How the TikTok algorithm works: Everything you need to know
These days, you’d be hard pushed to find a contemporary US business that isn’t creating content in the form of TikTok videos. From TikTok recipes to a trending dance video, posting the right TikTok video can capture just the right audience and that audience can be, well… massive.
With over 1 billion users worldwide, it can be a mission and a half to get your particular video standing out in the discover tab and to boost the follower count of your TikTok business account. You don’t want to get stuck posting the same videos over and over again and many businesses are asking us how to get results like previous high performing videos they’ve seen.
It all comes down to understanding the TikTok algorithm and making the TikTok algorithm work for you instead of against you!
What is the TikTok algorithm and how does it work?
The TikTok algorithm is the way in which the TikTok platform ranks a video and curates it for certain users. The TikTok algorithm works by looking for key data signals that help it make an assessment of your content so that it delivers content to relevant users’ feeds.
Any TikTok strategy needs to take into account TikTok’s algorithm if the business running it wants to experience success with their video content.
The TikTok algorithm considers a range of data points in its assessment of your content…
The TikTok algorithm considers the user interactions on your posted content. This includes the number of user watches, the number of likes, the number of shares, the video watch time and other user activity metrics.
This will help the TikTok algorithm make an assessment about how engaging your content is. The higher the number of interactions, the more engaging videos you’re likely posting.
Next, the TikTok algorithm is going to look at key video information signals such as the content a video is actually displaying or the music it plays.
Other video information it’s going to want to make an assessment on is the language preferences of your video and the length of your video. It wants to match the language in videos to the language preference of users and show longer videos to those who prefer them, and likewise show shorter videos to those who like short form videos in their feeds.
Device and account settings
The TikTok algorithm is going to consider the device and account settings TikTok allows a user to set. This includes yours and those of other users.
A particular user might have settings selected asking for videos curated in their feeds related to certain topics, so it’s going to consider whether yours is the right fit for that user and favor videos that meet certain criteria for certain audiences.
The TikTok algorithm is at the same time going to consider the device type most appropriate for displaying your content on!
Getting the most out of the TikTok algorithm
To make the TikTok algorithm work for you, it’s not enough to simply know how it works. You need to take practical steps towards being able to create content that is super engaging using the video editor, and navigating other key ranking signals of the algorithm to get in the ‘you pages’ of your target audience. Here are our top tips!
Get a TikTok Pro account
Step 1 is to get a TikTok pro account. A TikTok pro account allows TikTok creators to take advantage of the TikTok recommendation system that will offer a few tips for leveling up your content like trending audio, trending sounds and trending songs.
It’s also going to give you key insights such as users’ watch time on your video and the demographics that are engaging with what you’re posting. If you’re wanting to target older or younger users with relevant content, this information comes in handy!
Nail the hook of your TikTok videos
Ensuring your video gets a high engagement rate relies on getting a number of factors right. You need to create high quality videos, yes, but you also need to nail the hook of each of your videos.
What is the hook? It refers to the first few seconds of your video and these precious seconds can make or break the success of your video. Amongst all the TikTok content out there, you’ll typically find videos short so an attention grabbing intro is vital.
Engage with the caption
Too often, TikTok creators look over the power of an engaging caption. A good caption on your TikTok content can carry as much weight as those on long form videos on other social media platforms like YouTube.
In your caption, you can also include relevant keywords and relate the caption to the text overlay of your video to provide more information to users as they watch.
Get the timing right for TikTok users
With more users jumping onto the TikTok app all around the world, it’s important to get the timing right for TikTok users. We don’t just mean the length of your video, but also the time you post your video at.
TikTok’s algorithm will consider the country setting of a user to display a video at certain times of the day, but it might help to post your video at night, or over the weekend for the time zone your target audience resides in.
Ah, we love a good hashtag! Make sure you’re across the trending hashtags on TikTok and that you include these in your captions on all created videos. This will help your video end up in the ‘you page’ of users who have asked for content related to your hashtags, while also helping the algorithm rank your content higher when a certain hashtag is blowing up.
The key is recognising hashtags as they blow up and getting onto them early! Keep your eyes peeled on other videos on the platform.
No baby shark
Finally, for the love of god, no baby shark… Likewise, don’t use the same audio over and over again. Like with hashtags, look for trending sounds, trending audio or trending songs and use these where possible.
This will require you to get creative with how you create your video. Look to similar videos by other TikTok users for inspiration for your own videos!
Get in touch!
If you’re wanting your TikTok video to end up in your target audiences ‘you page’ and at the top of the discover tab, you’ll want the right people on your team. The experts at FirstPage USA not only know how the TikTok algorithm works, but how to make the TikTok algorithm work for you. Get in touch today and start trending tomorrow!