How does the TikTok algorithm work in 2024

Discover TikTok's inner workings and see how a few simple tweaks can help you unlock more views for your videos.

Sandy Beeson
Imagery relating to TikTok with text reading 'the TikTok algorithm' over the top.

The TikTok algorithm can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s the driving force behind TikTok’s meteoric rise, catapulting creators to stardom overnight. But equally, it could be the reason your next upload slips by with next to no views. So what is the TikTok algorithm and how exactly does it work in 2024?

The ingenious nuts and bolts behind how TikTok recommends videos can propel previously unheard of creators onto the For You Pages of millions of users worldwide. Just look at how TikTok megastars like Bella Poarch and Khaby Lame have used clever formats to conquer the algorithm and find international fame. There’s nothing stopping you from doing the same.

Once you understand the TikTok algorithm, you’ll be able to tweak your videos and get them seen by more people. To help you out, we’ve dug into how it works and highlighted some easy changes that’ll bump up your view counts.

What is the TikTok algorithm?

Examples of TikTok creators to show the range of content covered by the TikTok algorithm.

The TikTok algorithm is the powerful machinery behind the platform’s For You Page. Its main job is to match TikTok’s billions of users with the videos they want to watch. And it’s pretty good at it.

The more you use TikTok, the better its video recommendations become as it learns what you like to watch. Every time you watch or skip a video, you’re telling TikTok whether it should show you more of the same. Essentially, you’re teaching TikTok what you want to watch.

So how can you use this knowledge to get more views? By understanding the signs TikTok’s algorithm is looking for, you’ll be able to craft content which has a better chance of being recommended to more people.

How does the TikTok algorithm work in 2024?

Image of a TikTok creator with imagery relating to how the TikTok algorithm works, including hashtags, shares and likes.

TikTok’s algorithm works by building each user their own, personalized For You Page. It selects the videos it knows you’re interested in watching, while also filtering out the content you’re not as keen on. But with billions of users, how does TikTok’s algorithm manage this at scale?

The algorithm checks its data to see which videos resonate most with people and then uses these insights to match content with each user. It even shares the signs it looks for in when compiling individual For You feeds:

  • Interactions - When you like, share or comment on a video, you’re showing the algorithm you’ve enjoyed these clips the most. This means it can serve you more of the same type of content.
  • Captions and hashtags - The algorithm uses the information in hashtags and descriptions to group together similar content. So, if you’re digging a particular niche, TikTok can easily find you more clips to enjoy.
  • Device and account settings - The preferences you select, such as location and language, help the algorithm serve up localized content that resonates with each user. After all, you wouldn’t want to watch a clip in a language you don’t understand!

But TikTok’s algorithm doesn’t stop there. It also cleverly keeps your feed feeling fresh by avoiding repetitive content, serving up new creators and niches you haven’t found yet. It’s this commitment to making TikTok a platform where creators can get discovered that makes the algorithm particularly powerful when you’re looking to score a viral hit.

How the TikTok algorithm can boost your views

Image of three TikTok creators looking happy that the TikTok algorithm is sharing their content.

The TikTok algorithm is always looking for engaging content to share with its users. You can use this to your advantage. Approach every video with the mindset that you want the algorithm to share it further and you’ll give your content a better chance of reaching a bigger audience. 

But how exactly do you go about tailoring your content to make it more shareable? All it takes is recognizing what the algorithm is looking for and making sure each upload ticks those boxes. 

TikTok values interactions, so don’t be afraid to encourage comments and ask people for likes. Given the algorithm uses captions and hashtags to categorize content, make sure you take every opportunity to label your videos appropriately. Read on to check out our essential tips for getting TikTok’s algorithm to share your content further.

8 tips to get TikTok’s algorithm to share your video further

Images of different phones showing the range of TikTok creators covered by the TikTok algorithm.

Knowing how TikTok’s algorithm identifies the content it shares with people gives you a headstart when looking at how you can improve your videos. Follow these 8 tips on every new upload and see how quickly your view counts start climbing.

1. Start with a bang to catch people’s attention

You only have a few seconds to convince someone to watch your video, so make them count. Set your stall out right away by giving viewers a reason to stick around, like Max Klymenko does with his punchy intros. 

He immediately piques his audience’s interest by outlining what they can expect from the video. This is an effective way of convincing people to watch right the way through, which in turn shows the algorithm your upload keeps people engaged and is worth sharing further.

