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How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work in 2022?

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How does the TikTok algorithm work? The entire world knows that it is one of the most popular social media platforms these days. As such, it’s no surprise that many users want to learn the secret to becoming TikTok famous.

However, popular TikTok influencers will say they don’t have a magic formula. What they hold dear is the knowledge of making the TikTok algorithm work for them. And that’s what we are here to talk about today.

What Is TikTok Algorithm?

The TikTok algorithm is a system that determines which videos should appear on a user’s For You page or FYP. This system dictates that video recommendations constantly change, so every TikTok account has a different set of clips to watch.

Typically, social platforms do not broadcast their algorithm to their users as part of their marketing strategy and trade secret. Your account settings, including your device type, are considered part of the algorithm.

According to TikTok, videos recommended on the For You page are based on how you interact with the platform. It also said that a profile’s follower count does not directly affect whether or not that user’s videos show up on your FYP. To understand it better, you will want to look at how does TikTok algorithm work.

how does the tiktok algorithm work

How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?

The recommendation system used by many social networks is a proprietary technology that makes them unique. Such an algorithm is a social strategy used by these sites to catch people’s attention, drawing them into their platforms.

Factors Affecting the TikTok Algorithm

When people started having doubts about how these social platforms work, most of them exposed the basic mechanics of their algorithms. In a nutshell, you will find several factors that play big roles in deciding which videos show up on your feed.

1. User Interactions

Like the algorithm of other social media platforms, TikTok recommendations rely on one’s interactions with the app’s content. The more views and interactions your TikTok video receives, the more likely it will reach a larger audience.

In simple terms, the For You page suggests content based on user activity. These includes:

  • Accounts you follow
  • Your posted comments
  • Your liked or shared videos
  • Videos added to your favorites
  • Types of content you create
  • Creators whom you have hidden
  • Videos you are “not interested” in
  • Videos you reported are “inappropriate”

2. Video Content

TikTok categorizes content depending on the viewer’s interests. That is why the subject matter is essential to your app ranking. The following video information signals depend on the content you check on the Discover (now Friends) tab:

  • Caption keywords
  • Effects
  • Hashtags
  • Sounds
  • Trending topics

3. Device and Account Settings

Although these one-time settings have minimal impact on how does TikTok algorithm work, the platform still uses these details to improve your personal experience.

  • Country setting
  • Chosen categories during sign up
  • Language preference
  • Type of mobile device

4. Audio

Every time you use a trending song or sound in your video post, the TikTok algorithm categorizes it according to its content. The platform will also use this information to serve and recommend your video to relevant audiences.

Choosing to use trending sounds and music is one way of reaching new viewers and followers. In doing so, the platform’s algorithm is more likely to recommend your video to other people engaged with the same trend.

  • Contents you have already seen
  • Duplicate account
  • Spam content
  • Upsetting content like graphic medical procedures
  • Follower count
  • Previous high-performing videos

How To Change TikTok Algorithm To Your Advantage?

New content creators want to reach their target audience and have their videos recommended to their target market’s For You pages. Here are some pro tips that might just make you master how to change TikTok algorithm:

1. Switch to a Pro account.

TikTok has two pro accounts: one for content creators and another for business. Having a Pro account does not guarantee more views or recommendations to the For You page. However, switching to one is essential to mastering the TikTok algorithm.

That’s because a Pro account gives you access to metrics and insights you can use to guide you through your TikTok journey.

When creating visual content your target audience would like, consider other direct factors. You must truly understand your target audience by knowing when they are active on TikTok and what kind of content they enjoy.

2. Find your sub-culture.

It is vital to find existing subcultures or communities to engage with because most TikTokers spend more time on the For You page. If you can interact with an existing subculture, there is a possibility that TikTok will direct you to the right audience.

Understanding your subculture will help create the right content that will impact TikTokers. Luckily, subcultures or communities are grouped according to hashtags, which we’ll talk more about later.

3. Maximize your first moments.

Because TikTok moves fast, ensure that your videos can hook your audience from the onset. Try to grab the attention of your viewers by creating fast-paced content like a pro, starting with powerful emotion.

4. Be engaging with your caption.

You can only use 150 characters for your TikTok caption and hashtags. That’s why you have to give your caption a lot of thought. It must be encouraging enough to draw the audience in and watch your video.

Using engaging captions will help increase your video completion and engagement ranking signals to the TikTok algorithm. Write captions that will spark curiosity from the viewers. You can also ask questions to start a healthy conversation in the comments.

5. Create high-quality videos.

Making low-quality content will not help with your goal of getting recommended to the For You pages. Your mobile phone is the only tool you need to create an original TikTok video.

There’s no need to invest in fancy equipment. However, you need to invest in a good microphone, decent lighting, and editing skills. Remember that videos shot in 9:16 vertical format have a six-second watch-through percentage of 25% since they take up more screen real estate.

