Over the past few years, TikTok has quickly become the world’s fastest growing social media app, a large part of its popularity rising from TikTok’s “For You” page. This important feature has brought hundreds of new social media personalities with it into the limelight by just one video.
Out of the major social media platforms, TikTok is unique in that it doesn’t place as much emphasis on follower counts as other apps do. This allows new names to have a seat at the table with established personalities in a way that’s completely distinct to the app.
If you want to get the most out of the platform, you need to understand how TikTok’s “For You” page works so you can use it to your advantage.
In this guide, we’ll cover the inner workings of the “For You” page, how the TikTok algorithm works, and what you can do to get featured on it.
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TikTok is an app that’s all about fun. According to its website, its mission is to “inspire creativity and bring joy.” Because of this, TikTok structures its algorithm and app design differently from its competitors.
Like every social media platform out there, TikTok relies on a feed — in TikTok’s case, this is called the “For You” page. Here, you can see all the videos that the TikTok algorithm recommends for you, both from accounts you follow and otherwise.
Unlike Instagram — its closest competitor — it doesn’t separate content from accounts you follow and those you don’t onto two separate pages. Instead, everything is combined on one feed so that content discovery is integrated perfectly with content from your favorite accounts.
While other platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, rely heavily on follower counts when deciding what content to serve up, TikTok actually doesn’t directly factor follower counts into the equation at all. This is done purposefully so that new creators have a more equal chance at getting noticed compared to more established creators. The end result is that TikTok maintains a more authentic feeling and newcomers are able to get in on the fun with fewer obstacles and barriers.
Overall, these technical decisions lead to an app where social clout isn’t as important as enjoyable content.
TikTok’s “For You” Page Algorithm
So, with all this talk about how great and egalitarian TikTok’s algorithm is, what exactly makes it that way? Let’s take a look at how TikTok’s “For You” page algorithm works.
The Three Biggest Factors That Determine Your “For You” Page
Here are the three main factors you need to know about TikTok’s “For You” page algorithm:
1. User Interactions
The first thing that TikTok looks at when deciding what content to provide you with is your own unique actions on the app. Specifically, it looks at what videos you’ve interacted with via likes and comments, what videos you’ve shared, what accounts you follow, and what content you’ve watched for a significant length of time (or, ideally, watched on repeat).
From there, it looks for content that’s similar. When it finds some, it serves it up to you on the “For You” page.
Unlike the newsfeed algorithms on other platforms, TikTok doesn’t take into account the number of followers an account has when deciding what content to serve. As a result, you’re not going to end up with content from popular accounts on your TikTok’s “For You” page just because they have a lot of followers if the content isn’t similar to what you like — if the algorithm works as it’s supposed to, that is.
2. Device And Account Settings
TikTok also wants to make sure that it sends out content that is culturally and linguistically relevant — it wouldn’t make much sense to fill up a user’s “For You” page entirely with Romanian-language content if the user’s a native New Jerseyan with no connection to Eastern Europe.
To make good matches, TikTok takes language, device settings, and user location into account when filtering through content for the “For You” page.
3. Video Content
Not only does TikTok look at information about the videos you like, but it also looks for information within the videos you like. For example, TikTok can tell if you spend a lot of time watching videos with a particular sound or video effect, and serve up similar content for you.
Similarly, the TikTok algorithm will also look for patterns in the trends, captions, and hashtags you engage with to find related and relevant content that it predicts you will enjoy.
How Does TikTok Get This Information?
When you first sign up for TikTok, the app prompts you to answer a few basic questions and to provide some basic information about yourself. For example, it asks you to select a few categories that you’re interested in.
From there, TikTok starts recommending content to you. As you spend more time on the app, it collects data on what type of content you seem to enjoy the most. As it gets more data, it puts that data to use to recommend content.
So, TikTok gets the information in two ways: first by asking you directly what you’re interested in, and second, by monitoring what content you engage with the most and making recommendations based on that.
Mistakes Within The Algorithm
TikTok understands that no matter how hard it tries, its algorithm will never be perfect, and it’ll always make mistakes from time to time. That’s why it allows users to mark content as uninteresting if they find something they don’t like in their feed. When they do this, TikTok knows not to serve up similar content in the future.
Doing this is simple. When you’ve found a video you don’t like, simply long-press it, and then select “Not interested” from the menu that pops up. After doing this, similar videos will show up less frequently.
How To Get Featured On TikTok’s “For You” Page
Since the “For You” page is so tailored to every individual’s unique interests, there’s no singular secret formula to get featured. However, here are a few tips that can help.
Connect And Learn From Influencers
TikTok influencers are the TikTok professionals, so if anyone knows what it takes to make it on TikTok, it’s them. Connecting with influencers, studying what they do, and learning from them is one of the best ways to improve your odds of getting on the coveted “For You” page.
Connecting With Influencers On TikTok
If you want to connect with influencers on TikTok, one of the easiest ways is to use an influencer search engine like Influence Grid. These tools can help you find influencers in your niche and also give you important information about their account including:
- Influencer analytics
- Engagement rates
- Total views
Influence Grid also provides a TikTok Money Calculator which estimates how much it would cost to work with a given influencer.
Connect On The Platform
It’s also possible to find influencers on TikTok without using a search engine. To find influencers, you can search for hashtags related to your niche and look for accounts that have a sizable following.
It’s a good idea to follow them so that you can look through their content and learn what they did right to get such a big following.
Use Popular Sounds, Trends, And Filters
TikTok is a platform built around community and trends. If you want your content to perform well, it’s important to live by the adage, “When on TikTok, do as the TikTokers do.”
Stay on the lookout for popular sounds and filters and then use those in your own videos. If you see a particular type of video is trending, try to make your own in the same style.
A few examples of hot trends include:
- Laxed Siren Beat
Probably one of the better-known sounds in the TikTok world, “Laxed” Siren Beat is a tune with over 46 million videos made around it. The trend for this song revolves around learning some pretty simple choreography. Even a TikTok beginner shouldn’t have trouble.
- Cats of TikTok
If you have a furry friend in your life, make sure that you add them to your TikTok routine. The #CatsOfTikTok trend involves showcasing your kitty in a range of unique places. The hashtag has more than 52 billion views so far!
A unique, but interesting trend on TikTok right now is the #NotaPhoto challenge, which asks people to pose as still as possible in a video to make it seem like they’re in a picture instead. You hold the pose for as long as you can, until the beat drops.
Use The Right Hashtags
One thing TikTok shares in common with other social media platforms is its reliance on hashtags. By including the right hashtags with your posts, you’ll have a better chance of getting on other users’ “For You” pages.
Here are the top five hashtags right now:
Go Viral On TikTok’s “For You” Page
TikTok is a unique platform that puts a special emphasis on fun and authentic content that creates a childlike and carefree atmosphere. Unlike other social networks, it doesn’t place an emphasis on follower count when deciding what type of content to send to users, which is a huge benefit for those starting from ground zero.
By connecting with and learning from influencers, staying on top of trending sounds and effects, and using the right hashtags, you can give yourself the best chance of ending up on other people’s “For You” pages and making a mark on TikTok. Who knows? You might only be one video away from stardom!
Chris Mcdonald has been the lead news writer at complete connection. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. Chris is also an author of tech blog Area19delegate. He likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.