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5 things you didn’t know about the TikTok algorithm

The initial rise of TikTok was insane. Once Covid hit, the number of young users on the app skyrocketed, with the focus moving Gen Z, to all demographics. 

What makes TikTok unique is that it runs on a content graph, rather than a social graph.

TikTok delivers content based solely on users’ interests and the videos they watch and engage with, not just by who they follow.

For brands, this gives you the potential to reach a larger audience without having a huge following. 

We’ve put our heads together to come up with five nuggets of TikTok algorithm gold to help you grow your brand…

1. You’re always being tested…

So, how does a video go viral? Well, TikTok tests… a lot! 

When you upload a video to TikTok, the app tests this out on a small group of people – known as tier 1.

If the participants in this tier react positively to it then it will move up to tier 2, and so on and so forth. There are a total of four tiers.

If you reach the fourth tier then you have gone viral!

No matter how many followers you have, everyone has this opportunity.

TikTok values ‘discovery’ and doesn’t measure follower count when pushing out videos; the algorithm treats all accounts equally. 

2. Know TikTok’s metrics.

Shares, saves, likes and comments are what most people think of when talking about measuring engagement rate.

As a marketer you would not be wrong, TikTok evaluates each video based on all the above engagement rates plus watch time.

This is arguably the most important metric on TikTok. Watching whole videos from start until finish is key, and even better if you watch it more than once.

As a creator, you want to encourage user interaction. You want to achieve this by making brilliant content, and adding a call-to-action you can also encourage passive users to interact.

If a user likes your video, and watches the video to the end, they see your call to action ‘click here to view my other videos’ and click on it, this tells TikTok that your content is valuable and the app will push your content out to a wider audience. 

3. You fit into a box.

Tiktok will label you and box your channel into a category that it thinks is the best fit be that cooking videos, cat videos or anything in between. 

You might have heard it all before, but really, your first five videos are crucial.

There is a theory that TikTok will look at your first five videos when categorising you, so maybe wait a bit before testing out new ideas!

Make sure that these first videos reflect your brand and align with your goal so that you’re categorised correctly.

4. TikTok SEO 

TikTok SEO is the process of optimising your content through the use of hashtags, keywords and leveraging popular trends to make your content more discoverable – both on TikTok and Google.

Obviously, user interactions (as discussed above) are a huge part of TikTok’s SEO, but it is important to remember that TikTok looks for videos that contain relevant keywords in their titles and descriptions.

A few months ago, TikTok increased their description count to 2,200 characters.

In a statement released by the app, they said ‘increased characters gives creators a chance to generate engagement while becoming more searchable and better recommended by TikTok to viewers’. Coincidence, I think not.

Opt for hashtags and keywords that are clearly relevant to your niche and that are popular for the chance to be featured at the top of the keyword list.

Do your keyword research!

5. Embrace the TikTok culture.

TikTok’s mission statement is ‘to inspire creativity and bring joy’.

When creating videos, don’t try to get fancy. Hop onto the latest trend, get inspired by other creators and bring your own flare to the platform.

Don’t copy what others have done and throw out the rule book – TikTok is all about authenticity, having fun and letting your voice shine.

Get in touch today to speak with our social media marketing experts

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