TikTok Users

What You Should Know About the TikTok Algorithm

TikTok is the fastest growing social network since Facebook, and for a platform that started in 2016, it has become the only non-Facebook app to have 3 Billion downloads. 

TikTok creators are rocketing to superstardom, the memes are taking over the Internet, and the sounds are pushing songs to the top of the charts, but what makes TikTok so popular?

4 Main Points You Need to Know About the TikTok Algorithm

1. What You Watch 

This one is the most important. Once you download the app, you are introduced to a few of the trendiest videos and creators on the platform. As you engage and consume more content, the TikTok feed called the “for you page” or “#fyp” begins to build a persona around the type of content you watch. A key factor here is how long you watch. You’ve probably scrolled through a few videos and at some point paused and scrolled, stopped and watched, or speed scrolled until you’ve found something entertaining. Those pauses and stops and speed throughs all get weighted in the algorithm as your #fyp continues to adapt to feed you the most relevant content so you’ll spend more time in the app which makes TikTok more valuable to advertisers.

TikTok FYP

2. User Interactions

What you interact with is an important metric as it lets TikTok know which types of content you’re most likely to engage with. A share is more valuable than a watch because you took an action to send it to someone. A favorite or comment can also provide a boost to a user’s video that you watched while updating your #fyp into something more in-tune with the content you just engaged with.

Types of User Engagements on TikTok:

  • Follows
  • Hides — hidden content based on users and/or sounds
  • Comments
  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Report Content — things you’ve marked inappropriate
TikTok Revenue and Usage Statistics (2021)

3. The Trends

Trends on TikTok are fast-burning but can leave a lasting impression. How users interact with those trends from creating content to piggybacking on a trending sound or hashtag can take a brief video and make it an international craze.

An example would be when in the fall of 2020, Nathan Apodaca, a small creator on TikTok, created a viral sensation with him drinking an Ocean Spray while skateboarding to “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. The video exploded, Ocean Spray recognized Nathan with a new truck and all the Ocean Spray he could handle.

Ocean Spray TikTok

Why was the video so important? Because thousands of other creators used the sound from Fleetwood Mac on TikTok and created a fortune in earned viral media for both Ocean Spray and Fleetwood Mac. It also generated 2.8 billion views for the song Dreams and was then streamed 182 million times while selling 86,000 Fleetwood Mac albums!

The trends make their way to the #fyp, the users signal through engagements which trends are the most valuable to TikTok, and those are given more visibility to others on the platform.

4. Your Location

Sometimes the content you see on your #fyp is based on the popularity of videos within your geography down to your city, state, or region. “TikTok Towns” can quickly grow regionally, nationally, or internationally based on the speed of engagement from watchers.

As a marketer with a regional footprint starting small with content that speaks directly to a city or state, using that location’s subculture is a key strategy in reaching users that are within your marketing footprint.

Other Things to Remember on TikTok

As you begin to create content, it can be tough to find your initial audience. TikTok is similar to every other social network with success factors tied to consistency.

  1. Set times to create and post your content
  2. Set a time to engage with other user’s content
  3. Set a time to identify the right hashtags and trends to use
  4. Be a little fearless with putting your brand out there

Check out Infinity Marketing as we learn and grow through TikTok — tiktok.com/@infinitymkt


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