How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work? Tips for Getting Picked Up By the TikTok Algorithm

An increasing number of young people are turning to TikTok instead of Google because many TikTok creators are delving deeper when creating videos. This is partly true because most Gen Z prefer videos. After all, this information is quick to get and involves a personal human touch instead of bland texts on SERPS.

Furthermore, as more people make content, creators are starting to get very specific in coming up with ultra-relevant information to help them stand out. As a result, the TikTok algorithm evolved to promote only the most relevant content to users on the app.

Understanding how TikTok’s algorithm works to gain popularity on the platform is critical. If you are looking for a reputable marketing firm with vast knowledge and expertise to help you leverage the algorithm and boost TikTok's success. In that case, Influensly is the best option to consider.

Let’s take a closer look at what the TikTok algorithm entails, how it works, and how you could use it to your advantage.

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What Is the TikTok Algorithm? TikTok Algorithm Explained

The TikTok algorithm can be likened to a software feature that organizes videos into categories based on their relevance to users. However, unlike other known software, the TikTok algorithm utilizes artificial intelligence, constantly gathering information, learning, and evolving over time.

The algorithm studies users’ interests, collates them, and then recommends videos to TikTok users. In other words, the ‘For You’ page is personalized and different for each user. Consequently, no two persons can have the same recommendations on the ‘For You’ page.

Also, since the algorithm continuously evolves, a user’s content recommendation will change as they develop new interests. For example, a baker who started out watching baking videos may later seek branding content for small business owners, prompting the algorithm to suggest a mix of branding and baking videos on the ‘For You’ page.

To better understand the TikTok algorithm, we need to know how the app operates and categorizes user preferences.

How the TikTok Algorithm Works

Understanding how the algorithm works help creators develop a better content strategy. Business owners can also use the app to their advantage by boosting visibility and, where possible, sales revenues.

TikTok is very good at recommending the best content for its users, and that’s why the app is among the leading social media platforms in the world.

When you upload videos on TikTok, based on specific criteria, the algorithm will show your content to a few persons on their ‘For You’ page. If the content does well with this small group, it gets promoted to a thousand people, with better engagement with even more users.

This could be good or bad news, depending on the quality of your content.

It’s good news that, unlike other platforms, you don’t need to compete or spend a ton of money at the beginning to boost your new post because the algorithm naturally does that on your behalf. Therefore, if your post is great and contains relevant information for users, it will automatically be promoted to more users.

It’s terrible news that an underperforming content with a smaller group cannot see the light of day, ultimately getting stuck with scanty views.

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What Are TikTok's Algorithm Ranking Factors?

The kinds of videos shown to new users have been proven to have high engagement rates among different audience types. The app then begins collecting data by observing your interactions. Some of these criteria are:


Video Information

Once you upload a post, TikTok will check it based on natural language processing and computer vision technology.

Computer Vision Technology

Powered by Artificial Intelligence, this feature picks up images, texts, and symbols within a content to interpret the information. In addition to major things such as images, texts, and symbols, the algorithm factors other things, such as background, outdoor or indoor settings, gender, and age range.

When all these are combined, TikTok then categorizes the information, ensuring the content shows up on the right ‘For You’ page and turns up in the search bar when searched by specific keywords.

Natural Language Processor

The natural language processor assesses the audio in the content, transcribing it into information that the algorithm can understand. The feature also notes the video's metadata, description, and hashtags.

Device And Account Settings

Device and account settings also affect how the algorithm ranks and recommends videos. However, account settings don’t carry much weight compared to post engagement and user interaction. Some of the factors in account setting are:

Country Location

The algorithm recommends content based on specific locations. In other words, users in the US will mostly see content from US creators, while Asian users will see content from that region.

Language Preference

The default language in a user app’s settings also determines the kinds of content they will see.

Device Type

The type of device you use also determines the algorithm ranking factor. Each device has its own IP address screen resolution, among other things. The algorithm takes note of what kind of device you use, adapting and recommending your posts based on this information.

