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How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?

If you are a TikTok creator, one thing you must be dreaming of is going viral or being on trend in the ‘For You’ tab. There are more than a billion users on TikTok, so going viral is highly challenging, and every creator is well aware of this fact.

But what should one do to be on the trending list? Do we need to pay TikTok for it? Do we have to buy TikTok views for it? 

Probably not! 

TikTok decides what video goes to the personalized ‘For You’ tabs of individual users. And it has an algorithm to make that possible. 

Most creators are unaware of it, and their videos still have minimal views! We are here to help you change that. Let’s break down everything we know about the TikTok algorithm and be part of the trend list. 

Brief Insight into the TikTok Algorithm

The TikTok algorithm is more like a system that automatically assesses the videos from billions of creators and badges the relevant matches to be part of the ‘For You’ page. 

The ‘For You’ page is a personalized section for each TikTok user. It narrows down the recommendations very specifically as per your preferable niches. 

Suppose you like to view TikToks about cars, superbikes, racing sports, etc. In that case, most videos on your ‘For You’ page will be about cars, bikes, and racing sports. 

No two users will see similar ‘For You’ pages with a similar flow of content. Hence, you can just be amazed by how the TikTok algorithm works. But there are only a few who know about it. 

Let’s Learn How the TikTok Algorithm Actually Works!

Initially, all social media platforms were very secretive about their recommendation algorithms. It was obvious because their algorithm played the game of adding uniqueness to every platform. This is what adds uniqueness to their initiative. 

Compromising was never an option and every platform today has an algorithm! 

There is an algorithm to increase Instagram engagement, rank YouTube videos, rank websites on Google results pages, and so on. 

Earlier, no social media giant wanted scammers or hackers to tweak the algorithm and use it partially for themselves. But soon all content creators developed the curiosity to use the algorithm organically to rank themselves across these platforms. 

Therefore, the brands are now out in the open with the basic functionalities of their algorithms. And so did TikTok! 

Remember, no one knows all about it! But some key ranking signals are out in broad daylight for us to grab and leverage the maximum potential out of it. 

Here are a few understandings of how the TikTok algorithm works! 

Video Information Ranking Signals

The information you add to the video while sharing with the audience on TikTok impacts the algorithm. TikTok assesses the information on your videos to determine the category it belongs to and then finds the ones you might be interested in. This assessment also helps TikTok match your content with the preferences of others and will share it with a larger audience. 

The video information ranking signals assess information such as:

  • Captions- The algorithm tries to find relevant keywords and understand the category of the video you just uploaded. Following this, people who share similar preferences with you will get this video broadcasted in their account. If you use more relevant keywords that people often use in the ‘Discover’ section to look for content, your video might make it up to the ‘For You’ page.

  • Hashtags- Hashtag trend has been the best way of cracking the algorithm of any social media platform. TikTok’s algorithm has the assessment codes to read hashtags and sort the contents as per their categories. The users’ preferences are assessed, and the videos are shown on the ‘For You’ page.

  • Sound or Audio- When a lot of people use the same sound or audio in a short time, then the audio is considered trending. And, when you use that trending audio in your video, TikTok’s algorithm will filter it out and broadcast it on the ‘For You’ page of all who are vibing with the same audio and its contents.

User Interaction Ranking Signals

The TikTok algorithm picks its recommendations based on how various users interact with different types of content over the application. You must know that the Interactions are assessed based on what you prefer to watch more often or don’t want to watch at all. 

The recommendations on your ‘For You’ page are based on a few interaction factors that include:

  • Creators you have blocked or hidden

  • Accounts you follow

  • Videos you share or like on the application

  • Videos you have reported

  • Watch time on longer videos

  • Type of content you create

  • Interaction with organic ads

  • Comments you post on various videos

So, all you need to do is make an impression and let people interact with your account and contents you post. Make them follow you and interact with your posts. It will ensure that your videos land on their ‘For You’ page more often. 

Account Setting Indicators

TikTok algorithm has a subtle consideration of country settings, device type, language preferences, and selection of video categories. It is not an impactful part of TikTok’s algorithm but helps a user start with the platform by watching some likable videos. Later, the interests and preferences can be well understood by the algorithm and the videos they create. 

