May 15 2023
The TikTok algorithm is notoriously tricky.
Social media is no longer about posting whatever, whenever. There is an art to achieving success.
Getting to grips with a platform’s algorithm is crucial. It is responsible for what content is shown on a person’s feed and, from a brand’s perspective, determines which people are most likely to engage with it by displaying it to an appropriate audience.
In the past, we’ve delved into the Instagram algorithm and even the Instagram Reels algorithm, but in today’s hot seat is the world’s most talked about social media platform, TikTok.
The TikTok algorithm works so flawlessly that it keeps users hooked on their For You Page for hours. But how does it do this?
This blog will not only tell you how, but also reveal ways in which you can work with it to give your content a fighting chance of beating the myriad of competing content that awaits.
One of the most interesting things about the TikTok algorithm is that it doesn’t rely on a user directly indicating whether they like something through a thumbs up or a save in order to decipher which content to feed them. Uniquely, it actively tests its own series of predictions by examining a user’s response to the videos it thinks they’ll like.
Ever scrolled through your FYP and wondered how you ended up seeing gymnastic content or hairdressing videos? The TikTok algorithm is constantly working overtime to learn what type of content a user likes and engages with and what they prefer to ignore. If it thinks you like Formula One it will begin showing you videos of supercars and gauge your response to them before showing you more similar content. This is why there is an endless stream of content on the FYP. The algorithm wants to learn everything about you to give you the best experience possible!
TikTok now shows you why a particular video was recommended to you in your FYP! ✨ #tiktoknews #socialmedianews #tiktokfeature #fypexplained #greenscreen
In the past, social platforms would keep their algorithms a secret. This makes sense since a platform’s algorithm is what makes it unique. But in recent years sceptics have arisen questioning how their interests and behaviours have been tapped into by said platforms. This has forced many social media heads to be more transparent about their inner workings. Fortunately for us, this means we now know some of the key ranking signals the TikTok algorithm uses. They are as follows:
The TikTok algorithm bases recommendations on a user’s interactions with content on the app. What kind of interactions?
Video information signals are based on the content you actively seek through Discovery and Search. This can include:
The TikTok algorithm recognises a user’s device settings (language and video) when deciding who may be interested in a video.
Some of the device and account settings picked up by the algorithm are:
Trending sounds and songs are to TikTok what hashtags are to Twitter. They are crucial to a user’s experience. The TikTok algorithm knows this and categorises content based on what trending audio a user either engages with or uses in their own content.
The following are NOT recommended by the algorithm:
As the saying goes, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. The same applies to social media algorithms. From a creator’s perspective, working with the TikTok algorithm, rather than against it, is a sure way to boost performance and encourage growth, but what does this look like exactly?
The nature of the TikTok algorithm makes finding existing communities to engage with, crucial. This is because, unlike other social media platforms where people spend their time engaging with accounts they already follow, TikTok users spend 70% of their time on the FYP discovering new accounts/content. If you can use the FYP to tap into a new community, you’re then likely to be amplified to the correct audience from then on.
Some of the top communities currently circulating TikTok are:
love these books so much🏻 #fyp #booktok #bookclub #bookrecs #books #read #bookhaul #sadbooks #sad
Shower cleaning 🤩 #cleantok #cleaningtiktok #cleaning #showercleaning #showerclean #shower #cleanwithme #cleaninghacks #cleaningmotivation #asmr #asmrcleaning #asmrclean #momcleaning #fy #fyp #foryou #momsoftiktok #asmrsounds
Understanding your niche will allow you to create content that connects authentically with the relevant audience, enhancing credibility, brand loyalty and gaining even more exposure for your brand. TikTok users want brands to take this approach, with 76% of them saying they like it when brands are part of special interest groups.
TikTok’s algorithm is prepped and primed for search engine optimisation. Its endless stream of content means almost every question typed into the search bar is met with a result. SEO relies heavily on keywording, a practice that all TikTokers can begin to incorporate into their content through hashtags, on-screen text and captions. Just like Google, TikTok will prioritise content that makes the most use of this keywording practice.
Using hashtags is a great way to categorise your content, but using relevant hashtags that incorporate keywords will signal to the TikTok algorithm what your content is exactly about. For a more in-depth look at TikTok SEO strategies, click here.
As previously mentioned, the TikTok algorithm does not favour low-quality content. This isn’t to say you must go and buy the latest, most expensive equipment. Your phone quality will more than suffice, as long as you pair it with good lighting, a decent microphone and some above average editing skills.
TikTok allows for videos to be anywhere between 5 seconds to 10 minutes in length, however, experts suggest always ensuring your videos are over 10 seconds to leave a lasting impression.
TikTok also suggests users make the most of its built-in features like trending effects and text treatments, as these are capable of boosting your chances of appearing on the FYP.
Tiktok editing tutorial, if you are thinking of editing Tiktok videos in the app this is going to be super helpful for you. Learn video editing #videoediting #editing #tiktokediting #howtoedit #editingtutorials
Active engagement is a key ranking signal of the TikTok algorithm, therefore you should be posting when your audience is most active. Click here for more information on how to find out more about your audience’s online activity and the best times to post on TikTok.
Unlike other social media platforms where a polished image gets you far, this isn’t the case on TikTok.
A set of key ranking signals TikTok uses to determine which content makes it to a user’s FYP.
What are the algorithms top ranking signals?
In 2023, TikTok bases recommendations on a user’s interactions with the content it provisionally shares.
TikTok uses the key ranking signals (mentioned above) to further suggest content it believes a user is most likely to interact with and like.
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