TikTok is widely applauded as the app that is known for making content creators go viral overnight. It has become the seventh most popular social media channel despite being relatively new.
What’s more, it boasts a user pool of one billion active users, which makes TikTok a massively valuable channel for content creators and marketers alike.
Sure, most people use it for its fun and entertaining bite-sized video content. But that doesn’t mean you can’t easily use the app for showcasing your product or service.
In fact, take it from other brands. From fashion names like ZARA to fast-food restaurants like Chipotle, several have jumped on the TikTok bandwagon.
So in all fairness, any savvy marketer would tap into TikTok’s potential. Why? Because if you crack the TikTok algorithm, you’re bound to get more and more attention on the app.
Fortunately, TikTok hasn’t been silent about how its algorithm works. Translation: you can work with the algorithm to reach a huge audience.
So, let’s talk about the TikTok algorithm today – what it is, how it works, and how you can hack the TikTok algorithm. Follow along.
What is the TikTok Algorithm?
The TikTok algorithm works as a “recommendation system” that determines what goes into users’ For You pages (FYP).
Each user’s ‘For You’ feed is different, customized according to their specific interests. In fact, along with what you find interesting, the FYP also takes into account what you don’t find interesting.
So to make sure your For You feed matches your mood, the algorithm keeps learning your habits and interests. This means over time, your TikTok feed changes along with your interests.
To put it briefly, the TikTok FYP algorithm makes sure the stream of videos on your homepage is highly personalized to your likes and interests.
How does the TikTok algorithm work?
When TikTok first became a hit, more and more people were attracted to it because it could make regular people go viral.
The most interesting bit? Going viral on this platform didn’t require you to have thousands of followers previously. It also didn’t mean you’d have to spend days on days making sure your account had enough engagement to pop up in other users’ For You feeds.
This quality of TikTok made content creators curious, so they started thinking about how to go viral on TikTok? What does the TikTok algorithm look at to pull out videos and put them in FYPs? The answer definitely wasn’t limited to the number of shares only.
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Finally, TikTok gave an idea of what its algorithm keeps track of. Wondering how does the TikTok algorithm works?
Here’s a look at the factors that influence the TikTok algorithm 2022:
1. User interactions
The first thing that the TikTok algorithm looks at is how you interact with the creators and videos on the app. To explain, TikTok notices which accounts you’re following, which you’ve hidden, and which you interact with by leaving comments.
As for videos, it sees which videos you like, share, comment on, add to your favorites, and watch till the end. Additionally, the algorithm also keeps an eye on the videos you mark as uninteresting or inappropriate.
Along with your interaction with other creators and their videos, TikTok learns your interests from the content you create and how you interact with ads.
So, it’s not like a video’s engagement rate doesn’t matter at the platform – it does. However, it’s not all that counts, so read on.
Related Read: Instagram Algorithm In 2022: How To Beat It?
2. Video information
The second factor that the TikTok algorithm is based on is the content that you search for. It tracks what type of topics you are searching for and watching. This means TikTok captures information such as the hashtags, captions, and sounds that you enter in your Discover tab.
3. Device and account settings
Finally, the location and language that you set when you first make your TikTok account also signal the algorithm about what type of content to show you. However, since you only set your account once initially, this last factor doesn’t have as much influence on what the TikTok algorithm puts in your FYP as the first two factors.
How does the TikTok ‘For You’ Feed Work?
As we’ve already discussed, lots of people join TikTok with overnight success on their minds. However, this type of success is only possible if your videos appear in the For You feeds of several users. Naturally, that would give you a lot of engagement which would bump up your content, pushing that video into more and more FYPs.
The question remains, though: if you don’t have enough engagement or enough followers, will you be able to rise up in the For You feed?
The answer to this is simple. Yes, you do have a chance. In fact, this is what makes TikTok different than other social media platforms.
The thing is: the TikTok For You page algorithm doesn’t look at two things when it comes to pushing a video in FYPs:
- Follower count
- Likes and shares on previous videos
This means that even if you are a new TikToker, you can still go viral on the platform if you create quality content that resonates with the audience. That said, the aforementioned factors do give a boost to your chances of going viral because when you have more followers on the network, more people are actively seeking out your content.
One more thing to keep in mind here is that some factors are more influential on the TikTok algorithm than others. For instance, a strong indicator of your interest is the type of videos that you watch till the end. This means that the video completion rate really matters.
On the other hand, where you’re located is a weak indicator of interest. So, even if you and a content creator are located in the same country, you wouldn’t get their videos if the type of content that they post is of little interest to you.
Content that Algorithm doesn’t recommend
Now while we have talked about how do TikTok views work, there are also a few types of content that the algorithm doesn’t recommend.
- Already watched videos
Once you have already watched a video, TikTok won’t put it in your For You feed again. This makes sure that your feed is always fresh.
- Spam content
TikTok makes sure to filter out spam content.
- Upsetting content
Lastly, the platform doesn’t promote upsetting content such as unpleasant graphic videos.
How to Hack the TikTok Algorithm in 2022
By this point, you should be well aware of the factors that impact TikTok’s algorithm and those that don’t.
So, let’s move to the juicy bit: how do you beat the TikTok algorithm?
Also read up on YouTube Algorithm
It’s not that tough if you do everything to send the TikTok also signals to catch and broadcast your content on the FYPs of interested users. Below are some tips to help you with exactly that:
1. Use trending hashtags
The key to being searchable on any social media network, including TikTok, is using trending hashtags. So, you need to search for hashtags that people are interested in.
How can you find trending hashtags? That shouldn’t be too difficult. Just go to the Discover tab and look for hashtags that have a fire icon beside them. This fire icon signifies that the hashtag is popular these days.
