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5 Things You Should Know About the TikTok Algorithm and How It Ranks Content

TikTok is the fastest-growing social media site of the last few years. Primarily focused on short, fast videos, TikTok has grown to more than 1 billion users.

One of the main reasons this site has taken off is the efficacy of its algorithm. Recommending content users enjoy makes retaining users much easier; TikTok has successfully found a solution to this issue.

The TikTok algorithm has many different moving pieces and understanding how it works is not simple. Here are some tips for understanding and working with the TikTok algorithm to expand the reach of your content.

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What Is the TikTok Algorithm and How Does It Work?

What Is the TikTok Algorithm and How Does It Work

Social media apps require algorithms to show engaging content to users. TikTok is no different, and it has one of the best algorithms in the social media world.

The process works by profiling your activity and recommending content that fits within it. TikTok takes into account every video you view and compiles data based on the videos you like, comment on, and seem to enjoy.

The algorithm also takes into account the captions you read, the sounds you enjoy listening to the most, and the hashtags you follow.

TikTok also monitors how long you spend watching and replaying videos, and it uses this information to steer you to more videos like it you’d most likely enjoy. With every video you watch, TikTok gains a new piece of information about you and reacts accordingly.

How Does the TikTok Algorithm Determine What Content Is Shown?

How Does the TikTok Algorithm Determine What Content Is Shown

TikTok considers nearly every piece of information the user generates when using the app. This includes:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Saves
  • Time spent on each video

While most algorithms focus on likes and shares, TikTok invests a lot of time in seeing how long you watch a video. Every second that you spend rewatching, TikTok is making a note of it.

TikTok’s algorithm is considered to be one of the most powerful on the market. In some studies, TikTok’s algorithm successfully learned a user’s interests in two hours or less.

Are There Ways To Manipulate or Game the TikTok Algorithm To Favor Your Content?

Are There Ways To Manipulate or Game the TikTok Algorithm To Favor Your Content

A key focus of the developers of the TikTok algorithm is to ensure all factors that influence recommendations are not able to be gamed. With this in mind, it is still possible to get your content out there by using some simple tips:

  • The first few seconds must be eye-catching. This guarantees that someone will be more inclined to finish watching the video.
  • Share and link to other social media sites. By linking other social media sites, the visibility of the video becomes more pronounced.
  • Original and well-produced content is more likely to grow. If you’re doing the same thing everyone else has done, it isn’t going to gain traction.
  • Interacting with views helps growth. Talk to viewers in the comments. Get a conversation moving. This can help your video rise to success.

What Are the Risks Involved with Trying To Game the TikTok Algorithm?

What Are the Risks Involved with Trying To Game the TikTok Algorithm

There are some risks involved when trying to game the TikTok algorithm. The most obvious risk when trying to “win’ at TikTok is the potential waste of massive amounts of time.

TikTok now has over 1 billion monthly users, and getting your content lost on this platform is very possible. TikTok screen time per user is an average of a whopping 26 hours a month!

This means that users are having to sift through millions of videos, and it can be extremely difficult to get your content seen, even if you are providing quality content.

According to the official TikTok guidelines, negative consequences can be imposed if an account is caught trying to game or manipulate the algorithm. Anyone caught trying to artificially increase views, likes, followers, shares, or comments will be subject to TikTok’s Integrity and Authenticity reprimand.

What Are the Best Steps You Can Take to Ensure Your Content Is Shown to Users on TikTok?

What Are the Best Steps You Can Take to Ensure Your Content Is Shown to Users on TikTok

Consistency and quality is the easiest way to reach a wider audience. Engaging with your audience also grows your profile due to more users commenting and liking. Here are some more tips for boosting your content:

  • Add hashtags. By adding hashtags, the algorithm can detect what kind of video it is and recommend it to others who are following the hashtag. Hashtags also show up in search results, so it’s important to take advantage of hashtags. If you’re interested in making content based on trends, you can check out the trending hashtags under the “Discover” tab.
  • Keep it short. Even though TikTok has increased the total time of video creation to 10 minutes long, the best videos that end up on the FYP are almost always 30 seconds long or less. Keeping your content short will allow your viewers to watch it over and over again, which adds to your views.
  • Hone in on your audience. On TikTok, there’s an audience for literally everything. Identify your niche and start making content for it. By identifying your audience, you’ll be better equipped to deliver original content.
  • Try a duet. A duet is when you take an already popular clip and stitch it together with your own. You can provide commentary, sing along, or make funny dialogue. Either way, using the duet method increases your chances of your content being seen, especially if you are dueting with a popular clip.
  • Know an influencer? Team up with them! Bringing other people to your TikTok can greatly increase your views.
  • Never forget the caption. Always, always add a caption. By being strategic about what you write, it can cause viewers to watch your video to the very end. Your caption is a free space for you to pitch your video.

I hope you’ve learned a lot about the TikTok algorithm. I’d love to know your thoughts on how to get your content seen on TikTok. Share your favorite tips related to understanding and working with the TikTok algorithm in the comments!