The Impact of Music, Captions, And Transitions on TikTok Engagement Rates

TikTok is an app that appeals to the younger crowd, so not everyone is familiar with it. However, even if someone doesn't know much about the app, they probably know that TikTok is all about the music. Music inspires dances, many new artists can get their big break on TikTok, and older tunes can gain a second life on the platform. Yes, music can amplify TikTok profile activity for many users, but so can captions and transitions. All these can increase your engagement rate, pushing you forward in the algorithm. So let’s explain.

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What Is the Engagement Rate?

Before discussing music, captions, and transitions, we should first explain the engagement rate. This is how often people have interacted with your content compared to your views. People interact by liking, commenting, or sharing your video. This shows support for the content you create. If someone watches your video, they may have enjoyed the content but do not feel engaged.

To calculate the engagement rate, you can combine your video's many likes, comments, and shares and divide it by how many views you have received. Let's say your video has 100 views, 10 likes, 10 shares, and 10 comments. The engagement rate would be 0.3, or 30%. This is relatively high, as most viewers will not interact with it.

On the other hand, if your video gets 1,000 views but has two likes, a comment, and a share, this is under one percent engagement, meaning something is wrong. People are seeing your video, but they aren't interacting with it. If this happens, your video may be less likely to be recommended in the algorithms.

So yes, even with high views, if the engagement is poor, it’s going to negatively impact the overall state of your channel.

Your engagement rate can be poor for many reasons. It can be less than stellar because the content isn't resonating with people. Another reason is that you're using the wrong keywords and reaching people who aren't your target audience. If you've ruled out these two, there may be a third reason.

It would be best to make your audience feel emotions or encourage interactivity to increase engagement. One way you can do this is to add music, captions, or transitions to your videos.

The Importance of Music

Music, or sounds in general, are vital to the TikTok experience. Music fuels dancing and lip-sync battles on the platform, but that's not all. Another importance of music is that it can be great background sounds to whatever you're feeling, giving your video more meaning.

Another use of music is that it promotes community on the platform. If you use music people love, they can all gather around it and become fans. Music can indicate a person's taste, evoke nostalgic memories, and set the mood.
Another importance of music is growing your brand. You can create your own music and sounds and put them over your videos. If your music catches on, it can take the platform by storm, and it's possible to see returns for your hard work. Sometimes people will find a song that they absolutely adore, and find out it’s from your brand. They’ll want to interact with it. This is also a good way to sell your own music and content.

Luckily, it's pretty easy to put music over your video and decide if you want to mute the sounds in your video or have them playing. But what songs should you choose? Here are some tips.

We all want to go against the mainstream and play our favorite indie bands, but you may not build an audience this way. If there’s a trending song, use it in your videos, especially if it resonates with your brand. If the song doesn’t fit however, you might want to go with something else. A trending song only works if it’s fitting to the video, and what’s going on.

Be Sure It Fits

While it is essential to use trending sounds, you may not see many results if the songs do not fit. People will catch on or just feel confused. For example, if you’re trying to make your audience feel sad, you may not want to play an upbeat track, or vice versa. You can preview the video after you're done, and if the sound is all wrong, you can choose a better track that fits the atmosphere of your video.

Select From Songs TikTok Offers

If you have a song in mind and search for it on TikTok, you may be tempted to insert the video yourself if you cannot find it. But be mindful of this. Non-approved tracks can violate copyrights; if your video does, it may be muted. A video without much sound can be useless to you, so beware.

Try Using Your Own Sounds Or Music

Not all TikTok videos need music. Plenty of videos succeed, and they're just a person talking. Smaller music pieces independently created can see viral success, especially if they fit with what is happening.

In conclusion, music is one of the most critical aspects of TikTok and one that you should carefully consider when editing your videos.


Now, let’s look at captions. You know what they are; they are words that match what a person is saying, or they can give context to the video. Captions can also help translate what's being said if someone speaks a language most of the audience will not understand. TikTok makes adding captions to your videos and even streams easy, and you should use them for many reasons.

For Deaf People

The first reason that captions are essential should be apparent: captions are vital for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals. You can help them and show everyone else that you care about people with disabilities.

And Blind People

TikTok is a platform that has plenty of blind or hard-of-seeing fans as well. One way they consume content is through audio descriptions, which can read the captions. By adding captions, you’re making TikTok a more accessible place to all.

