Anyone who’s spent some time on TikTok will tell you the thing that sets it apart from any other social media app is the TikTok algorithm. And the best part is the more you use TikTok, the better the algorithm gets at curating videos just for you.
In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about the TikTok algorithm. If you are a TikTok user, you need to know these things to grow your audience.
Factors That Influence the TikTok Algorithm
So how does TikTok know which videos to recommend? According to TikTok, there are several factors that the algorithm takes into consideration. Keep reading to find out.
The TikTok algorithm is very similar to the Instagram algorithm. It places serious weight on how users interact on the platform.
In other words, it looks at how you behave on the platform to understand what you might like. It considers key data signals like:
- Videos you like
- Videos you share
- Accounts you follow
- Content you create
- Comments you post
- Videos you add to your favorites
- Creators you hide
- Videos you flag as “not interested”
To further narrow down your interests, TikTok also considers how much of the video you watched. Watching a video in its entirety is a strong sign that a user is interested in the content, meaning that it carries more weight in the TikTok algorithm.
Additionally, the algorithm also favors creators whose content you regularly engage with over ones that you follow but often scroll past.
In addition to your activity, TikTok factors in the information on the video to identify the subject matter and then assess which ones you’d be interested in. It often looks at details such as:
- Captions to identify any keywords that could inform the algorithm what the content is about
- Hashtags to categorize the content and/or inform the algorithm what the video is about
- Audio such as sounds and songs to identify trending audio content and serve it to a larger audience
Device and Account Settings
TikTok also puts your device and account settings into consideration, although not to the same level as user activity and video information. It uses these factors more as a way to optimize performance and less as content recommendation signals because users don’t explicitly express them as preferences. Some of the device and account settings TikTok considers are:
- Device type
- Country setting
- Language preference
What Does the TikTok Algorithm Avoid to Show?
In an attempt to constantly optimize the user experience, TikTok excludes some content from showing up on your For You page to ensure that you don’t keep seeing the same videos or videos you’ve explicitly expressed a disinterest in.
That means the TikTok algorithm will not recommend the following types of videos:
- The content you’ve already watched
- Spam content
- Duplicate content
- The content you’ve marked as “Not Interested”
- Potentially harmful/upsetting content
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.
Keep 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 (like the example shown above), or sending them to your friends.
Keep Following 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.
Let TikTok Know When 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 to 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 the Videos That You Like 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 to a video, then tap Favorite.
Understanding how the TikTok algorithm works is one of the key ways to win at TikTok. So if your brand is planning to leverage the platform, take advantage of the tips above to make the algorithm work in your favor.
This is also an effective way for content creators to gain visibility and build influence on the platform.