One heads-up, though: Don’t make the amateur mistake of using a hashtag that is trending but does not relate to your content. Moreover, avoid using generic hashtags as those are only going to take up caption space without doing much good for you.
2. Make videos to trending sounds
Even those who don’t use TikTok come across music that has become popular on the video app first. This alone shows how much TikTok is about hopping onto audio trends.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to dance to a trending sound if that doesn’t fall in your niche or isn’t your thing. You can make videos to trending sounds in other creative ways too.
To find music that is gaining popularity on TikTok, go to the app’s video editor. From there, go to ‘Sounds,’ and you’ll have a list of top trending audios.
If you come across a music bit that you like, save it for making a video on it later by adding it to your favorites. To do this, simply click on the sound at the bottom of your screen. You can also get an idea of how popular this particular sound is by checking out its view count.
3. Write enticing captions
Short and sweet – this is how your captions need to be on TikTok.
Unlike other social media applications, TikTok restricts caption length to just 300 characters. And in these 300 characters, you’re not only supposed to add your caption but also put in your hashtags.
So, unsurprisingly, you’ll have to keep your captions very enticing. After all, a compelling caption encourages viewers to watch your videos.
Want to write an attractive caption? Add a question to it, crack a joke, or give a quick idea of your content.
Look at how Innocent Drinks has done this in its TikTok below. Alongside a relevant and catchy joke, the team has added three hashtags as well.
4. Niche down
Pick what you’re good at and make TikToks on that subject. This way, as you create content in one niche consistently, the algorithm and fellow TikTokers will see you as an expert on that topic.
For instance, if you’d like to share videos on parenting, don’t deviate from your niche. Make content that teaches parenting, and to grow your videos’ visibility, add relevant hashtags. As the strategy makes you more recognizable and you come off as authoritative, your exposure will multiply.
But your goal should always be to provide value to your followers. This value can be in the form of educating your audience or simply entertaining them.
@Koosha is a good example here. They’ve mentioned their niche in the bio and share videos that mostly fall in their niche.
The takeaway? Before you even make an account on the app, decide on what type of videos you will post and in which niche. Will you give makeup reviews, share fitness tips or talk about pet care? Think about it, plan, then dive in with your content production.
5. Post at the right time
The best time to post on TikTok is when your audience is present. As you’d expect, this differs for different creators as it depends on factors such as your location and when your audience is likely to use TikTok.
To find the best time to post on TikTok, go to your account’s analytics. There, your Follower Activity will give you a quick look at when your audience is most active. Make notes for each day and keep re-tracking this important detail.
Keep in mind that on public holidays your audience might use the app at different times. Just be sure about when people interested in your niche are less likely to be busy and more likely to be awake.
To make things easier, you can also plan your content for the week. You can then add all your videos to a scheduler like ContentStudio so that your TikToks are published at the right time each day without delay. This helps you stay punctual and takes work off your plate on busy days.
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6. Make high-quality videos
This one is a no-brainer. Needless to say, if your video quality is poor, you’ll have a hard time making it to the For You feed.
So what should you keep in mind when shooting videos? Do you need an expensive camera to get started? Not at all. Shoot videos using your phone camera but make sure the lighting is good.
Here are more proven tips:
- Use effects. You can find trending effects in the Effects menu.
- Keep the sound on. TikTok is all about great background audio.
- Use text treatments. This will make your content more comprehendible.
- Make short, easily consumable videos. While you can make 3-minute-long clips, stick to 15 seconds maximum.
- Shoot vertically. Vertical videos take up more screen space which makes them easier to digest without having to rotate your smartphone.
See how WorldFoodProgramme has done this in the TikTok shared above. They’ve used text treatment, an effect, and music present in the app in their vertical video to hit the bullseye.
7. Get chatty in the comments
Remember how we mentioned that the more engagement on your videos, the higher the chance of getting a boost in the FYPs? So, another tip for working with the TikTok algorithm is to create engagement.
One way to do that is by talking to people in the comments section.
Start by asking a question after posting your content. Then, reply to the comments that you receive to spur up a conversation. And no, don’t just leave vague replies all the time. In better words, instead of adding an emoji, leave meaningful comments.
8. Collaborate with other TikTokers
Influencer marketing is all the rage these days. It’s an effective way to increase brand awareness and sales. The good news for you here is that TikTok is a great place for collaborating with influencers.
In fact, TikTok has an impressive 18% engagement rate with micro-influencers. The TikTok community also appreciates brands that partner up with creators, as 63% like seeing TikTok creators in brand videos.
To begin with, connect with creators in your niche by commenting on their posts. You can also make comments in the form of videos.
For instance, Forever 21 here collaborated with influencer @alexisren to reach a wider audience on TikTok.
What’s more, you can use tools and tactics such as Stitch and Duet to interact and collaborate with TikTok creators. Stitch is a tool that enables you to slip in bits of another TikTok video on your own. On the other hand, with Duet, you can record your own video alongside another TikTok.
Want to beat TikTok Algorithm in 2022?
To sum up, working with the TikTok algorithm 2022 takes you many steps closer to being a hit on the app.
Some great ways to go about this include using trending hashtags and audios, as well as other TikTok tools such as text treatments, effects, duet, and more.
And don’t forget to make sure you shoot vertically and in good lighting to attract maximum people.
So, what are you waiting for? Jump on the trend train of TikTok. To make things easier, use ContentStudio to plan, schedule, and analyze your TikToks.
Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. She crafts research-backed blog posts and articles for small businesses and app companies who aim to employ quality content to educate and engage with their audience.