How TikTok’s ‘For You’ Page Algorithm Really Works

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By: Anastasia Gassieva

November 25, 2020

How TikTok’s ‘For You’ Page Algorithm Really Works

During quarantine you’ve either baked banana bread, binge watched Tiger King or downloaded TikTok – or perhaps all three! According to Sensor Tower, TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide for August 2020 with more than 63.3 million installs, which represented a 1.6 percent increase from August 2019.” With a constant stream of new users and video uploads alongside the rapid fire approach to trends on the platform, TikTok’s ‘For You’ Page (FYP) is a guiding light for users and content creators alike.

The ‘For You’ Page at first glance might seem like the wild west of short form video but in reality there are many components contributing to its hyper-targeted and highly tailored content.

If you’re a creator looking for some fresh ideas or a brand looking to nab some real-time engagement, we’re sharing must-knows about TikTok’s ‘For You’ Page and how to get your videos recommended to your target audience. 

What Contributes to the ‘For You’ Page?

TikTok’s ‘For You’ Page is a customized dashboard allowing users to spiral into the depths of relatable TikTok content. How does TikTok determine what is relatable specifically to a user? As per TikTok’s statements on the FYP, a number of factors are considered, including:

  • “User interactions such as the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and content you create.
  • Video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.
  • Device and account settings like your language preference, country setting, and device type. These factors are included to make sure the system is optimized for performance, but they receive lower weight in the recommendation system relative to other data points we measure since users don’t actively express these as preferences.”

According to Later.com “Each of these factors is individually weighted by the TikTok’s ‘For You’ recommendation system, meaning that each ‘For You’ Page will be completely unique to a user and their level of interest.”

CURATING YOUR FYP

Categories

Now that we’ve uncovered the contributing factors for customizing your FYP, you can curate your content feed by:

Step 1: Setting up your account

Step 2: Selecting your categories of interest, such as travel, beauty, entertainment, etc.

Step 3: TikTok curates your first FYP with content you’ve selected in your categories 

Step 4: (optional) if you opt out of selecting interests, your feed will consist of the most popular videos trending at the time

Interests

With every like, comment and interaction a user makes, the algorithm gathers these actions to keep the user’s feed more relevant to their interests. It doesn’t stop there. Looking up specific hashtags, sounds and ‘trending’ videos will all contribute to how a user’s FYP will ultimately look. 

Not Interested

TikTok offers a ‘Not Interested’ option where you can remove certain types of videos from your FYP. You also have the option to flag certain music, trends, and sounds that you might consider harmful and not entirely up to TikTok’s requirements. Similar to your likes, your dislikes all contribute to the ever-changing FYP feed! 

HOW CREATORS CAN GET ON THE FYP

We all secretly love when the likes, comments and views roll in, especially if you are a content owner. The obvious place for your content to exist is in users’ FYP as much as possible in order to snag the engagement you need. In a perfect world, we’d be able to throw up a simple hashtag and call it a day but where’s the fun in that? From hours of rehearsing Hood Baby to crafting a perfect #HelloFall video, here are 4 tips that might just get you #trending: 

1. Trending Songs

@shaymitchell

Angel’s best work yet. Check out part 2 to see her POV 🤣 #dogsoftiktok #hoodbaby

♬ Hood Baby – Kbfr

We can guarantee you’ve bopped your head to one out of the hundreds of trending TikTok songs available. While music plays a huge role in getting your video note-worthy impressions and engagement, it’s not always the easiest content to find. Need a crash course on what songs are currently trending? Simple: Hit the plus button and press the Sounds option at the top of the page. From there, you’ll be able to view the ‘Discover’ sounds that are currently the top performers. Just add the songs you’d like to use in your own videos to your ‘Favorites’.  

2. Trending Challenges

TikTok is where trends and challenges really catch fire. The importance of following trends is essential to landing a top performing video on the FYP. Thankfully, these challenges and trends are usually very easy to replicate! For example, the ‘M to the B’ challenge has over 6.1 million videos on TikTok. Celebrities including Madison Beer (39.9M views) and James Charles (12.2M views) have even jumped on the bandwagon! 

3. Hashtags & Captions 

One of the simplest things you can do to get yourself on the FYP is by using hashtags. Although #fyp won’t guarantee you a trending video, it doesn’t hurt to add this hashtag to your video’s caption. According to Hootsuite there are two types of hashtags creators should be using to grow their account: 

Number 1: #FYP, #ForYou, #ForYouPage – similar to the NBA official TikTok page.

Number 2: #Trending hashtags. Simply hit the Discover Tab and you will see all the current trending hashtags and each of their performances. If your content aligns well with a specific trending hashtag, consider incorporating it into your next TikTok post.

4. A Perfect Caption

TikTok captions can be described in two simple words: short & sweet. Typically, the best caption for TikTok is only one to two lines, with a relatable hashtag. Consider incorporating an engaging element into your caption that encourages your viewers to comment. Comments and captions go hand in hand so it’s important as a creator or a brand to add TikTok community management into your daily routine! 

Consistency

Stop what you’re doing and post! If you want to blow up on TikTok then it’s all about consistency. Maintaining a consistent posting schedule will encourage the TikTok algorithm to favor your content. An inconsistent posting schedule can result in TikTok not recommending your videos and ultimately negatively affecting your engagement. Maintain momentum and stick to it.

Reach out to BBTV’s team to become a partner to gain access to tools and support to ensure your TikToks are hitting all the boxes to get on the FYP!

As TikTok becomes a central platform for short form social video, content owners of all types – from singular creators to brands and businesses – can reach an increasingly engaged younger audience. All you have to do is understand how the platform recommends content to the audiences you’re seeking.  Happy TikTokin’!

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