What is the TikTok Algorithm?

The TikTok algorithm is a system that recommends which videos will appear on your feed or For You page. The For You feed reflects preferences that are unique to each user; no two users will have an identical For You page.

According to TikTok, they define their algorithm as “a stream of videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love. [It is] powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.” 

How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?

It comes down to a few main factors: interaction, information, and settings. User interactions– such as the videos you like, the accounts you follow, the comments you post, and even the content you create–can influence what appears on your For You page. Next, video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags, can contribute to your feed. You may have interacted with several videos that use the same song in the background. Your For You page may show you more videos with that same sound. Last, your device and account settings such as language preferences or location settings may contribute to what is shown on your For You feed. Though these settings affect the algorithm, this factor is the least important of the three.

What is Not Included in the Algorithm?

Just as there are many things that influence what is shown on your For You page, the algorithm takes into account what you will not be shown. The following types of content will not be recommended by the algorithm:

  • Duplicated content
  • Content already shown on your For You feed
  • Content flagged as spam
  • Potentially upsetting content – like graphic medical procedures for example 

And for those of you new to the platform, the TikTok algorithm has your back! Of course, follower count helps with engagement and user exposure, but this does not directly affect the algorithm. Meaning that your video may be recommended to a user regardless of your follower count. Follow our list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts to help you get on the right track to showing up on the For You feed.

How Can You Use the TikTok Algorithm to Your Advantage?

Find your subculture on the app:

A subculture goes beyond targeting your demographic and into the interests your demographic may have. This helps keep your profile unique and gives you more ideas for content. 

For example, imagine you are a mother who is trying to make it big on TikTok. You may post content that revolves around your day-to-day with your children. But it is also wise to find other interesting aspects of your life to create content. You may post things surrounding your goals in health and fitness, your hobbies and interests, or even other communities you identify with. Here you can really get specific and create a community of individuals who relate to you. 

Keep time conscious:

It is important that your content is interesting and concise. Users on the For You page want quick, entertaining content to scroll through. Just like any good book, start with a hook. The faster you get to the point of your video, the higher the chance users will engage with the content and potentially give you a follow. 

Understand the right time to post your content:

Like other social media platforms, a lot can be learned about the time you are posting content. You may look at the data on your profile to find trends in the timing of your posts. You may begin to notice that Sunday mornings between 10 am and 11 am are the best time to post your content. You can then schedule posts to go live every Sunday at 10:30 am. Understanding what time of day or even the days of the week when you get the most engagement on your videos can help to organically grow your profile. For more information on tips to organically grow your TikTok profile, check out this article. 

Engage with other creators:

The algorithm will always favor those who engage with other creators. This step is simple yet effective. Try commenting on five TikToks that relate to your content each day. Other users may see your comments and give your profile a visit. TikTok also has a “duet” function on its platform. This enables users to create videos using content from other creators. For more information about dueting videos, check out this source from TikTok itself

Write good captions:

Your captions should be engaging and simple. Whether you write out a comical one-liner, expand on your thoughts, or quickly summarize your video, make sure you use the caption to your advantage. Here is also a great place to use hashtags, which we dive into in our next point.

Use hashtags:

Our last suggestion is arguably the most important. Use hashtags and participate in trends that relate to your content. Hashtags will help users find your videos, upping your chance of popping up on someone’s For You page.

For example, users who engage with food content may interact with videos using hashtags surrounding baking or cooking. You should use the trending hashtags that help categorize your content and ensure your videos are being shown to the right audience. 

Now What?

Understanding the TikTok algorithm can give you the edge you need to stand out on this social media platform and reach the right audience for you. This is especially important for creators who are using TikTok to market their brands. If you are a small business, and you still don’t know how to stand out on TikTok, our team here at Set Fire Creative can help! We offer a free consultation for anyone looking for marketing assistance.