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How Does TikTok Algorithm Work and 7 Secret Tips to Hack

TikTok algorithm

Have you ever wondered why your TikTok videos are great but don’t display on many users’ For You Page? This is such a normal problem that anyone can face with.

Every game has rules and so does TikTok. To be viral and broaden your reach on this platform, you first need to know how it functions – TikTok algorithm. In this article, we’ll discuss all the basic things about the TikTok algorithm and secret tips to make it work for you.

What is the TikTok algorithm?

When you access your For You Page, The TikTok algorithm is a recommendation system that determines what kind of video will appear on your FYP. It presents the content based on your interest and preferences change. If you aim to go viral on TikTok, don’t hesitate to understand all the different sides of the TikTok algorithm!

TikTok aims to build a global community where users can create their own content and get inspired by others. The For You Page (FYP) where people spend most of their time discovering is the spotlight of all TikTok experiences. 

TikTok algorithm
Source: TikTok

It’s the main reason why the For You Page is highly personalized for each user. In a simple way, your friend and you will see different videos on each For You Page due to different viewing behaviors. For example, it makes sense that someone who shows a high interest in beauty and makeup products may get more suggestions for related videos. 

As a result, the types of video content will change over time since the audience’s interest doesn’t always stick to a specific subject. Thanks to this algorithm, TikTok offers a great user experience for the audience by helping them to reach their desired video.  

How does the TikTok algorithm work?

TikTok has recently revealed its secretive algorithm which was a hot topic since the beginning. TikTok users and especially businesses are always concerned about what factors affect the For You Page. According to TikTok, the TikTok algorithm is created by following three main factors:

  • User interactions
  • Video information
  • Device and account settings

User interactions 

TikTok is a shoppertainment platform that always puts the user’s behavior in the center. All the information about behavioral signals allows TikTok to get a better view of the unique interests of each user and how they change over time. Thanks to this data, TikTok will choose the video that matches the user’s preferences. 

Here are the five key data signals that TikTok is based on:

User interaction
Source: TikTok

Otherwise, the algorithm also considered whether or not TikTok users watched a video until the end. Sticking with a video from beginning to end is specific data showing a high interest in this topic, compared to other factors. It also means that they want to watch similar types of content. Due to the huge number of TikTok videos created each day, keeping a viewer staying until the end is really difficult. 

TikTok leverages the information from four factors presented to understand the types of content you prefer to watch and the creators whose content you enjoy. Therefore, it’s easier to show videos related to the ones you have watched and interacted with before. 

Video information 

Apart from behavioral signals, all the things that help to identify a video are definitely considered:

  • Captions
  • Sounds
  • Hashtags

TikTok hashtags play a major role in discovering what content video is more likely to appear on each user’s For You Page. It’s a word or keyword phrase preceded by a hash symbol (#) that helps to categorize TikTok content. Otherwise, the video length and stickers used also help TikTok to rank the content in a better way. 

Device and account settings

Device and account settings such as language preference, country setting, and device type are also regarded as an indicator of the TikTok recommendation system. TikTok uses these factors to optimize the system performance, but they show a lower weight in the algorithm compared to other data measures. 

Types of content TikTok algorithm won’t show

To ensure that your video will be recommended by TikTok, you should know some content the algorithm prevents from appearing in users’ For You Page including

  • Content flagged as “Not interested” or spam
  • Inauthentic content
  • Potentially Safety-compromising content
  • Overtly sexualized content 
  • Tobacco and alcohol products
  • Violent and graphic content
  • Unoriginal, low-quality, and QR code content

Although these kinds of content may be allowed, searchable, and viewed on TikTok, they are not eligible for TikTok recommendation.

7 best practices to master the TikTok algorithm 

Attract the audience in the first few seconds

Hooking your audience within three seconds is considered an important part to make your video recommended by the TikTok algorithm. With over 1 million content creators active on TikTok, users want to be entertained immediately, if not they will skip to the next video. 

