Everything About TIKTOK Algorithm & How it Works ?

09 Apr, 2022
Updated on: 09 Apr, 2022
Table of Contents

TikTok Algorithm and How TikTok Works?

The increasing pulsating and addicting effect of TikTok on its users keeps many individuals asking what the TikTok algorithm is and how TikTok works. This algorithm works more shockingly than the algorithm of other video-sharing apps such as YouTube because of its accuracy in displaying a stream of short videos that matches the interest or preferences of its users. Hence, getting more users to stick to the app.

In fact, in February this year, Statista records that TikTok has the highest average weekly engagement hours among the Gen-Z iOS users in the United States compared to other video social apps.

How does this TikTok algorithm get to read people’s minds, supply what they want to watch in the ‘for you’ feed, and retain them? I will answer this question and some others below.

How Does TikTok Algorithm work? 

TikTok, in some of its posts, describes its algorithm as a recommendation system. Further, the Chinese-based app under the parent company Byte Dance says its recommendation system curate content uniquely for every individual using the app.

Thus, no two individuals can have the same stream of videos to watch. Some of the factors the TikTok algorithm works with to get users to spend time and retain users on the app are:

Categories of Interest

When a new individual starts using TikTok, the user will have to choose some categories of interest. The TikTok algorithm works with these selected categories in displaying a stream of short videos in the ‘For You’ feed. As the algorithm starts understanding the user’s behavior and interactions, the algorithm begins to streamline the video to suit the user’s interest.

When the user does not select any category, a generalized stream of videos is displayed. After some time, TikTok begins to align with the user’s interest once the user starts to like and comment.

After a few watches or clicks, the algorithm uses the following factors as criteria for video recommendations.

User Interactions

The algorithm considers the interactions a user makes on the app. Some of the interactions include; videos a user likes, comments on, shares, creates, hovering around, and each video playtime. It also considers the created videos, creators hidden, videos a user marks as favorites, and accounts followed by a user.

Video Content

TikTok, in a bid to ascertain the supply of a stream of a user’s preferred videos, scan through the content or information you tend to search for in the ‘discover tab.’ The algorithm check details like the video sounds, effects, trendy topics, hashtags, and captions.

Device and account settings

Though not as much as user interactions and video information, some settings made on your device or account influence the stream of video you will like to see. Some of these settings include; your device type, location, country setting, and language preferences.

Misconceptions about the TikTok algorithm work

Unlike some other video-sharing apps algorithm, the TikTok algorithm does not consider the previous high-performing videos or the number of followers of a particular account or user but ranks each video individually.

But, it is worth noting that the video of an account might have many views resulting from its number of followers, as the followers will naturally tend to see new videos from a favorite user.

These listed factors summarize how the TikTok algorithm works. Let’s consider how TikTok as a whole works. 

How TikTok Works

How TikTok Works: Basic Function of TikTok

Starting new on TikTok is easy, and the app is used to upload short videos of users lip-syncing, acting, or dancing. Before this time, a video could not exceed 15 seconds or 60 seconds when multiple clips were combined.

However, TikTok has now increased the video time limit to 180 seconds and permits the uploading of videos of a longer time limit recorded outside the app.

Interestingly, TikTok has a rich array of video customizing and editing tools coupled with a library. The library contains effects, filters, songs, and sound bites that would make a video creative and intriguing. TikTok also allows collaboration between users, such as performing a duet with someone’s video or earning an extra performance on a video.

How TikTok Works: TikTok’s Layout and Description

Whenever you open the TikTok app, there is a menu icon that shows a shortcut to five pages, namely;

  • Home: Display two feeds, namely: the For You and Following Feeds
  • Profile: This is your profile page and is visible to others, except hidden by you.
  • Discover: This tab displays viral or trendy videos and hashtags
  • Create Video: The page shows a recording screen for recording videos
  • Inbox: This page displays all activities concerning your videos

How TikTok Works: Watching TikTok Videos

Almost any tab you click displays videos or video hashtags. After installing the TikTok app, you can start watching videos from your For You feed –recommended videos. You could also switch to the Following tab to see videos from users you are following. The general way of seeing more videos in these tabs is by sweeping upwards or vertically or tapping home

Through the discover tab (the magnifying glass beside the home tab), you can also search for hashtags, sounds, videos, and creators you want to watch.

While watching videos, you can pause by tapping on the screen. You can also watch videos without creating an account, but you cannot interact with other users, nor can you create or post a video till you have created an account.

You can also view the user’s profile, video likes and comments, and options to share on the right. Click the user’s icon on the right to view the profile.

Other information such as the user’s name, hashtags, caption, and the song’s title is visible at the bottom of the video.

How TikTok Works: Video Creation

The tab for creating videos is the middle tab among the five icons of the menu. The plus sign indicates the icon for video creation. At first, creating videos might not be easy because of the filters, effects, songs, or sounds you might want to add alongside. But it becomes fun later on. You can also upload content from your device’s library after clicking the plus sign.

To create a video after clicking the plus sign and adding effects, filters, sounds, and other camera tools, tap the record button. Then record, edit after recording, then you can post your video.

How TikTok Works: Follow and Followers

As you begin to watch videos or create videos, you get more followers or follow more of your favorite TikTokers. While it is easy to track other users, getting followers is not. Thus, this requires some strategies, and you can check out our next post for the appropriate method to get more followers.

These few essential tips on the TikTok algorithm and how TikToks works will assist you in using the TikTok app better.

Laxman K.

Veteran Social Media Growth Hacker & Digital Marketer.