The TikTok Algorithm Explained + Tips to Go Viral

The TikTok Algorithm Explained + Tips to Go Viral

Learn all about how TikTok algorithm works and how you can make your content go viral with tips and tricks to work in 2024, avoiding myths like a pro.

Have you ever wondered why some videos go viral on TikTok in a day, and some never catch fire? This secret mechanism that makes your content go viral is the TikTok algorithm. Every piece of content that appears on the user’s For You Page is monitored by the TikTok Algorithm and is strictly per the user’s interest.

Wondering how does TikTok Algorithm works?

You are looking for a neat and direct answer, aren’t you? The truth, my friend, is a bit more complex. Finding the formula behind the TikTok Algorithm is like catching smoke with bear hands. And, being an industry giant, TikTok knows how to keep its cards closed.

Probably its because, like every other social channel, TikTok Algorithm is also not perfect. But that does not mean you should stop enhancing your stretagy. TikTok is a rich ground for getting the online presence you are looking for. So, while you search for ways to reset TikTok Algorithm and appear on more For You Pages, you will actually gather valuable insights to enhance your reach on TikTok organically.

But first, let’s begin with the basics.

What Is TikTok Algorithm?

The TikTok Algorithm is a mechanism that works with Artificial Intelligence and creates a personalized For You Page, showing you the content that you are most likely to engage with. So whenever you wonder how TikTok reads your mind, it is because TikTok has a machine learning algorithm that constantly analyzes user behavior.

Every user’s For You Page (FYP) is unique based on their preferences, location, language, following, likes, dislikes, and more. When a new user enters TikTok dimensions, the feed starts showing them content based on the people’s interests in the same demographic.

The TikTok algorithm is never the same for two people or a single user; it shifts as their preferences change. When a user engages with something new, the algorithm catches it, feeds it into the formula, and shows them that type of videos.

So, when you are looking for what is TikTok algorithm, there is no definite answer. Like every other social media algorithm, the mechanism keeps changing from time to time, adding and subtracting elements to suit every user preference.

How Does TikTok Algorithm Work?

After learning about the TikTok algorithm and its importance in going viral, you must be wondering how does TikTok algorithm works. What factors matter the most, and what does not play any significant role in it?

TikTok Algorithm

We can not say that TikTok has been completely transparent about its algorithm, but over the years, it has revealed some of the factors that have proven to affect content reach.

TikTok algorithm takes note of thousands of signals; a few of the factors that influence the algorithm the most are given below:

Ranking Signals that Influence TikTok Algorithm

The primary factors influencing the TikTok Algorithm are user interaction, video information, and device and account settings.

Key Ranking Signals for tiktok

These factors are responsible for the algorithm’s ability to match the content with the users’ preferences precisely.

1. User Interactions

The most impactful aspect that can affect TikTok Algorithm is the user interactions. This includes the engagement part and beyond that.

It clearly identifies the user’s interest in the type of content they want to see the most based on their interaction and engagement.

  • Accounts and creators they follow
  • Videos they like and share
  • Videos they mark as not-interested and not-appropriate
  • Videos they mark as favorite
  • Comments they have posted
  • Creators they have hidden
  • Content they have created
  • Videos they watch toward the end or rewatch
  • Interest in organic content or ads

Based on these factors, your video is pushed by TikTok Algorithm for views. So, for creators and other users, it is vital to create content that aligns with the audience’s interests.

2. Video Information

After analyzing user interactions, the TikTok algorithm moves toward checking the content in the video user have interacted with and identifies the subject matters with the help of the following factors:

  • Sound
  • Hashtags
  • Caption keywords
  • Effects
  • Cover text

3. Device and Account Settings

Device and account settings are not as influential as the above two. They are usually set up manually by the user as per their preference from day one. These factors are basic setting a user set up on their account, based on which algorithm shows them the content.

  • Country settings
  • Language preference
  • Device type
  • Interested categories

In the official article published by in 2020, TikTok itself stated, “A strong indicator of interest, such as whether a user finishes watching a longer video from beginning to end, would receive greater weight than a weak indicator, such as whether the video’s viewer and creator are both in the same country.” However, the weightage of each one in the TikTok algorithm was not explained.

Factors that Do Not Influence TikTok Algorithm

Unlike other social media algorithms, TikTok does not recommend content based on the number of followers or high-performing past videos. This means that even if you are new to TikTok, you can go viral by creating high-quality videos showcasing good content.

