The TikTok Algorithm: How It Works

The Chinese social video platform has become a heavy-hitter in the US music marketing industry, due in large part to the platform’s algorithm, and its ability to quickly propel a video to viral status.


Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

TikTok is a social video platform from China that currently has a lot of influence on the U.S. music industry, as labels see how much its users love music. Despite what you might have heard, it’s not just for kids, and can provide some very useful promotion even though the videos are only 15 seconds long. It’s easier for a video to go viral on the platform than another other at the moment, and that’s because of the TikTok algorithm.

How The Algorithm Works

The TikTok algorithm uses machine learning to evaluate the quality of every video uploaded. Just like the algorithms used on every other social platform and search engine, the specifics aren’t published, but experts have determined at least some of its aspects.

  • When a video is uploaded, TikTok shows it to a small number of TikTok users in between popular videos. This way, the user doesn’t get bored.
  • The algorithm then measures how much of your video is actually watched, as well as how many Likes, comments, shares, and downloads it receives. It seems that the ratio is 1 like for every 10 views in order to trigger the algorithm to show the video to more people.
  • The algorithm is triggered by the velocity of the engagement it receives. In other words, if it suddenly receives 20% more Likes in a single day, then the video will be pushed out to more people as a result. Users have reported that their video views seem to come in waves as a result.
  • Believe it or not, TikTok is has over a billion users and was download more than even Instagram last year. That means that the possibility of your video being seen by a lot of people, or even going viral in some small way, is pretty good.

It might be time for you to check it out TikTok if you haven’t already. This is a good article that provides most of the basics, but we’ll touch on more here in the future.

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  1. hi barbara, honestly you could try but the outcome won’t be that good as people on tik tok often just scroll down if they see an ad but you should make a video of yourself saying “HI this is a tip that will save your current lives (state the website and what it does)thank me later” also hashtag a lot of things like fyp or for you as then more people may see it . Keep the background bright and good quality as the algorithm usually picks good quality videos. make sure to share the tiktok on your other social media followers too.
    Hope this helped,

  2. I have a video right now that has a like ratio of 1 like for every 2 views (170 likes, 400 views) I feel like this would be enough to get pushed out to more viewers, but it has been 6 hours and nothing has happened… is there something im missing??

  3. Hey,
    I really like your contribution with such a great collective approach, I loved reading them, l would really appreciate it if you add me in your collection to lend me a thumbs up also and keep up the good work though.
    besides, I’ll be reading them whether it would be yes or no 🙂

    Thank you

  4. My video got so many likes, views and comments shares when I posted from a popular person’s account but I don’t get response like that when I posted from my account.. Plz viral my videos..… @lovely_chinka

  5. Something has changed in the algorithms lately. A lot of people are talking about it. My art videos were getting thousands of views (the most popular one 441K), now I’m lucky if I hit 1,000. I was hitting the For You page all the time. Now. NOPE!

    Video I just posted as being viewed and liked FAST. Comments were rolling in. Then, suddenly, crickets. I stopped being viewed, apparently. Has more than a 1 like to 10 view like ratio as well. SIGH.

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