How TikTok’s algorithm helps you find the best content

When first starting a TikTok account, the algorithm will work hard to find out your interests to serve you the content you want to see. Doing this quickly, the user will likely spend longer on the app scrolling and engaging than before, which is exactly what TikTok wants. As a brand, your TikTok account should attract the right audience, but it can be tricky to find them.

Working with a digital marketing agency in London is a great way to get a head start on your profile and engage with the right audience. If you don’t have access to this kind of help, here are some handy tips on how TikTok helps find users the best content.

Unique algorithm

TikTok’s algorithm is entirely different from Instagram. On Instagram, if you already have a high follower count or a history of high-performing posts, your content is automatically pushed to the top of the feed, but this isn’t the case on TikTok.

The algorithm on TikTok tracks how long people watch the video, so if users stay to watch the whole thing or watch a short one repeatedly, the algorithm will push this content out to more users.

While likes have some impact on how often the video is shown on the ‘for you’ page, comments have even less.

This is precisely how users with only a few videos on their page manage to reach millions of views almost instantly. TikTok understands when users enjoy a video and when to push it out to more people. Ultimately, if viewers enjoy the content they are seeing, they will stay on the app longer, which is what TikTok wants.

User behaviour

When a user first joins the app, TikTok will monitor their behaviour to find out what kind of content they are interested in. For example, if a user joined and immediately searched for ‘funny cat videos’ and liked and commented on several, TikTok would serve funny cat videos on the ‘for you’ page.

When setting up a TikTok account, this is why it’s important to engage with the correct audiences initially to tell the algorithm where to show your content. Working with a Digital Marketing Agency in London can help give your account the boost it needs to get off the ground.

This can change over time, too. When scrolling on the app, if a user deviates from their usual behaviour, the algorithm will notice this and serve the user some similar alternative content to see if this is a newfound interest. Depending on how the user reacts to this, TikTok will serve more or less of this content.

Hashtags matter

Hashtags on TikTok fulfil a different purpose than the ones on Instagram. On TikTok, users only need to include 3-5 hashtags per post, specifically to categorise their content. On Instagram, in the past, it has been recommended that users include 20-30 hashtags per post to reach the right audience, which seems crazy now!

On TikTok, the algorithm will use hashtags to determine which content to show each user based on their interests. If they engage with several videos that have similar hashtags, it will serve similar content on the users ‘for you’ page.

Choosing the right hashtags is important, though, which is where a digital marketing agency might come in handy. Choosing hashtags with the right audience size for your page is crucial, as choosing too large an audience might affect the success of your video.

From the perspective of a content creator, you must find your niche and stick to it, as TikTok will find the right audience for you. If your content deviates from your usual niche, this might hinder your growth as the algorithm gets confused about who to serve your content to.

Use Keywords

TikTok scans every video for any sound, text or images that might help the algorithm work out who to show it to. For this reason, every caption, subtitle or text overlay can impact a video’s success.

The captions on TikTok videos are best kept as short as possible. Even just a few relevant words will do. For example, if the video shows someone baking a birthday cake, the perfect caption would be ‘Best birthday cake ever!’ and this would likely appear in a search for the same phrase.

Even the text overlay in a video can affect who TikTok shows it to. Typically, videos including trending sounds with text overlays perform very well and always find the right audience. The hashtags and captions used in this instance will also help the video to find the right people.

Every algorithm will make its calculation differently, but TikTok arguably gives everyone a fair chance of going viral or reaching the right audience because of how it ranks its content. When existing followers and past history are not a factor, it means that users must consistently produce high-quality content in order to be successful, but as soon as this stops, the algorithm will not favour them. This is great for users as it means that they will consistently see the latest content they are looking for and will likely end up seeing some of the same videos as their friends. This unique system is exactly what keeps people scrolling on the app, hungry for the next video, and perhaps the key to TikTok’s success.







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