2. Keep things punchy so people don’t scroll away

The best TikTok videos get straight to the point. Be super critical about cutting out anything that doesn’t add to your narrative. Laura Drawss uses this technique effectively in her snappy video showing the progression she’s made as an artist since she was three years old.

She immediately sets up the premise of the video and then runs through a highlights reel of her art. It’s a simple format that’s super effective and maintains your interest from start to finish. Make sure you never give people a reason to scroll past your content by keeping your edit tight.

3. Master the edit and keep viewers intrigued

TikTok features a Swiss army knife of tools designed to spark your creativity. The best creators use clever techniques alongside filters, overlays and more, creating innovative edits that grab attention from the get-go. Why does this help? TikTok’s algorithm will see your videos demand your audience’s interest and will be more likely to show them to other people.

As an example, check out the clever transition Celine Dept used when she met Kylian Mbappe. While you might not be able to call on a famous athlete to feature in your video, you can try out innovative techniques that pique the viewer’s interest and demand a second or third viewing.

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4. Address your audience directly to encourage them to interact

Remember how TikTok’s algorithm loves videos that encourage interaction? Why not build that into your video and address your viewers directly? Tiffy Cooks does this from the outset, asking her audience what their favorite noodle dishes are.

As a viewer, you immediately know what the video’s about. And, by being asked a direct question, you’re more likely to drop a comment too. Finding a natural way to involve your viewers will help you rack up more comments and show the algorithm your content is engaging.

Images of different phones showing the range of TikTok creators featured in TikTok's algorithm.

5. Don’t be shy about asking for comments & likes

You know what’s more likely to make people drop a comment or hit like on your videos? Simply asking them to. Find a format that involves viewers engaging with your post and you’ll have an even better chance of getting those sweet interactions TikTok loves so much.

Take musician Max Frost as an example. He’s created a format for his reimagined cover versions of famous bands where he asks people to leave a comment and vote for their favorite. This guarantees tons of engagement for each post, which in turn demonstrates to the algorithm how much his content resonates with viewers.

6. Give people a reason to share your videos

Creating share-worthy content is a fast-track to featuring in the TikTok algorithm’s recommendations. Having videos shared by users is one of the strongest signals the algorithm looks for, so give people a reason to send your content on to others.

Just think about the number of times you’ve seen a TikTok video and immediately shared it with friends and family. Typically you’ll share a clip because it strikes a chord with you, whether it’s funny, insightful, or deeply relatable. Achieve the same with your videos and you’ll soon see people sharing them further.

7. Open up new audiences with the right hashtags

Ever wondered how TikTok’s algorithm seems to know exactly the type of videos you like watching? It uses hashtags to group content together, meaning it can serve you clips similar to the ones you already love.

By hunting down relevant hashtags for your uploads, you’ll give them an extra shot at getting discovered by new audiences. Beautybyalicedimplz used #ASMR to get her comedy braiding video in front of TikTok’s massive ASMR audience, racking up over 100 million views as a result. It’s as simple as researching hashtags which fit with your content and including them in your caption.

8. Use captions to tell the algorithm what your content’s about 

Giving your video a caption is one of the easiest ways to reach new viewers on TikTok. By telling the algorithm what your video’s about, you’re dropping massive hints that’ll help it find people who want to watch it.

Say for example you upload a surfing clip with a suitable caption, the algorithm will be more likely to serve it to viewers already watching big wave content. You don’t need to max out your caption either - just adding a simple description of your video will help open up new audiences.

Understanding the TikTok algorithm will help you to find new viewers

Images of different creators that have had their content shared further by the TikTok algorithm.

TikTok’s algorithm might be a powerful beast, but you can easily tame it with the right know-how. It’s designed to match up TikTok’s users with videos it knows they’ll love. Knowing this is your ticket to getting on the algorithm’s good side, unlocking bigger audiences and more views in the process.

So craft content that keeps people hooked and encourages them to interact with your videos, showing the algorithm they hit the mark. And make sure to use hashtags and captions correctly to make it easy for TikTok to match your content with new viewers.

By following our simple tips for every single video you upload to TikTok, you’ll give yourself the best chance of scoring a viral hit. Once you’re racking up big views, you can keep tabs on your progress and continue your momentum by using our guide to TikTok analytics.

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