Create videos that your viewers can play with the sound on, as most TikTok users attest that sound is essential to the content. Tracks with the highest view-through rates are the fast-track ones with 120 or more beats per minute.

Also, don’t forget to utilize TikTok’s built-in effects and text treatments to keep your videos aligned with the platform. Your videos are more likely to get on as many For You pages as possible. You can check TikTok’s effects menu and experiment with what is trending for a great algorithm impact.

6. Post when your audience is active.

The active engagement of your audience with your content is a major signal to the TikTok algorithm. How do you know when your audience is active? Now is the perfect time to use the analytics feature of your TikTok Pro account and check your content strategy.

Check the days when your posted video got the most views. Also, look up your follower activity.

Although TikTok has confirmed that your follower base does not directly impact the algorithm, you can still check other details about them. Check on their location, the time when they are most active, and more. It will help you connect to your viewers better.

7. Interact with other TikTokers.

Most users said they associate more with brands that interact with other users’ posts. Keeping the interaction alive on your posted videos increases the engagement signals to the TikTok algorithm.

There are other unique ways for you to interact with other users, like Stitch, Duets, and video replies. A Stitch is a TikTok tool allowing you to clip and combine moments from one creator to yours.

Duets are not just for singing. It allows one user to record a comment on the original video of another creator in real-time. Video replies to comments let you make new video content based on questions or comments on your previous posts.

TikTok’s default setting lets other creators use your content and make Duets and Stitch videos. You can change your privacy settings if you don’t want other creators to use one or all of your content. However, changing those settings will also limit interaction with other creators, decreasing your chances of getting discovered.

8. Use the right hashtags.

Using the right hashtags helps advance your content in the algorithm. There are two hashtag types commonly used by TikTokers. Creators typically use hashtags like #foryoupage, #foryou, and #fyp, hoping to appear on the For You pages of viewers.

Although there’s no confirmation from TikTok that this strategy works, you can still see creators continuously using these hashtags. You may also use a popular hashtag in your caption. Look for trending ones by going to your Discover (now Friends) tab and choosing Trends.

Hashtag challenges are another way of using this option to tap into the TikTok algorithm and create new content. More than half of creators disclosed that they support brands and companies more when they participate in or initiate new TikTok trends and challenges.

Another way of searching for a relevant hashtag is by region. You can filter that option in the TikTok Creative Center. There is even a business hashtag option for small companies to support independent entrepreneurs.

A high percentage of active users prefer brand videos using trending or popular songs. Participating in trends and challenges will give you better chances of showing up on the For You pages. How do you know which songs are trending and popular at the time?

At the bottom of your TikTok home screen, tap the + icon, go to the Record Video page, and select Sounds from the list. Then, go to your TikTok Analytics tab under the Follower tab to know the trending sounds for your specific audience.

How To Get Into the TikTok Algorithm

The TikTok algorithm, like any other social media site, is constantly changing and adapting to users’ behaviors. For this reason, you will need to continuously find ways to boost your account’s performance to increase your ranking.

1. Hook your audience in seconds.

Having your viewers watch your video fully helps boost your algorithm’s interest indicator. Typically, TikTok likes easy-to-digest content with a seamless loop, suitable for viewers with a short attention span. Therefore, you must get your viewer’s attention within the first few seconds of your video.

Most active users have limited time on their hands, even for entertainment. Thus, they will not spend too much time watching long content.

Usually, viewers will finish a full-length video if it has an intriguing hook. Some would even watch it on repeat. If this scenario plays out regularly, it will send triggers to the TikTok algorithm, which will then share your video with more users.

2. Focus on a niche.

Consistently sharing videos about a particular niche allows the TikTok algorithm to see your expertise. This will help the platform decide if your content is worthy of being recommended to the right audience. Once you have chosen a niche, constantly add keywords to your video content and captions to trigger the algorithm.

As mentioned earlier, the TikTok algorithm favors videos with trending sounds and audios. Scroll through TikTok and look for repeated audio clips and songs. You can check the music to see how many users have created a video using the sound.

Alternatively, you can go to the video editor and open the TikTok Viral tab. Then, tap on the Sounds button to see the list of trending audio tracks.

4. Experiment with the latest TikTok features.

With TikTok, it is best to try out new ideas and be a beta user to get more engagements and interactions with your content. This means you always have to be up to date with the latest TikTok algorithm update.

Be on the lookout for up-and-coming tools and features, and try to use them on your next post. Typically, TikTok would highlight the new features you used to edit your video whenever you post.

5. Engage with creators under the same niche.

It should not be called social media if you will not socialize with other users, especially those in your niche. Make it a habit to start a conversation and reply to comments to boost your engagement. These interactions act as a gauge for the TikTok algorithm to notice your account and content.

6. Create accessible content.

Another useful TikTok algorithm hack is creating accessible content, which will make your content and account more inclusive. You can achieve this by adding on-screen captions and text. Posting accessible videos allows more people to engage and view your content.