For Those Who Listen With the Sound Off

But captions are not just crucial for people who are hard of hearing. People who can hear fine may be watching a video with the sound turned off for whatever reason, and the captions can help them understand what is happening. Maybe someone is watching a video in a library, and they don’t want people to hear their video out of decency. Added captions allows them to enjoy the content without disturbing others. Another type of person who may benefit from this is if they’re watching the video in a noisy environment and forgot their headphones.

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For SEO Purposes

Captions are also vital in helping people find your channel or videos. The words you use in your videos may be the keywords your audience is typing to look for people who offer the content that you provide. If you're trying to grow as a creator, using the right hashtags and having a keyword-rich description can help, but don't forget the captions.

For Those Learning a Language

We mentioned that captions can help translate a language but are also suitable for learning it. The captions can be a significant tool if you're learning to read or write in a speech.

A similar use that captions have is that they allow you to understand someone if they have a heavy accent that you do not recognize.

Auto Captions

We should mention that TikTok can add auto-captions, which automatically generate captions based on AI. Voice recognition technology has come a long way, but be mindful that it can be inaccurate, especially if your video has cross-talk or uses words that the AI may not recognize. Often, a manual is the way to go.

In conclusion, captions can help everyone enjoy your videos. TikTok, and the Internet at large, thrives when everyone can enjoy it. If you don't have captions, you're leaving out people who can't enjoy your videos for disability or other reasons.


Finally, we have transitions. These are the effects that you can add to your video, and like everything else on this list, they are essential if you want success.

So, why are transitions critical? They help merge two clips seamlessly. Without transitions, your videos can have an awkward jump cut or not be synced with the music or the person's words. Transitions are also essential to changing topics if your video discusses multiple subjects.

Finally, transitions are vital if you want to keep your audience engaged. Without them, your audience may back away from your video before they get into the meat of it. How is that possible? Let's look at why transitions are so important.

They Keep the Person in Suspense

To have a successful TikTok video, you need to keep your audience engaged throughout. You can do so by having an exciting opening and offering great content, all with good video and audio quality. But transitions can be the glue that holds everything together.

Transitions add a surprise element to your videos. People will see a transition and wonder where it will lead. This emotion can come in the form of wishing to learn about all the topics you want to discuss or watching you transform via a makeup tutorial.

Another way to look at it is to imagine your video as a story with chapters. Chapters can build curiosity, wondering what will happen in the next one. Ending each section before the transition with a little cliffhanger can keep your audience watching until the end.

They Can Add to Emotions

When you think of transitional effects, you may not think about emotions. However, many transitions can make a person feel excited, anxious, or sad. If you’re talking about your weight-loss journey, a transition can show what you looked like before and after, and it can build hope or surprise.

Digital Versus Manual Transitions

As expected, TikTok has many ways to transition from scene to scene in a video. You can add a zoom-in transition, a fade, and so on. However, many creators use in-video transitions. Have you ever seen a video with one? You probably have without even knowing it.

One example is the finger snap transition. A TikToker will snap their fingers, and then something will happen. Usually, this can come in the form of changing one's appearance. Another way a person does this is through the hand swipe, where they swipe their hand over their face, and then their face has changed.

The headbutt transition is also a popular one to showcase a change. You can act like you're headbutting the camera, obscuring your face, and then you raise your face to reveal it's changed.

Creators can transition from scene to scene in many other clever ways. We recommend figuring one out that suits your brand image.

In conclusion, transitions can make your video look professional, build suspense, and add emotion to it.

Experiment With All Three

Using music, captions, and transitions is vital on TikTok, and you should use all three at once. However, feel free to experiment with what music you use, your approach to captions, and what types of transitions you implement.

Each user's target audience will be different, and by figuring out what makes your audience tick, you can get as much engagement as possible.

And remember, audiences' tastes can change. If you notice a drop in engagement, try using new transition effects, improve your captions, or try different songs.

Final Thoughts

Computer screen with tiktok application.
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

TikTok can be a great platform to grow your branding, but you must utilize all of its tools. You may be losing a potential audience if you're ignoring music, captions, and transitions. Luckily, this is an easily fixable problem. Of course, you still need to create great content your audience will want to support.

We hope this article was helpful to you. Now that you've finished reading, try creating unique combinations your audience will love.