In The Guts Of The Tiktok Algorithm, How Does It Work

TikTok is already one of the great phenomena in the history of social networks since it has managed to conquer the market in just two years. It is clear that one of the keys to its success is an algorithm that gets users hooked and returns to the app again and again.

The secrets of the TikTok algorithm

Last September we were able to learn some fundamental information about how the TikTok algorithm works. Taking them into account will help you better plan your content and your presence on this network, so let’s tell you about them right here!

How the TikTok algorithm works step by step

The first time a new user enters TikTok,  they are shown 8 popular videos showing different trends children’s book illustration services. The first piece of information that the algorithm takes into account is the reaction of that person to these videos (play them in full or not, give a “like”, comment …).

After this first contact, the system continues showing videos to the user 8 by 8, increasingly personalized based on previous interactions.

To identify the videos that can attract a user, the  TikTok algorithm  uses information such as:

  • The subtitles of the video.
  • The hashtags used.
  • The music used in the video.
  • The user account settings (country, language …).
  • The type of device you are using.

As  TikTok collects information about the user, you can look for similarities with other similar users and include them in a user group. In turn, the videos are also classified into groups of similar themes. The system then uses machine learning techniques to show users videos based on how close they are to other groups and what content they like.

Another important fact to keep in mind is that the TikTok system is created to eliminate redundancies, that is, it avoids showing several videos with the same music or from the same creator in a row.

Keys for your content to be shown more

If you want the TikTok algorithm to show your videos more, take note!

  • Language:TikTok tends to show content in your language, so it is important to have your language properly configured both at the account level (in Settings — App language) and in the content preferences (in Settings — Preferences of content).
  • Interactions:every time a user follows an account, they are telling TikTok that they like that type of content, so it is interpreted as a signal to show more related content. The same is true for other interactions such as liking, commenting on the video, sharing it, or sending it to someone. A very important signal for TikTok is that the video is viewed from beginning to end.
  • Account type:when you post content on TikTok, the app classifies you in one category or another, for example “football accounts”, and tends to show your content to accounts that belong to the same category as you.
  • Uploaded content:the TikTok algorithm takes into account all kinds of information about the videos we upload, such as the sounds we are using, the topic we are talking about, the titles or texts, the description, the hashtags … all this constitutes a signal for TikTok to classify it and show it to a specific type of user.
  • Test filter :When you upload content, it is first shown to a small number of users to see what percentage of interactions it generates. If these users respond well, more people are shown. Therefore, controlling the time you post can be very important to make your content go viral.

The TikTok algorithm and content bubbles

One of the possible problems with the TikTok algorithm is that it can generate “content bubbles”, that is, reinforce the preferences and opinions of users instead of showing them a more varied and representative content.

The problem is that content bubbles can end up reinforcing the reach of fake news, conspiracy theories and other potentially harmful content. To prevent this, TikTok has product and policy teams that study which accounts and video information are most likely to display misinformation and take appropriate restraint measures.

Why has TikTok decided to reveal its algorithm?

TikTok has shared this data about its inner workings as part of the presentation of its   Los Angeles transparency center, which aims to quell rumors about its practices.

2020 has been a tumultuous year for TikTok, as after its unstoppable rise during the pandemic, it encountered an unexpected obstacle: the Indian government blocked the download of multiple Chinese applications, including TikTok, as a threat to the country’s security. .

At the same time, the US government threatened to block TikTok in its country in retaliation for the coronavirus and for suspicions that the Chinese government could access TikTok data and content posted on the platform.

Taking advantage of this situation, two very similar platforms have emerged from the competition,  Instagram Reels and  YouTube Shorts, which seek to capture the same market gap that TikTok is targeting.

Finally,  TikTok entered into negotiations with several US companies to sell the application to them, so that it would have to submit to the same data practices as other US companies, thus eliminating the risk of blocking. After several script twists, an agreement was finally reached between TikTok, Oracle and Walmart.

In the midst of all this operation, the TikTok transparency center and the information revealed about its algorithm seeks to wash its image and gain the trust of governments and users to continue conquering the social media market.

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