7. Make shorter videos.

Creating TikTok videos can be as short as five seconds to as long as 10 minutes. However, it is best to shoot shorter videos, around 12 to 15 seconds, to keep your viewers engaged.

Ten-minute videos offer more opportunities to be creative and be a storyteller. However, TikTok favors short content, as confirmed by most users. The platform algorithm rewards content watched in full. Therefore, making shorter videos are more logical and rewarding for the creator.

8. Don’t delete old content.

TikTok videos can go viral even after days and weeks past their posting, so keep all your content in your account. Also, be consistent in posting new videos with hashtags, effects, or trending sounds to get more chances of landing a spot on the For You page.

If one of your old content goes viral, you will have plenty of similar videos in your library that users can engage with.

how does the tiktok algorithm work

Can You Reset the TikTok Algorithm?

The TikTok algorithm is good at detecting what you like, making this a popular social media network, much like Instagram. However, there are times when the algorithm can’t identify your preferences.

Most users know that the only way to refresh your account is to create a new one. In reality, there are some tricks and tips that will help you reset the For You page.

Clear Cache

Typically, clearing the cache is the first step. The cache is a software feature in your gadget where you store data, making it easy to access in the future. To clear cache, open your TikTok app and go to your profile. Under “Settings and Privacy,” go to the “Free up Space” option and click on “Clear” next to cache.

Dislike Videos 

Every time you like a video, you inform TikTok that you want to see more of the same content. Similarly, you can also dislike videos.

There is no actual dislike button on the app, but you can inform TikTok that you are not interested in the video showing up on your For You page. You can do this while on the For You page by doing the press-and-hold technique on a video.

On the pop-up menu, choose “Not interested” so that TikTok will stop recommending and showing you the same content. 

If you want to elaborate on why you dislike the content, click on “More” and provide your reason. Additionally, you can hide the video coming from a particular creator or conceal any clip using the same sound.

Unfollow Accounts

To reset the algorithm, particularly on the For You page, the last thing you can do is unfollow accounts. You can do this by going to your Profile page and ticking on “Following.” Scroll through accounts you follow and start unfollowing them.

You will not see a significant change on your TikTok account right away, but you will notice changes in the algorithm over time. Indeed, informing TikTok what you like and don’t like can significantly affect how does the TikTok algorithm work.

TikTok Algorithm 2022 FAQs

1. Is there a TikTok algorithm update?

TikTok now allows users to make and upload 10-minute videos instead of the previous three-minute limit. According to its management, longer videos are easier to monetize than short clips. It is also the app’s preparation for competing with other social networks like YouTube.

2. How to go viral on TikTok?

Although not everyone succeeds on TikTok, some tips may help you get more views and engagement. Here are some you might want to try:

  • Stay ahead of trends.
  • Let your creativity shine.
  • Post timely videos.
  • Make short videos.
  • Use popular hashtags.
  • Encourage interaction.
  • Do cross-promotion on your other social media accounts.
  • Post consistently and regularly.
  • Collaborate with popular creators.
  • Use trending audio.
  • Incorporate humor into your content.
  • Know your audience.
  • Use TikTok’s tools to your advantage.
  • Be controversial.
  • Use a strong call-to-action at the end of your video.

3. How does TikTok gauge its effect?

Have you heard of the “batch effect?” It is a well-known theory among creators that TikTok shows a video to a different batch of individuals at various times. The decision to share the video with more people depends on the reaction of the first batch.

Videos with more views, reactions, and interactions are shared with a bigger number of batches. Showing the same video to a different batch of viewers may take days. That’s why some creators notice a significant spike in the number of views for their videos.

4. Do TikTok effects and filters help increase views?

TikTok creators use effects and filters to enhance their videos and make them more engaging to their audience. Some analysts noticed that TikTok seems to prioritize videos using the app’s tools, especially those currently trending.

5. How does TikTok personalize the For You feed?

The For You feed shows preferences exclusive to each user. It will recommend content based on several factors. Some of these factors include your chosen preferences during sign-up and what you are currently interested in.

6. How many views do you need to go viral?

What is considered viral according to TikTok users? There is no exact number of views for a video to be considered viral. Generally, videos with more or less 250,000 views belong to the mildly viral category.

Videos reaching a million views are considered medium viral. If you reach five million views in three to seven days, you are officially a TikTok viral sensation.

How Does TikTok Algorithm Work?

Talking about the TikTok algorithm 2022, we focused on the For You page and its feed. The TikTok algorithm uses a recommendation system to deliver content to each user, creating a unique FYP for every account. This page offers personalized content based on a user’s profile, location, and previous video interactions.

These are just some of the factors TikTok considers when choosing which content to recommend to your account. If you want to boost your TikTok ranking, try experimenting using today’s tips.

Uday Tank is a serial entrepreneur and content marketing leader. He has a wide variety of interests and enjoys writing, including marketing, productivity, business, health, diversity, and management.