TikTok Algorithm 2024 is not affected by account age, posting frequency, and paid promotion. This suggests that to stay relevant and popular on TikTok, you must consistently create engaging content.

Types of Content TikTok Algorithm Never Recommends

Before the TikTok Algorithm actually pushes your content to more and more viewers, it runs a quality and authenticity check itself. And, if your content falls in any of the below categories, TikTok will not recommend it to the audience:

  • Anything against TikTok community guidelines
  • Spam content
  • Duplicated content
  • Already watched content
  • Not interested/not appropriate content
  • Under review content
  • Unsafe and offensive content
  • Low-quality, blurry videos.
  • Content shared by below 18 users

Signals impacting and not impacting the TikTok algorithm explained above can help you create a strong strategy that aligns with your viewers’ expectations and increases your chance of going viral.

13 Expert Tips to Hack the TikTok Algorithm in 2024

Understanding how does the TikTok algorithm works and beating it to the core is every creator and brand’s dream. It’s like cracking the secret code to the best TikTok strategy.

Here are 12 tips by the experts to help you charm the TikTok algorithm and generate higher reach.

1. Switch to Pro Account

If you have a pro account, you have better insights about your content performance. Pro accounts get access to TikTok analytics, which helps them understand their growth.

TikTok analytics

This data is demonstrated on a weekly and monthly basis, also giving insights on followers’ growth and providing you with every possible detail about your performance.

2. Stick to Your Niche

Finding your niche is like picking your favorite theme and becoming an expert in it. Once you have discovered your own subculture, it’s important to stay within the lines.

If you are a creator passionate about DIY, stick to it, and don’t move around talking about dance. If you are a food brand, talk everything food or similar subjects; don’t talk about software.

Like @dance_general, a TikTok account that solely focuses on dance, everything they do is related to dance. What if they change their theme from dancing to singing for a single video? Do you think they’ll be able to retain followers? No, right?

dance_general

This is because occasionally changing the niche will confuse your audience, who followed you for a specific purpose. It will also become difficult for you to attract new followers.

So before considering what interests you, find out what interests your audience because following their preferences will get you a higher reach. When you put yourself in their shoes and plan content according to what they would like, you never lose followers.

3. Leverage TikTok SEO

If you are hearing it for the first time, let us repeat it for you. Yes, TikTok has its own SEO. You can optimize your TikTok videos and content with relevant keywords to make them appear in the FYPs.

TikTok SEO works the same as hashtag strategy on the platform. This strategy is supported when you want to work with the algorithm. When you use relevant words or keywords in the description or caption of your video along with #hashtags, your content is SEO optimized.

Then, in return, the TikTok Algorithm detects the theme of your content from these keywords and pushes your content to those users it will interest, and eventually, you get more engagement.

In other words, when you use a keyword like “Health,” “Fitness,” “Workout,” etc. in your captions or content, the algorithm understands your content type and promotes it to the fitness-related audience, increasing your chances of getting better engagement.

This is also a great way to create your niche—a community of people who are actually looking for what you have to share.
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4. Make the Initial Seconds Count

The attention span of most of the TikToker is 1-3 seconds. So you have a chance to either grab their attention within that time frame or let the opportunity go.

Generate their curiosity and make them stick to your video. According to a survey, 63% of TikTok videos that attract viewers within the first three seconds get the highest CTR. The first few seconds are golden for keeping them hooked on your content.

Just like how @themrspedersen has created this video, attracting the viewers in the first 3 seconds by telling them how this video can help them never run out of ideas.

Themrspedersen

Source

Such content is more likely to get a high click-through rate on TikTok.

5. Optimize for Sound-Off and Sound-On

Not every TikTok user has their sound on while scrolling. So, to make sense on their feed, you need to optimize your video for sound-off with subtitles and captions.

@lacedmedia This is the best way to come up with content ideas your audience actually needs! There are big accounts flooded with comments of people within your same targeted audience, asking questions they wish they had answers too… So provide the answers! 😊 #socialmediamarketingtips #tiktokmarketingtips #tiktokgrowthtips #tiktokseo #contentmarketingtips #contentstrategytips #businesstips #businessowner ♬ Violin – Grooving Gecko

For those who like to watch TikTok with sound on, make sure to use relevant and trending audio or music to engage them with your video.

6. Post at the Right Time

Can you imagine posting a video on TikTok when your audience is asleep? No one will see your masterpiece. Imagine the waste of time and effort it will cause.

