TikTok, Bytedance

How To Hack The TikTok Algorithm And Get On The “For You” Page

By As-sayyidul Arafat Abdulrazaq

TECH DIGEST – TikTok is an iOS and Android media app that people can use to create and share short videos. It is a sensational social media app that has kept rising since its birth in 2016. It has made its way to becoming the second most downloaded app on iPhone in 2020. It is estimated that 18% of the global internet user uses TikTok as at 2020. TikTok has become exceptionally popular recently, particularly with the younger Millennials and Generation Z.

TikTok is fun, but it can also be clingy and addictive. TikTok’s mission is “to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone. TikTok enables everyone to be a creator and encourages users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos.”

So if your business is targeting millennials, you should be utilizing this incredible app.

Top 5 TikTok Statistics you Should Know

How Many Users Does TikTok Have?

TikTok has 689 million monthly active users worldwide. Knowing that it is just five years old and doing these Numbers is mind-blowing. It took competitors like Instagram six years to gain the same monthly active users that TikTok achieved in under three years. Facebook, widely known as the king of social media, took over four years. With that said, this TikTok user statistic of 689 million does not include users in China, home to TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. That’s because the social media site operates under a different name there.

Called Douyin, this Chinese version of TikTok boasts 600 million daily active users. Together, TikTok and Douyin have 1.29 billion active users worldwide. Users by Gender the Male gender 53% and Female gender 47%

How many downloads does TikTok have?

In February 2019, TikTok reached its first billion downloads. The app took just under eight months to gain half a billion more. These figures are nothing short of impressive, considering that the app was launched only as recently as 2016.

TikTok’s achievement was attributed to two things;

One is the coronavirus pandemic era, as there was restricted movement. People were keen on their mobile phones and seeking entertainment and new ways to stay connected, which drove the increase of TikTok downloads. And the other which experts attribute to TikTok’s success in the west is the adoption of musical.ly by douyin, which is now TikTok and the incorporation of music in TikTok.

The TikTok app has been downloaded over 2.6 billion times worldwide, as reported by Sensor Tower in December 2020. In January 2021, TikTok had 62 million downloads. In Q1 of 2020, the app had 315 million downloads, which is the best quarter by any app ever.

But TikTok appears to be more popular among iPhone users than Android users–TikTok is ‘only’ the third-most downloaded app on Google Play, behind WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

READ ALSO: How Facebook Paid GOP firm to smear rival company, TikTok

How much time does an average user spend on TikTok?

TikTok users love the app. They spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the platform. A new study has shown that younger people ages four to fifteen spend an average of 80 minutes per day on the app. So this means that people are using the social networking app daily either to create and share videos of themselves or to watch a plethora of TikTok videos uploaded to the platform. Either way, they’re doing it for almost an hour every day.

Let’s look at how other social media sites perform compared to TikTok. People spend almost the same time on Instagram (53 minutes) and less on Snapchat (49.5 minutes). Facebook takes the lead, with users spending an average of 58.5 minutes on the social media platform each day. And for marketers, all this can be a big deal to know. That’s because the more time people spend on these apps, the higher the chance they will see advertisements.

How many countries is TikTok available in?

Out of the 195 countries in the world, As of 2020, TikTok has its presence in 141 countries. This is a massive achievement because they are just five years old. As a marketer, this is an amazing app to leverage on as your product is open to a larger audience.

Average Number of Viewed Videos on TikTok : The average number of viewed videos on TikTok is 1Billion as of 2020. It is safe to say TikTok competitors like YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat saw the importance of short videos. They added the feature to their app. For example, Instagram came up with Reels which is now a feature in their app. The same goes for YouTube same name, same feature, and Snapchat has the spotlight feature. A fun fact, there were more than 1 million videos viewed every day in its first year. It’s mind-blowing that within a year of TikTok’s development, it reached this milestone of 1 million views per day.

Content and community were a big player in encouraging the growth of TikTok in a very short span of time. From then onwards, TikTok continued to grow and reach new audiences.

What determines the “For You” page on TikTok

The For You page, aka “FYP,” is the first page you land on when you open the TikTok app. It’s a curated feed of videos from creators you might not follow, but TikTok’s algorithm thinks you will like based on your interests and past interactions.

TikTok seems to know what everyone wants to watch in the For You Page feature, and it keeps you entertained. The TikTok algorithm has got it down to fine art in showing us videos that we’re going to continually watch and end up stuck on the app for hours. One video hooks you in and then you’ve got another ten like it.

The 3 Factors for TikTok ‘For You Page’ :TikTok HQ has stated these factors.

User interactions: such as the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and content you create.

