In the ‘90s we witnessed the birth of the internet, in 2004 along came Facebook, and now, in 2020, there is TikTok.
TikTok has carved a name for itself in the crowded social media space, becoming a worldwide phenomenon. From cooking tutorials to DIY home decor, dancing videos, and more, TikTok truly makes us feel like we can do it all. For this reason, there’s nothing like the feeling of posting your latest masterpiece only to wake up in the morning and see the 7 views and 4 likes it has received. Pure disappointment. This is why I have taken my TikTok fame into my own hands – attempting to better understand the TikTok algorithm to help all of us receive the kind of love and attention that our videos deserve.
From your favourite Hype House member to your best friends’ grandpa, the app’s ability to entertain is undeniable. However, like any digital platform, there is a method to the madness. This blog will share what we know about the TikTok algorithm and highlight the factors that determine how well your video performs.
@analisseworldHip hop Betty and Veronica 😂♥️ @katttrod♬ Do It – Chloe x Halle
I must start by prefacing that the TikTok algorithm is not as simple as some of our other favourite social platforms out there, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to improve your reach and engagement. From the time you post to your background music all the way to the lighting, there are a million small factors that affect your video’s success.
The first, and arguably most important, concept to understand is how TikTok feeds your content to its users. The most basic way to understand the TikTok algorithm is by breaking it down into two sections:
First, TikTok receives a video and releases an initial push to viewers. Once this is done, the TikTok algorithm gives your video a performance rating. This consists of how many shares, comments, and likes your video receives during its initial release. The TikTok algorithm then measures how much of the video is watched in contrast to how many likes it receives, triggering the platform to show the video to more people.
Your TikTok feed is ultimately divided into two experiences, your “Following” and the “For You” page. While the following page may let you see what your friends are up to, the For You page is the ultimate way to increase your visibility and potential variability. This is a good time to note that not only can TikTok propel you to stardom, but can also be a great marketing tool. The endless stream of curated content isn’t only addicting but specially catered to posts from users, creators, and companies alike, that you interact with.
So what does this mean? Simply put, according to the TikTok Algorithm, the For You page is the first step in winning the TikTok lottery.
Landing on the For You page means that your video will be visible to an unlimited number of users. he first way to get there is by using the right hashtags. If you’ve ever wondered why so many of your fellow TikTokers include the use of hashtags like #foryou #foryoupage #FYP, this is the exact reason why.
As Vice points out, no one truly knows the answers to the For You page algorithm or if the hashtag theory holds true, but judging by the most popular hashtags and the correlation of their view to like ratio it seems to be a good starting point.
Not only does the For You page hashtag theory seem to aid in one’s viral success but the TikTok algorithm seems to favour other popular hashtags that are trending. When you hit the discover tab, TikTok allows you to see these trending hashtags and their viewership, proving that certain hashtags can be favoured within the app. If your hashtags don’t relate to your post and what’s going on outside of the TikTok walls, odds are they aren’t going to be trending, so make sure to check out some of the top trending hashtags before making your post public!
Personally, I don’t think #dogsofitiktok should ever stop trending.
@hankthegoldenBanana duo ##dogs ##mydogs ##fyp ##dogsoftiktok ##dogs♬ Banana (feat. Shaggy) – DJ FLe – Minisiren Remix – Conkarah
Next up, and maybe equally as important is your caption. The TikTok algorithm tends to pick up on digestible content. This means that it is a content-first based platform, and by keeping the captions short, viewers are more likely to stick around for the entirety of the video. How much of your video is watched is then taken into account by the algorithm before being pushed out to a second, wider range of viewers.
Thirdly, TikTok’s background music is another way to optimize your discoverability. Trending music is a key contributor to your video’s success. Similar to the hashtag theory, you can see what songs and sounds are trending, which may result in a boost of viewership and engagement.
Lastly, a great way to boost your reach and engagement is by filming a duet on one of your favourite TikTok creator’s videos. Odds are the creator you interact with, along with their followers, will be more likely to see your content. This translates into a better chance of getting flagged by TikTok’s algorithm and remaining on the For You page longer! So whether you enlist a friend for support, or take to a solo duet, this is a great way to get noticed, produce some engaging content, and grow your following!
@mynameisalex.french##duet with @charlidamelio :)))♬ Sweet and Salty – goalsounds
SO, now that we have a better understanding of the TikTok algorithm if you’ve ever asked yourself if TikTok fame could be in your future, the simple answer is yes! With over 1 billion users, TikTok fame is not that unattainable, and with strategic content creation that is relevant, trending, and engaging, you may just be the next Charlie D’amelio waiting to be discovered.