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How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?

July 1, 2020
Growth Hacking
Social Media

It’s more than obvious to see that TikTok is quickly taking over the social media world and doing it at an unparalleled pace.

If you are an inspiring influencer and want to become successful on the platform you may be thinking to yourself how does the TikTok algorithm work and what is the best way to use the app in order to gain followers and views?

Picture illustrating an algorithm, expanding on the tiktok algorithm

After interacting with the app and seeing other successful accounts we have enough information to get an accurate gage of what factors contribute to having your video show up in the “For You” page. This is what has the potential to drive a flood of traffic to your TikTok account.

Let’s take look at some of the unique ways the TikTok algorithm works with user generated content.

Video Performance Drives Exposure

Unlike YouTube where you have to grind and grind in order for the algorithm to even recognize you exist, TikTok is much different.

A single video on TikTok can gain millions of views without you having a large amount of content or following. TikTok has created huge opportunities for content creators. Although reports say that the amount of followers does not make any difference, you can check out TikTok automation tools to schedule your tasks and boost your profile.

The TikTok algorithm carefully takes into account the performance of the interactions on each individual video instead of the history of your channel or profile.

Related reading; The Ultimate guide to Tiktok

This is a major element that separates it from other platforms and makes it unique.

When you make a video clip and publish on the platform, the TIkTok algorithm serves that video to a small batch of TikTok users in between popular videos that are featured on the “For You” page on the app.

tiktok later explained and showed. A great way to make use of the algorithm

If the small batch of people who see your video from the “For You” page and interact with it by leaving a like, comment or following you, your video has the chance to be exposed to a larger demographic of users.

This is the unique viral element of TikTok that can skyrocket you to fandom overnight.

Reading tip: TikTok tools which can grow your audience

Video Exposure Is Based on Geo-Location

TikTok is a global app with exposure in almost every single country around the world. When you initially publish a video, TikTok focuses on showing that video locally to people that are in close proximity to your location.

If the video gains popularity, the TikTok algorithm begins to distribute it internationally on the “For Your” pages.

From there, your video clip can gain massive exposure.

The app can be particularly helpful for local businesses to gain exposure to their brand or product since the app works with local distribution first.

If you are local business that has new products coming out, TikTok can be a great way for you to get your message out that you have something new and unique.

Recommended Reading: Inbound Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Online Presence

Algorithm Takes Into Account Multiple Factors for Featuring Videos

The TikTok algorithm takes into account multiple factors to determine which videos should be featured higher on the “For You” pages section of the app.

Some of the factors include:

  • Amount of likes in a certain period of time
  • The amount of times the video gets shared within a 24 hour period
  • Comments
  • Video Re-watches
  • Full video views
  • Followers gained from video in the first 24 hour
  • The type of hashtags that are used in the video

So whenever you are making videos, don’t think about just matching current trends.

Try to be unique and inspiring in your own way that will help you stand out. The platform values ingenuity and entertainment so just be yourself.

The Use of Hashtags and Trending Music

The two easiest ways to help your videos reach more people is making sure you are using trending hashtags in your videos along with trending music or sounds.

This is a way to ensure that your videos get maximum discoverability from the moment you publish them.

The TikTok algorithm uses trending hashtags to funnel your video into relevant discovery pages and related content.

It’s a way for the algorithm to organize the content you are putting out into its massive database of related videos.

TikTok screenshit showcasing tiktok algo by focussing on the tag feature and the amount of views within that hastag

There’s no telling which hashtags have the ability to skyrocket your exposure on the platform, but some of the most commonly used hashtags by big TikTok influencers include:

  • #fyp
  • #foryou
  • #foryoupage

The reason these specific hashtags are used is because they can increase the likelihood of your video appearing on the For You pages of the app.

It’s also important to use hashtags which are relevant to the content that you are putting out. Doing so helps the TikTok algorithm decide the most relevant spots it should feature your content on.

Using trending sounds has also proven to boost your videos exposure on the platform.

Using trending sounds on TikTok can really give a boost to your video

TikTok has a section where you can navigate to a sound and view all the associated videos with it. It’s more likely that the app will prioritize trending sounds since the core of the app revolves around music.

So by including trending sounds in your videos, you increase your ability to gain more views to your content.

Any Video Has the Ability to Go Viral

An interesting thing we discovered with the TikTok algorithm is that any video regardless of how old or new has the ability to go viral.

This isn’t the case with other social media platforms like Youtube and Instagram.

The TikTok algorithm monitors the performance of all your videos, even ones that you may have put out months ago.

We believe that the app may have preset performance statistics configured in its code that moves your videos higher and higher the better they perform over time. So you may be surprised to see older videos continuing to get views regardless of the fact that they are old and irrelevant.

So continue to monitor old videos and even consider changing your hashtags around in order to catch a bigger wave of traffic.

Reading tip: The Most Effective TikTok Marketing Strategies


If you are interested in increasing your brand awareness we highly recommend creating a profile on TikTok and begin interacting with the app. You will be blown away by the amount of traffic you can receive and how newbie friendly their algorithm is.

Related: What are the best social media tools for marketers
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