User Interactions

A part of the algorithm also factors in the way a user interacts with other accounts or posts they come in contact with, such as:

9 Tips for Leveraging the TikTok Algorithm

1. Focus on Shorter Content

Many TikTok users are Gen Z, with an average attention span of 8 seconds. Hence, it’s wise to create shorter, exciting content that don’t take too long.

Remember, one of the factors that TikTok considers when ranking and recommending a content is its completion rate. Therefore, the chances of increasing your post completion rate with a short, 30, or 60-second video is higher than a three-minute-long video.

Furthermore, a short content has a higher chance of being rewatched, a noteworthy factor worth considering to get on the algorithm’s good side.

This doesn’t mean that longer videos don’t count as relevant content. If your brand’s style of communication is best conveyed in longer, landscaped videos, shoot longer videos by all means. The ultimate goal is to ensure your engagement levels are high.

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2. Edit Videos Within the App

While this may sound uncommon, it’s an essential factor to consider. Many have described TikTok as a get-away app. A place where they feel at ease because of the personal touch the majority of videos on the platform exude.

Hence, the app prefers sophisticated videos less because there’s a tendency to place content quality and professionalism over engagement in longer videos.

Consequently, many videos edited within the app get higher rankings than videos edited without.

3. Post Consistently But Moderately

Consistently posting over time helps to establish you as an authority within that niche. However, contrary to popular opinion, uploading tons of videos every day reduces your ability to rank high on TikTok.

This is because uploading several videos a day comes across as spamming. Observation of the app’s algorithm suggests that two to three relevant content a day is enough to get higher rankings.

4. Use Keywords

We talked about computer vision technology and natural language processors earlier and how they transcribe and interpret data in and outside a video. Using the right keywords gives the algorithm accurate information to work with.

Here are places where you must use your keywords to get maximum results.

Mentioning keywords verbally, especially in the first 15 seconds of the post, is a great way to ensure the algorithm notices your content.

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5. Use Analytics to Track Video Performance

The whole point of understanding the TikTok algorithm is to get your video to perform well. TikTok analytics helps you to x-ray your video’s performance after curating them using the algorithm’s rule.

You can track the performance of your TikTok videos from your business account and get insight into some of the following metrics:

Imitating trending videos is the fastest way to leverage the algorithm. A trending post has fulfilled a better portion of the algorithm’s rules by simply ‘copying and pasting’ other content creators’ styles in your videos. You can get the same results.

It’s advisable to watch a couple of trending TikTok videos to get a feel of what’s happening to generate ideas for your own profile.

7. Collaborate With Influencers

Working with influencers is a sure way to get more views on your videos, ultimately getting the algorithm to recommend your videos to more people. When an influencer with a large audience endorses a particular video, their already established loyal fans interact with your videos, increasing engagement levels. This sends a message to TikTok’s algorithm that your video is relevant, further increasing your ranking.

You can employ any of the following approaches when collaborating with influencers to get increased user interactions:

8. Use Hashtags

Hashtags create trends; you need to apply the right hashtag to jump on any trend. Engaging in hashtag challenges.

Keep in mind that you only need one or two hashtags to get your post turned up in the right places. Anything above three confuses the algorithm, making it difficult for the algorithm to pinpoint your content specifically.

9. Optimize Previous Videos

One of the most pleasing facts about being on TikTok is that the algorithm doesn’t factor in the performance metrics of old uploaded videos. This means unlike other social media platforms that reduce your post recommendation based on general content performance, when you upload a new content on TikTok, it can perform extremely well despite previous flaws.

Consequently, revisiting poorly performed posts and re-editing them with the latest SEO best practices is a great way to get on the algorithm’s good side. It’s also a great way to recoup lost time previously invested in creating the content.

Simply delete the post, include better sounds, merge more entertaining clips, add relevant keywords with hashtags, and reupload them for a better recommendation.

Wrapping Up

People spend three times longer on TikTok than other social media platforms because the app’s algorithm is so good. Its nearly accurate recommendation supplies users with lots of content containing relevant information that keeps the users hooked and engaged for longer periods.

When you understand how TikTok’s algorithm work, it will help you come up with the best strategies to boost your visibility on the app. The algorithm checks user interaction such as likes, the number of people who follow your profile after a post, shares, the number of time spent per content, and the number of rewatches.