Is there really a Loch Ness Monster? Who killed JFK? How does the TikTok algorithm work? These are just a few of life’s greatest mysteries that have racked the brains of Earth’s best minds for years.
One of those questions has actually brought about plenty of answers in recent years. No, we’re not talking about you, Nessie…
The TikTok algorithm is a powerful thing. It’s what separates your experience on the platform from that of your friend’s, sister’s, and auntie’s neighbour’s butcher’s.
Interesting in learning a little more about the TikTok algorithm and how it actually works? Keep on reading!
What is the TikTok Algorithm
The TikTok algorithm determines which videos, stories, and live videos appear on each user’s “For You Page” (FYP). Every single form of content on the platform is organised and displayed to users based on videos they’ve engaged with in the past, creators they’ve interacted with, and topics, hashtags, and sounds they’ve tapped onto.
No two users are ever going to have the same experience on TikTok. Granted, you could send a video to your best mate and find that they’ve already seen it before, but this doesn’t mean all their videos are like yours, just a select few.
You’ll often hear people saying they made it onto “FoodTok”, “PetTok”, “GymTok”, and plenty of other things, but this is effectively a way of saying that your FYP is flooded with videos relating to those topics. This is the algorithm working to serve you videos based on previous ones you’ve engaged with and ones it thinks you’d like.
So, How Does It Work?
TikTok is designed to be as personal to you as possible, and it’s constantly working on getting you back onto the app every day to continue your never-ending scrolling. All of your interactions influence your experience, including:
- Videos you like, comment on, and share
- Accounts you follow
- Videos you add to your favourites
- Creators you hide or block
- Videos you tap “not interested” on
- Hashtags you tap on and add to your favourites
- Sounds you tap on and add to your favourites
- Content you post
You may find it odd that some of the biggest creators on the platform will never appear on your screen, but it’s a simple thing to explain. If you’ve never engaged with creators like Charli D’Amelio, Khaby Lame, and Zach King, or liked videos related to the content they post, then they won’t appear on your FYP.
That being said, it is quite bizarre that some users will never see videos by creators with over 100 million followers, but it just shows how integral the algorithm is to every TikTokers experience.
TikTok will take information from your device to deliver you content based on a variety of factors, including:
- Type of device
- Device location
- Device language
- Categories of interest you selected as a user on your first sign-up
Simply put, if your device is registered in England and your primary device language is English, a very large majority of the videos you see will be in this language, and plenty of them will feature England within the content.
Although, if you start interacting with Spanish-speaking creators, you’ll most likely be served with other Spanish-speaking users on your FYP. You can, to an extent, influence the language in which your videos will appear, but much of it is determined by your actual device’s location.
There are plenty of things creators can do to ensure their videos appear on your FYPs. Video information helps TikTok to rank certain pieces of content. These influences include:
- Effects & Filters
- Trending Content
- Video length
Trending hashtags and sounds are potentially the two biggest out of the above, with many users accompanying their videos with particular hashtags and songs to ensure they reach the eyes of millions.
The hashtags people use don’t even necessarily have to match the video, as long as they’re hidden within the “see more” section of the caption (honestly, who does click that on TikTok?).
There you have it! Our deep dive into what the TikTok algorithm is and how it works. Are you in the mood for a brand-new, insanely funny and clever TikTok account to follow? Check us out!
We’ve also spent a little time debunking some of TikTok’s most well-known myths. Have a read of our blog if you want to learn more.
We’re also offering FREE (yes, free!) audits, so click here to claim yours.