This is why understanding and analyzing TikTok analytics is necessary to discover the best time for you to post. It will help you learn when your audience is most active and interactive and eventually maximize your reach.

Thus, finding and posting at the right time can guarantee you the reach and engagement to increase the number of views.

7. Experiment with Different Contents

Sticking to just one style of content will not attract attention. Although TikTok is a video-based platform, it is trying out image-format content.

To master the TikTok algorithm, try something new every time and mix it up a bit. This will help you realize what works best for your audience. Try out long videos if your usual style is short videos. Or make content in landscape format rather than portrait this time.

While experimenting, just make sure your content looks professional and is as per the dimensions and TikTok size guide.

8. Collaborate with TikTok Influencers

Joining forces with others on TikTok will attract a bigger audience and is a win-win situation for both parties. Their strong followers will get you more eyes, so pick someone with a bigger and more relevant fanbase.

There are many ways you or your brand can collaborate with other influencers or brands, such as running a contest, having a giveaway, or sponsoring a video (one of the most popular).

Brands, big or small, all collaborate with powerful personalities to bring their brand to a new audience. You must have come across many collaborative videos; sometimes, thats all the feed is filled with.

9. Follow TikTok Trends

Jumping to the latest TikTok trends is the bare minimum you can do to improve your reach on TikTok. These days, every brand and TikToker is sensitive about following trending sounds and effects.

Following trends is a shortcut that puts your content right before the TikTok algorithm for virality. If you are lucky and your content is worth it, you can go viral on FYP.

You will find the latest TikTok trends by clicking on the “Discover” icon on the top right corner of your screen. It also displays the set of hashtags along with popular trends that you may like.

TikTok Trends

10. Utilize Trending #Hashtags

Using hashtags is a practice that everyone follows, however, following trending hashtags is necessary to actually get the viral tag. Just like how new trends are created every day on TikTok, new trending hashtags are also rolled out every now and then.

When you use these trending hashtags on your video, the algorithm favors your content, boosts it, and gives you faster results.

These hashtags must be relevant to your content and align with your TikTok niche. Just as you find the latest trends on TikTok by going to the “discover page,” you can also find trending hashtags on TikTok.

11. Create Duet-Ready Videos

When you create a video, select DUET before posting. Duet allows everyone on TikTok to use the video’s effects, music/sound, and other elements to create their own content.

They can tweak your work and share their own art with it. When others create duet videos from your content, the TikTok algorithm pushes it to more people, giving you the reach you were going for.

This is also a duet-ready video, where @hileryduff had created a duet video.

dance_general

12. Share High-Quality Videos

There might not be any proof that the TikTok algorithm favors good-quality videos, but of course, viewers do, and the algorithm follows viewers’ interests.

Along with keeping your content interesting and trendy, you must also maintain its quality in the cut-throat competition. Only then will your viewers want to rewatch your videos.

To create high-quality videos, you can start using good-quality recording devices (camera and mic). These alone have the power to greatly uplift your content. You can also try experimenting with landscape or portrait format and editing style.

13. Work on Unique Ideas for TikTok

In the extra-competitive domain of TikTok, standing out requires more than just following trends. You must be unique and think outside the box in this vast ocean. It is your ticket to becoming unforgettable and attracting a wider fanbase.

Every piece of content should be different and generate curiosity among viewers. This is the real challenge that creators and brands overcome daily to increase reach and engagement. You need fresh TikTok content ideas to stay relevant and interesting.

These top tips to beat the TikTok algorithm explained above are tried and tested and then brought to you.

However, any brand must remember that giving value to the audience is the key to getting your content to the top. TikTok is all about creativity and connections, so build a connection with your niche and let the brand’s personality shine.

Busting the Biggest Myths About TikTok Algorithm

TikTok is one of the biggest social channels right now, with more than 50 million users scrolling through its feed daily.

This makes many marketers and creators desperate to make their content go viral, and eventually, they start following anything they hear to appear on the For You Page.

They tend to believe in several myths that are not even close to the real TikTok algorithm system. So, we have felt the need to clear some air and tackle some of the biggest myths about the TikTok algorithm.

1. Watching Your Own Videos Boosts Visibility

If you think watching your own video repeatedly on TikTok will make you go viral, you’re wrong! The TikTok Algorithm focuses on unique views and engagement for every video.

Just because it seems that more views mean more visibility does not mean the algorithm will not identify where the views are coming from. It’s smarter than that.

