TikTok Algorithm 2019 How The Algorithm Works
Let’s start with the basics of the algorithm, then to the flow that a video goes through when posted, and end with tips to create more viral videos. Here is the outline of these sections:
- How the TikTok Algorithm Works
- The Flow of a Video When Posted
- Tips on How to Make Videos Go Viral
Before we discuss cracking the algorithm, let’s go over the TikTok basics. TikToks main objective is to keep users on the app as long as possible, so they focus heavily on showing the right videos to the right users. For this reason, we refer to the TikTok algorithm as the Matching Engine. The engine take the video classification and show it to users with preferences similar to those classifications.
Video classification is defined by two key characteristics:
- The music / audio
- The text description / hashtags
The users’ preference is determined by tracking their actions on previously seen videos:
- Percentage Watched: The more the user watched, the higher it is; also known as completion ratio which will be explained in the next section.
To see how the videos are classified and how the user’s actions factor into the Matching Engine, let’s go over a scenario. If a user “likes” only videos using a particular song and has a text description of “cats”, then the algorithm will try to match videos with those characteristics to those users. The more time the users are on the app, the more the algorithm will narrow down their preference.
1. Post Video
This is the first stage that defines the video reach. Based on the video classifications, the algorithm matches what viewers to push the video to.
2. Push to Viewers
TikTok will push to a group of viewers. The number of viewers is based on a few factors:
- Number of Followers: Higher is better
- Profile Rating: This is a rating that is assigned to the creator’s account (one posting the video) based on past video performances. If the creator has created content with great engagements, the profile rating will be higher.
- Rating Ratio: If it isn’t the “Initial Push” (refer to flow chart), then the “Rating Ratio” in stage #4 is included as well. The higher the ratio, the more the video will be pushed to new viewers.
3. Evaluation of Performance
This stage is crucial since it determines the quality of the video based on engagement rates. After viewers watch the video, the algorithm tallies up engagements. Engagements are measured based on these criteria (ordered from most to least importance):
- Completion Ratio: What percentage of the video was watched. For instance, if they watched half of the video, the ratio is 0.5. Good video content will be viewed in it’s entirety. TikTok shows the analytics of the video, and the user can see, on average, how many seconds viewers watched relative to the length of the video. If the average is greater than the length, then the video was watched repeatedly which factors favorably into the ratio.
- Shares: When viewers share a video with other users, the video will gain viewers and engagements
- Comments: The more comments, the better. If comments include other users being tagged, that will direct more users to the video, similar to sharing.
- Likes: This is the smallest engagement, but it does count.
4. Rating Ratio Requirement
In this stage, the performance rating in stage #3 will determine if it meets the minimum requirement to do another push to new viewers. The higher the performance rating ratio, the more viewers get to see the video in the next push. If it does not meet the minimum requirements, then that will end the pushing of the video.
5. End Push to Viewers
This is when the video isn’t getting pushed to any users, and the views will drop to nothing. However, there is a chance that a video could get another push if it can get enough views and engagements to warrant it, and the cycle continues again. We have seen it on a few of our videos where it spikes again after a certain time from getting no views.
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