If you’ve been on the internet within the last few months, then you’ve probably heard of, or have seen, TikTok. But if you haven’t, I’m not judging. TikTok is a short form video platform that allows its users to create videos up to a minute in length.
Users are able to sync up their videos to preexisting sounds or create their own. And while this app is gaining popularity, not too much is known about its algorithm, but don’t worry, we did the research for you.
Understanding the Algorithm
While there is no official guide to TikTok’s algorithm, we do have the “Small Batch” theory. No, we didn’t create this theory, but if anyone asks, we’re happy to take credit!
Small Batch is a theory that your content is shown to your audiences in batches that start small, but slowly grow.
Let’s break it down
- When your video is first uploaded, it’s shown to a small number of users between already popular videos. These typically will receive around 100-300 views. Note: if your video doesn’t surpass 100 views in 1 hour, it’s unlikely your video will gain any more traction.
- From here, the algorithm measures how many times your video has been viewed. If users aren’t watching your video in its entirety, it will count against you.
- What triggers the algorithm in your favor is having a 1-like-per-10-views ratio.
- If your TikTok (the piece of content, much like a tweet on Twitter) manages to make it through to the second viewing batch, you’ll see an increase in views, typically turning your 150 views into 1,500 views.
- If your video continues to do well, according to the TikTok algorithm, views should start pouring in (1,000–10,000, 10,000–100,000, 100,000–1M).
- If your video gets at least a 20% spike in activity, your TikTok will be thrown back into the ring, giving you another chance to go viral.
- Because content is released to your audience in batches, it’s very likely that it will take a few days to get your video to grow.
TikTok’s Performance Metrics
Now that we know how the algorithm works, let’s talk about what makes a TikTok successful in the algorithm’s eyes:
The amount of times your video is viewed in its entirety is the most important metric on this platform. If a user’s attention wasn’t grabbed enough to make it all the way through, points will be taken against your post.
Shares are the second most important metric because this tells the algorithm that a user enjoyed your video so much that they wanted their friends to be a part of it. (Shares = Smiles)
Just like every social platform, comments hold a lot of weight. Unlike most platforms, comments are the third most important metric to the algorithm. However, since it takes more time to write a comment than to press like, you’ll want to make sure your brand is interacting with them or people may feel ignored.
Oh likes, the most visible and yet least important metric. But just because it holds the least weight, doesn’t mean it’s not important — it’s still an engagement between you and a potential consumer. To entice your audience to like your post, make sure your copy is engaging or add clever text to your video.
Don’t let a lack of follower count hold you back because, unlike other social platforms, you don’t need followers to go viral. In fact, it’s very common for an account with a small following to have a video “blow up.”
While it might seem hard to try to post 1-2 TikToks a day, because Gen Z values authenticity, your videos don’t need to be polished. TikTok is the place for imperfection. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put any thought into what you’re putting out, but you definitely shouldn’t overthink it. Keep in mind that authenticity usually fades when created, reviewed, and revised by committee. Create TikTok content like Gen Z creates content — authentically, with passion, individuality, and a desire to entertain or connect. In short, have fun.
Now that you understand how it works, you can get started on your videos. But if you’re left with the lingering question of why this platform is relevant, we can answer that for you in our FREE ebook.
Don’t feel like reading? No worries! You can also schedule a free digital marketing consultation where one of our experts will help solve some of your unique challenges.
Download your handy-dandy ebook now or reach out to chat to see why your brand should target Gen Z and how to do it in new & engaging ways to build your brand with new audiences fast.