It’s highly recommended to grab their attention within the first few seconds and keep them watching the entire video. Being a fast-moving platform, TikTok won’t give any space for slow build-ups that can lose viewers’ interest. 

Keep in mind that the TikTok algorithm prefers videos that are easy to digest and have a seamless loop. When your video has a catching hook, users will most likely watch till the end or even on repeat. It will be a good point to make the TikTok algorithm boost your video.


For those quick eyeshadow days! 5 minute eyeshadow look with @Tashi Rodriguez 💜🖤

♬ You And Me – Lyus

Make shorter videos

TikTok has recently extended the maximum length of the video to 10 minutes, however, the ideal one is still between 21 to 34 seconds. Therefore, it’s better to lean toward a short video because short is the key to the TikTok algorithm. Try to make a short and simple video, a professional video editor is not required on TikTok!

However, it doesn’t mean that long-form videos are not dedicated to TikTok and you should avoid them. Don’t hesitate to give them a try and consider whether or not they are aligned with your brand identity, your must-meet goals, and especially your audience on TikTok. 

Use relevant hashtags

Hashtags allow the TikTok algorithm to find, understand and therefore categorize the content. Relevant and trending hashtags are merited to use because they are a great way to extend your reach beyond your followers. 

Without a doubt, most content creators and marketers know the value of TikTok hashtags. They are even prioritized more than trending sounds and effects.


Love these little labels 🤍 makes me so happy to see my logo ✨ #satinscrunchies #scrunchies #scrunchiebusiness #sewing

♬ Forever – Labrinth

Focus on TikTok community

The first thing you need to be concerned about is choosing the right community to focus on. Users spend time on TikTok not only to entertain but also to get inspired by the TikTok community. The more you share valuable videos related to your niche, the more TikTok will recognize your content and begin to serve it to the right audience

Keep in mind that your video needs to align with your community preferences. Depending on each user’s personal interest, both TikTok and TikTok users may want to avoid certain categories of content. For example, the TikTok algorithm won’t approve nature content or complex themes for the teenage community. 

Post at the right time

Try to publish your video when your target customers are most active. It is regarded as one of the main factors that increase your chances of going viral on TikTok. By checking your Followers tab, you can get a better view of your audience’s activity to find your most optimal time to post on TikTok.

The universal perfect time doesn’t exist because it depends on audience specific points. However, let’s consider our great suggestion in terms of the best time to publish: 

  • Between 6 am to 10 am and 7 pm to 11 pm
  • Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday

Experiment with new features 

TikTok is a platform that always fills up with “hot news” and amazing updates that brands can leverage to gain more visibility. It always tries its best to build more winning features to meet the demand of different types of business. Keep an eye on every latest feature to reach more users and get deeper engagement with your audience. 

Almost all TikTok new features stick with specific events – a perfect way to keep your brands up to date. For example, for the TikTok holiday shopping season, this platform has recently launched Shopping Ads to create unique experiences for customers. 

Catalog Listing Ads – Source: TikTok

If you aim to master all the latest TikTok Ad types, don’t hesitate to try our new product NestAds – TikTok Advertising Management Software!

Collaborate with other content creators

Last but not least, engaging with other content creators is another best practice to take advantage of the TikTok algorithm. Appearing in other brands’ videos or simply liking and commenting will make TikTok appreciate your efforts and bring you a favor when you publish your new video. 

TikTok, after all, is still a social media platform, a place to connect brands from different sectors and different cultures. 


Words can simply not describe this beautiful moment. @duolingo #scrubdaddy #smile #cleantok #cleaningtiktok #smile #duolingo

♬ original sound – Scrub Daddy

Start to make the TikTok algorithm work for you

A truth for all brands is that there is no perfect way to totally win the TikTok algorithm because it always changes over time. However, understanding how it works and following our tips can help you to beat the TikTok algorithm. If you are still a newbie on TikTok, feel free to contact our experts to master the algorithm and make your video viral.


Meet our Author


Author at NestScale

Rosie is a professional content writer, focusing on technology and e-commerce business. When she’s not working, you will find her immersing in movies or hanging out with her friends.


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