Guide to Optimize TikTok Profile And Crack its Algorithm

After reading so far, you might think it is easy to crack the TikTok algorithm. Isn’t it? Add hashtags, research trending captions, use trending audio, and that is it! 

But that might not be just it! TikTok initially broadcasts your new video to 300 to 500 random TikTok users. They will be the judges to decide whether or not your video deserves to go viral. These 300 to 500 random viewers are picked by the algorithm upon assessing the video information signals. 

So don’t worry! These random TikTok users will be the people who have preferences for watching the type of content you have produced. For instance, your superbike content will be shown to someone who likes superbikes or is a super biker himself/herself. 

If you get sufficient views, shares, likes, and video completion ratings among the initial broadcast, then the video goes viral. Video completion rating is the factor that determines how many viewers have watched your video right from the start till the end. 

To help you be the best creator in your genre, here are a few tips as your guide to optimize TikTok profile and use the algorithm for your favor organically:

1. Create Exceptional Content

The best way to beat all odds and come out shining across TikTok is by being the best in the category you chose to make videos on. The content you create should have something unique that other creators sharing the same niche lack. If you can do that, a little hashtag and caption game can make you go viral. 

2. Switch to TikTok Pro Account

TikTok has pro accounts for both creators and businesses. It is to help the users measure metrics and insights on views, engagement rate, and other growth factors on their videos. It might not be a sole initiative to help you land your videos on the ‘For You’ page, but it is essential to help you leverage the potential of the TikTok algorithm. 

You will be able to examine your current TikTok strategy. You will have details on the type of audience interacting with your profile, their active status on the application, and their content preferences. If you feel like a large chunk of your audience prefers a particular style of content you create, you can continue creating the same to increase your engagement rate. 

Here are the steps to switch your regular account to a TikTok Pro account:

Head to your profile page and click on the three vertical dots icon. You will find it at the top right corner of the application. 

top corner

Click on the “Manage Account” tab.

switch to pro account

Find the option “Switch to Pro Account” and choose the category that suits your profile the best.

pro account button

3. First Impression is the Last Impression

The first few seconds of your video will decide for your viewers to continue or scroll the video. Video completion rating is one of the most important algorithm credentials of TikTok, and if people are skipping your video, then no other practices will be of much worth. 

So, the first few seconds of your video are solely on quality. After TikTok broadcasts your video to the initial batch of users, it is the quality that will help you take that content way ahead. 

TikTok is a short-content platform, and if you spend the initial few seconds in slow build-ups, you will lose the attention of your viewers. Use creative voiceovers, sound effects, or something shocking about the genre to help your viewers stick to the video. 

Take @supercarblondie for an example. She started from scratch, and all she loved to do was review high-end supercars. Today, almost every supercar launch across the world is incomplete without her being on the ramp. And all people love about her is how she introduces the cars throughout the video. 

supercar blonde

She starts her video often with the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the car. For instance, “This is the world’s most expensive electric car!” We all love her and want to see more of her content. And this is what you should implement in your creative videos to build an ever-lasting first impression on each of your videos. 

4. Keep Your Video Length Short

TikTok, in its recent update, has expanded the maximum length of a video to 10 minutes. But longer videos have a very low chance of going viral or being part of the ‘For You’ page for thousands of TikTok users. 

The long videos you post will only be viewed completely by your profile followers who enjoy your content. Your family and friends will be the major viewers of your long-form content. When creating content to make it viral across the billions of TikTok users, you cannot test their patience with lengthy videos. 

People will either just scroll and skip your video or will slide to the last minute of your video without realizing what you tried to explain in it. As a result, the TikTok algorithm will consider your video ineffective, drop it from the trending list, and won’t rank it on the ‘For You’ page of users. 

do this way man

Create short videos more often and make them punchier. It means to land an impact on the audience in just 15 to 30 seconds. Take @khaby.lame for an example. His videos gained limelight when he started breaking down stupid activity videos and showed simple ways to do them. He doesn’t even speak for the majority of his videos. 

Article by

Mrittika Sengupta
A dedicated writer with a passion for storytelling, I craft engaging and insightful blog posts that captivate readers. My writing blends creativity with a keen eye for detail, bringing unique perspectives to life. With a strong commitment to quality content, I aim to inspire and inform my audience through every piece. Linkedin

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