you post, 
  • Accounts that you followed,
  • The content you created,
  • What you’ve marked as not interested,
  • What you reported as inappropriate. 

Of Course, Video Information Is a Factor We Can’t Overlook

If you want your content to be discovered, you can’t forget to pay attention to the information on your videos – captions, hashtags, sounds, effects, and text overlays. Otherwise, how will TT understand what your content is all about? The more you describe it, the easier it will be for TT to figure out how to rank it and who to show it to. 

Also, when you go to the Discover tab and look up some new topics, your TT will use video info to find exactly what you need. It’s easy to understand how essential this info is, especially when you think of viral sounds that can basically give a creator – or a small brand – their big break. 

SEO Can Help Your Content Gain More Views, Too

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the importance of keywords and search engine optimization on TT, so we’ll mention that as well. Similarly to other platforms and search engines, using keywords can help you reach your target audience – so be sure to do your keyword research and use all the benefits of SEO in your digital marketing strategy. 

While TT isn’t a search engine, technically speaking, relevant keywords can boost your chances of landing on someone’s For You page. Also, this type of content can rank on Google search – which means more exposure, eventually getting people to your website

girl watching tiktok
How does TikTok decide what to show you? Info on the videos is one of the factors

Device and Account Settings – Factors for Optimizing Performance

Lastly, to optimize performance, TT considers your device type and some main account indicators – country settings and language preferences. However, we must keep in mind that factors that the recommendation system takes into consideration are weighed based on their value – not all info holds the same weight.

Devices and settings on the accounts are not as crucial as the previous two factors – they hold less weight because the users don’t actively express them as their preferences. So, the recommendation system is more likely to put significance into the fact that you’ve watched an entire five-minute video in French than the fact that you haven’t selected France in country settings. 

tiktok on browser
Settings on accounts don’t hold the same weight as other factors

What Won’t TT Show a User?

When it comes to the For You page, there can be too much of a good thing – which is why TT won’t show you duplicated content. This makes sense, as it can get boring seeing the same thing over and over, no matter how trendy the sound on the videos is. The recommendation system also won’t show you content that you might view as upsetting (based on your interactions) in clusters, but it will show you a single TikTok from time to time. It highlights the importance of mental well-being on TT.

It won’t show you content you’ve already watched, but if you had positive interactions with it, you are likely to see new content from the same creator in the future – this is why users often say they’re “trusting the algorithm to bring me back.” Lastly, if you’ve marked something as “not interested,” TT will pay attention to that and avoid showing you similar content.

girl watching tiktok
TT knows what not to show its users – they surely don’t want you to get bored or upset

Tips for Making the Most Out of This Excellent Social Media Platform

How do I get my TikTok into an algorithm? For those new to TT, it might seem impossible to gain momentum and find their audience. But the good news is that, with little effort, you can ensure a sweet number of views. This is due to the fact that TT gives the opportunity to create great content regardless of the number of followers or previous viral videos. All you need to do is have a clear idea of what you want your content to be about and follow a few provenly-efficient tips that we’ve listed below. 

Stick to a Short, But Effective Video Format - These Have Higher Value

Let’s be honest – when people scroll through TT, they don’t want to focus on anything for too long. Although TT allows content as long as 10 minutes, what are the chances that someone will have patience for that? Video completion holds significant weight in the recommendation system, which is why shorter content has more value.

Use the Most Out of the First Few Seconds - Get Viewers Engaged in the Content

We all know how easy it is to mindlessly scroll through social media without giving a second thought to what we’ve seen – when the content isn’t engaging, you just don’t want to bother. That’s why you need to grab the viewer’s attention in the first few seconds and not let go. Forget the intro and get straight to the point – show the value of your content immediately, so the viewers will want to stick around.

The Moment When You Post Your TikToks Matters, Just Like on Other Social Media Platforms

You want to make sure your content drives as much engagement as possible in the first few minutes after you post it – the more engagement it gets, the more likely TT is to recommend it to others. This means that the time of the day when you post is essential – keep track of your analytics to figure out when your audience is most likely to see the content.

Don't Underestimate Hashtags, Captions, and Keywords

Some might think that hashtags are an Instagram thing, but you’ll know better – we’re here to tell you that they shouldn’t be overlooked, even on TT. The same goes for captions and keywords – don’t hold back on your words, and try to write an interesting, attention-grabbing caption with as many keywords as you can. As mentioned above, this info helps the recommendation system and boosts your chances of landing on the target audience’s For You page.

"Hack" the Algorithm by Using Trendy Sounds

This tip might go without saying, but let’s mention it just in case. Viral sounds are often the key to increasing engagement – and there are plenty of sounds to choose from. This means that, no matter what your brand is about, you can find a trend to jump on and put your own spin on popular sounds.

Crucial Tip - Find Your Niche and Stick to It

Quality of content is key, and sticking to the same subculture is just as important. Of course, this isn’t such a big problem for brands since they already have defined products and a clear goal in mind. They will know that staying consistent in one niche makes you reliable. But still, brands need to find trends and strategies that their target audience responds to well.

This Platform Can Do Wonders for Your Brand – Especially if You Have a Great SEO Marketing Agency by Your Side 

Whatever your brand is about, it can’t stay relevant without good marketing – that’s why you should make sure to keep up with the latest trends in the digital marketing world. TikTok is undoubtedly one of them, so why not use the advantages it offers? If you’re not sure how to get started, let our team at Made Online help you out. We have people who are ready to go above and beyond to make sure your brand gets the attention it deserves – are you ready to get made?

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