Much like Instagram’s algorithm, the TikTok algorithm serves users posts they engage with. If there’s a specific account they interact with a lot, they’re more likely to see content from it. It’s the same with the videos they often like and share.

However, the strongest ranking indicator in this category is the video completion rate. This means if users watch a video in full, it’s more likely to be pushed for further distribution to other feeds than the one that viewers scrolled past or watched for a second or two.

Video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.

The algorithm push content that a user explores. So, for instance, if users often search for a particular hashtag or enjoy content with a specific sound, they’re more likely to see videos with the same hashtag and sound.  That explains why you come across Hashtags like #commotbodyjor, #Dangerous #Prank.

Device and account settings like your language preference, country setting, and device type. These factors are included to ensure the system is optimised for performance. Still, they receive lower weight in the recommendation system than other data points we measure since users don’t actively express these as preferences.

How to get on TikTok “For You” Page with TikTok ads

If your marketing audience is younger adults, especially women, advertising on TikTok is a natural fit. Almost half (43%) of TikTok users are aged 18 to 24. Women in that age category make up nearly a quarter (24.7%) of TikTok’s advertising audience. Marketers can now reach 825 million users aged 18 and above around the world via ads on TikTok, according to Byte Dance’s latest numbers.

Those figures suggest that TikTok ads now enable marketers to reach:

10% of the world’s total population, regardless of age or location.

15% of everybody aged 18 and above, regardless of location.

24% of everybody aged 18 and above outside China (which has a separate app) and India (where TikTok is unavailable).

However, as we see in the data for all other platforms, TikTok’s reach varies considerably by geography and demographics.

Types of TikTok Advertisement

These are the type of ads you can run on TikTok that will get you on the ‘For you page.’

In-feed Ads : These are self-service ads you can create yourself through the TikTok Ad Manager interface.

Image Ads: Running only in TikTok’s News Feed apps (BuzzVideo, TopBuzz, and Babe), including an image, brand or app name, and ad text.

Video Ads: Video ads are available for TikTok itself or the TikTok family of news apps. They run as 5-60 second full-screen videos in the user’s For You feed. Each ad includes a video, an ad display image, brand or app name, and ad text.

How to Get on TikTok’s For You Page FAQs

It’s funny that over the years, we believe that the hashtag #foryou #fyp will get our post on the ‘for you page’ of TikTok till the TikTok HQ gives the factors that make up the ‘For You Page’.

Here are some of the frequently most asked questions

  1. How can I use hashtags to get on TikTok’s FYP?

When something trends, more and more people flock toward it. And if you create genuinely awesome videos for trending hashtags, you’re likely to attract more views, and if they like your content, they will follow you for more. Look up trending hashtags in the Discover tab of your account to add your creative twist to the hashtags. And also don’t want to use those hashtags as a crutch and miss out on using keywords relevant to your content and niche. Either way, taking part in a hashtag challenge is an excellent way to grow your video views and gain the favor of the algorithm. Find the prevailing hashtag challenges from the Discover tab.

2. How long are videos on TikTok’s FYP?

The most popular TikTok FYP videos are 60 seconds or less.

3. What TikTok FYP captions should I use?

TikTok is not the platform to spill your guts in a microblogging session. Captions on your TikTok videos should be short, include related hashtags, and encourage engagement (likes, comments, and shares) from other TikTok users. TikTok beats tweets to writing short captions. One thing is for sure, though – you need to be compelling despite having a 150-character limit (including any hashtags you add). An engaging caption can go a long way in encouraging your audience to watch your video, even till the end.

Question-based captions like ‘Do you have a cat? You have to watch this’ or ordinary ‘you have to watch this to the end’ stairs up the viewers’ curiosity. These encourage viewers to leave comments on your content – another “engagement” ranking factor to play along with.

4. What time should I post a video, so it appears on TikTok’s FYP?

After you get 100 followers, look at your free TikTok pro account. Get a TikTok Pro Account (it’s free) to fetch data on your followers’ most active times under Follower activity in the Follower Tab section. Then, post when your analytics show your followers are most likely to be online. This will give your ideas on what your followers like when online and many more like Instagram Analytics.

5. What sounds will help me get on TikTok’s FYP?

Try to use trending or popular sounds with your videos. While there is no official confirmed link between using trending sounds and being on the FYP, it usually helps increase popularity. Just as hashtags trend, sounds also ride the popularity wave on TikTok. This means creating videos to these trending sounds can help you tap into the algorithm further.  And very important to make sure the video you are posting has top-notch quality. A high-quality video is more likely to keep eyeballs on your content, which means higher completion rates and more views. TikTok will not push out low-definition, blurry, or grainy videos to the masses. At best, it could cause users to swipe away; at worst, people will close the app.

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