Anyone who’s spent some time on TikTok will tell you the thing that sets it apart from any other social media app is its algorithm. And the best part is the more you use TikTok, the better the algorithm gets at curating videos just for you. That’s a large part of why they’re able to boast some of the longest use times, primarily because users are getting content that is likely to resonate the most with them.
So, what does all that mean for content creators? It means you have to learn how the algorithm works. That way, you can tailor your videos to ensure you’re getting maximum results. All that might sound daunting at first, but keep reading. This article will explain how TikTok’s algorithm works and what you can do to outperform it.
How the TikTok algorithm works in 2021
The key to all social media is discovery. How do you find new content that is relevant to all of your interests? The answer is in the algorithm. For TikTok, the discovery feature is located on the For You page, which curates videos across its entire user-base and shows you the ones it thinks you’ll enjoy most.
How the algorithm decides what goes on the For You page
TikTok has never publicly shared what all goes into its For You algorithm. But it has made the statement that it’s based on user preferences and account history. It is probably safe to assume that this includes the following:
- Which videos you engage with
- The types of accounts you follow
- How long you watch videos
- The content of the video and the caption
- Account and device settings, such as where you’re watching from.
How the algorithm evaluates your video
When it comes to individual videos, TikTok’s algorithm considers the obvious factors, like views, comments, and likes. But it also takes a few other metrics into consideration:
- Number of repeat views
- Video completion rate
- How far into the video users are watching
- Hashtags and keywords used in the caption
How to get the TikTok algorithm to favor your videos
If you’re hoping to discover how to help your videos perform better, luckily, there are a few fairly easy strategies you can use.
Make shorter videos
You’ve already read about how completion rates can impact the performance of a video. So, ultimately, the shorter the video, the more likely users are to finish watching it. And even if they don’t complete it, they’ll get farther along in the process.
Hashtags and keywords are another great way to find videos on TikTok, and they help the app figure out what’s happening in a video. In turn, this allows TikTok to figure out what videos users want to see on the app.
Use trending effects and music
Very similar to how hashtags work on TikTok, if you use a trending audio file or filter effect, it becomes more likely that your video will get famous on TikTok. People often search for videos based on the song or the effect used.
Don’t delete old videos
Most people think the For You page strictly contains new videos, but that’s not true. Sometimes, old videos can really take off on the platform for various reasons. As a result, you never know what videos will gain traction — or when. So you should always leave your videos online and never delete any of them.
How to customize your TikTok For You page
Again, TikTok’s algorithm is always learning and constantly changing how it curates content. So, if you want to help really filter in your For You page, here are a few things you can do to customize that page.
Engage with videos
Engagement truly is king. And one of the surefire ways to help customize and curate your For You page is by engaging with various videos. You can do that by liking them, leaving comments, or sending them to your friends.
Follow new accounts
Another great way to customize your For You page is by following new and different accounts. Say you only follow comedy accounts on TikTok — that’s pretty much all you’re going to see on the For You page. Spend some time on the Search tab and find some new influencers to follow.
Tell TikTok you’re not interested
Just as helpful as telling TikTok which videos you like is telling it which ones you don’t like. Thankfully, TikTok gives you the option to tell it when you’re not interested in a video. All you have to do is press and hold on a video to bring up the menu. Then, when you tap on Not Interested, it will give you the option to hide videos from that user or videos that use the same sound.
Add to your Favorites
As opposed to just liking a video, you can also choose to add it to your Favorites, which is just a public-facing tab on your profile. And because of that, keep in mind that TikTok tends to give your favorite videos a little more weight in your algorithm. To favorite a video, just press and hold on a video, then tap Favorite.
Having the best experience while using TikTok all depends on the algorithm. But the good news is, whether you’re a consumer or a creator, there are many ways to help guide it. In other words, you’re not entirely at the whim of what the social media platform’s AI thinks your tastes might be!