Understanding the TikTok Algorithm & How To Make That Video Go Viral

The key to being the next D'Amelio...

Understanding the TikTok  Algorithm & How To Make That Video Go Viral
Credit: Michelle Groskopf for The New York Times

“What does your ‘For You Page’ look like?”

I’ve heard this question on multiple occasions when hanging with friends … this often leads to one of us tethering our iPhone to an Apple TV and streaming our “For You Page’s” to the interest of everyone else in the room. Welcome to entertainment in 2021, I guess.

Why find this entertaining? Well, looking at a friend's “FYP” (as TikTok abbreviates it to) feels like looking into their subconscious — we see what they’re entertained by, what they aspire to, and what their interested in, because of how extremely personalized the TikTok algorithm has become. In other words, the TikTok algorithm knows my close friends better than I do.

In this article, we’ll be diving into how the FYP algorithm works, and more importantly — how you can leverage the algorithm to rapidly grow your audience on TikTok.

First stop? How the FYP algorithm suggests content, according to a blog post the company put out in June. What content the algorithm serves you relies on a complicated combination of weighted factors, including:

  • What accounts you follow, what posts you’ve interacted with, and what content you post.
  • Each TikTok's information, such as the caption, hashtags, and sound (the algorithm matches this information with what you’ve expressed that you're interested in through your previous content interactions).
  • What type of device you’re using, the language preferences you use in the device, and your location setting.

From here, these factors combine to give each video a rank, so that the algorithm is sure to be serving you only the most highly ranked content for you. The algorithm also continues to refine what content is served to you the more TikTok you watch. One of the largest factors in refining your feed is how much time you spend watching each unique video. If you watch a video on a loop, the algorithm will know to continue serving you this type of content.

So...now that we understand how we get served content through the FYP, how can we also maximize how much our video appears on the FYP for others?

Let’s get into it 📝

  • Cater your video around retaining your audience members throughout the entirety of the clip. As mentioned, the more a single viewer watches your unique TikTok video, the higher it’ll be boosted in the algorithm. To do this, keep your video short (under 12-15 seconds) to maximize the probability of someone watching your video to the end.
  • Focus on the hook of your video. The first seconds of your video need to give the viewer a reason to stop scrolling. Implicate the viewer in what you're saying, for example by starting with something like, "You need to hear this.." or "You'll never believe..."
  • Use your caption to give the viewer context as to what they should expect in this video. This gives them yet another reason to stop scrolling.
  • Use hashtags to be sure you’re tapping into the audience that’ll be most interested in your content. For example, say you post a video of your dog doing something adorable. Tag it #cutedogvideos — and you'd attract those searching for exactly that.
  • Complete a trend! Adding a trending sound or effect may make your videos more discoverable and shareable. Also participating in a trend will give viewers another reason to watch the video until the end — if they recognize and enjoy the trend.
  • Post as much as possible, at least once a day (according to TikTok), to maximize the amount of reach your account has, and the amount of views on your videos.
  • Use features native to TikTok, that make it more obvious that the video was originally created on the platform. TikTok has said that videos using features that are obviously created on TikTok are more likely to end up in the FYP.
  • Exit the app immediately after posting! According to a few sources (and from my personal experience), TikTok will notice you've exited and will try to lure you back with notifications, which means more views. If you want a video to perform, close TikTok!

All for now but between adapting these tricks, using some good lighting, and being as naturally witty as we sure you are, we know you’ll be a sensation in no time. Oh, and don’t forget to add that BEAUTIFUL Snipfeed link to your TikTok bio to give anyone visiting your profile a chance to check out all of what you have to offer online  👋