2. Changing to Pro Account Reduces the Reach

Some TikTokers with good visibility feel that changing their account to pro might hinder the algorithm, impacting their reach.

However, this is not the case. TikTok has stated that account type has nothing to do with algorithm changes and distribution. Upgrading to pro actually gives access to the analytics feature, which helps brands and creators better understand the audience.

The same goes for verified accounts; it generate a sense of authenticity and trustworthiness for viewers about your content and helps improve reach and engagement.

3. Removing Low-Performing Videos Improves Reach

If you have a few videos that didn’t get much love, don’t try to delete them. Deleting underperforming videos will not give you the desired visibility.

The TikTok algorithm judges each video individually. None of the previously shared content, whether good or bad, will increase or decrease the reach of your next video in any way.

4. More Followers Means More Views

Having a wider and bigger following might seem like a final destination for good reach. However, the real effect is made with real engagement (likes, comments, and shares) and the quality of your content.

Having a big follower base can give the initial push for views, but the actual viral factor can be achieved with unique engagement.

5. Videos Only Go Viral in First Hour

The TikTok algorithm has never claimed the duration in which you can expect your video to go viral; this can happen at any time, any day. Even your content shared months ago can hit the fire today.

Persistence and consistency are two crucial factors for long-term engagement and visibility. So, keep creating content; you never know when you might gain popularity.

6. #FYP and #ForYou Increases Chances of Getting Featured

Hashtags like #FYP, #ForYouPage, and #ForYou are very widely used on TikTok video captions. Many believe that these hashtags can get them featured and trend.

In reality, only the content that people can’t stop watching can get you on the For You Page. The hashtags that resonate with the users and are relevant to your content are more entertained by the algorithm.

7. Posting Too Frequently Reduces Reach

One of the lamest myths about TikTok is that posting too often is bad. The TikTok algorithm doesn’t penalize your feed for being active and sharing videos regularly.

Being consistent with your content on TikTok actually boosts your reach and increases your chances of going viral as you are making your profile more interesting and engaging.

8. TikTok Promotes Videos with High-Production Value

Going viral is all about creativity and connecting with your audience. You don’t really need a fancy budget to get featured. Millions of people go viral on TikTok with smartphone-shot videos.

Good production can enhance the video. However, it does not affect the algorithm or its reach that much. Even if you don’t have a high budget, you can create videos that outperform others.

Instead of believing and following anything you hear about how the TikTok algorithm works, try understanding your audience and planning content smartly. Go through TikTok analytics on the native application to learn about performance and fine-tune your approach for better reach.

Dominate TikTok Algorithm with SocialPilot

Dominating the algorithm is not only about outsmarting TikTok’s mechanism but also about being true to your people. TikTok rewards genuine engagement, creativity, and consistency.

If your brand wants to top the For You Page, you must partner with the best TikTok Scheduler like SocialPilot to help you stay consistent and schedule for your multiple best time to post.

SocialPilot is a suite of tools that helps you decode the TikTok algorithm inside out, helping you go viral. With powerful and accurate scheduling and publishing features, it can turn the tide in your favor and get you on point with the audience’s expectations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is TikTok Algorithm?

The TikTok algorithm is a suggestion mechanism that decides which video will appear on the viewer’s For You Page. It constantly reads and analyzes viewers' activity and interests and recommends the content they want to see the most.

How Does TikTok Algorithm Work?

The TikTok algorithm focuses on three major ranking signals to push content to the viewer's feed: User Interactions, Video Information, and Device and Account Settings.

Based on these factors, your video is pushed to different levels of audience, generating feedback at each stage that decides the next level of push.

What Is the “For You Page” on TikTok?

The For You Page (FYP) is the user’s feed on TikTok, on which videos appear as recommended by the algorithm. Initially, this page shows content according to users' interests and according to other users in the same demographic area.

How to Customize Your Own “For You Page”?

  1. You can go to the setting > content preference > refresh FYP. This way your page is reset to fresh, and once you start scrolling again, the TikTok algorithm will catch your interest.
  2. You can reset your For You Page by using the manual art of scrolling. This method applies when you engage with different kinds of content than before and start following different people.

How Many TikTok Should I Post in a Day?

There is no set limit for posting videos on TikTok daily. However, consistency is the key, so it is recommended that you post 1-4 TikToks a day for better reach and engagement.

About the Author

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Megha Sharma

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