How TikTok’s “For You” Page Algorithm Works (FYP)

This post will cover in depth how the TikTok algorithm works.  It will be useful for anyone asking how TikTok recommends videos to them as well as any creators who are wondering how to get their videos recommended on the For You Page (aka FYP).  We'll start off with a TLDR / summary for those of you like me who want to get straight to the point and not waste time.

TLDR - Which Factors & Engagement Signals Help You Get On The For You Page

Engagement or Interactions - Likes, Comments, Replays, Shares

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • View Time and Replays
  • Which accounts a user follows

TikTok has developed a simple but extremely effective recommendation system that powers their For You Page.  It promotes videos based on engagement signals such as likes, comments, and replays.  When people watch a full video or even better, watch it multiple times that shows the algorithm they were interested in the topic of the video and they liked it more than other videos that they did not watch completely.  A video that gets lots of people watching it multiple times, commenting, and liking it.  The amount of engagement is relevant to what other videos within your topic receive.  Another way TikTok determines which content an account may like is based on which creators it follows.

Video Details - Hashtags, Captions, Sounds

  • Hashtags
  • Captions
  • Sounds

One key thing to consider is that the For You Page is different for each TikTok user.  TikTok uses hashtags to determine the topics that any individual user prefers.  Using relevant hashtags will help TikTok know which users will be most likely to enjoy your videos.  How much of your video they watch will confirm whether or not those users thought your video was good.  Captions and Sounds are two other things that TikTok uses to categorize videos and determine which users might like them.  

User Specific Details - Location, Language Selection

  • Location
  • Language Selection

These elements are less of a factor, but can affect which videos are recommended to a user.  

Other Indirect Factors - Follower Count

The number of followers a creator has does not DIRECTLY influence which videos get promoted to the FYP page.  However, an account with a lot of followers can get more views early on, from their followers, who are often more interested in their content provide other good engagement signals.  This makes follower count an indirect factor when it comes to influencing what videos get recommended on the For You feed.  Buying fake followers won't help you, but having real, and most importantly engaged followers will help.   There are some bots you can use to get more real targeted followers.

Essentially, TikTok has leveled the playing field and created the best opportunity available right now, where creators with great content should naturally get promoted more and given the opportunity to get more views.  Luckily, for those of us like me, with below average content, there are some tools that can help you get more engagement to your videos.

How TikTok Recommends Relevant Videos #ForYou

TikTok's mission is to influence creativity and bring happiness. They're building a worldwide community where people can create and share organically, discover the world, and get in touch with others with similar interests. The "For You" feed becomes part of what allows that discovery and connection. It's vital to the general TikTok experience and where the majority of their users spend their time.  The TikTok algorithm uses a recommendation engine to determine which videos should be on an individuals "for you" page.

When you first open Tik Tok and land in the ForYou feed, you are presented with a feed of videos that are curated to match your interests, making it very easy to discover videos and creators that you will love. The For You Page (aka FYP) is powered by a recommendation engine that delivers material that each user is likely to be interested in. Part of the reason TikTok is unique is because there is no main For You feed. While different users may encounter some of the same popular videos, each user's feed is special and customized to that particular person.

The For You page is one of the main functions that defines the Tik Tok platform. In this post they discuss the recommendation engine behind the ForYou feed, go over how they try to counter the issues that all suggestion systems have to deal with, and share suggestions for how you can individualize your discovery experience on TikTok.


The Basics Of Recommendation Systems

Suggestion engines are all around you. They power a lot of the services you use and love each and every day. From going shopping to streaming to online search engines, recommendation engines are designed to help individuals have a more customized experience.

In general, these systems suggest material after considering user choices which are basically the way they interact with the app, like watching videos, publishing comments, or following an creator. These signals assist the recommendation system in determining which content you prefer as well as the material you'd prefer to avoid.


What Factors Contribute To The For You Page?

On Tik Tok, the ForYou feed reflects preferences that are unique to each individual user. The system promotes content by ranking the videos based on a mix of aspects, starting with interests you express as a brand-new user and also adjusts for things you skip and may not like, too - to form your personal For You feed.


Suggestions are based upon a variety of aspects, including things like:

User interactions such as which videos you view, like, or share, which accounts you choose to follow, comments you create, and videos you post.

Video details, which might consist of details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.

Device and account settings like your language choice, country setting, and gadget type. These elements are consisted of to ensure the system is enhanced for efficiency, however they receive lower weight for the suggestion system relative to other information points we determine because users don't actively reveal these as preferences.

All these elements are processed by our suggestion system and weighted based upon their value to users. A strong indication of interest, like whether a user completes viewing a long video through to the end, would receive higher weight than a weak sign, like whether the video's audience and creator are located in the exact same country. Next, videos are ranked based on the possibility of the user's interest in the content, and then delivered to each individual ForYou feed.

While a video is likely to receive more views if it is published on account that has a larger following, based on the established account having built up a bigger fan base, neither the number of followers or whether the account has actually had previous high performing video are direct factors of the recommendation system.  Another way you can consistently get more engagement and followers is by using tiktok video scheduling tool.

Can You Change Your Own "For You" Feed?

How can you know what you might like on Tik Tok when you've only just begun using the app? To help get started TikTok invites brand-new users to select their basic interests, such as pets or travel, to assist tailor recommendations to their choices. This enables the app to establish a preliminary feed, and it will begin to polish suggestions based upon your own interactions with an early batch or videos.

For users who don't select classifications, we start by giving you a general feed of more popular videos to help get the ball started rolling. Your first interactions such as comments, likes, and replays will help initiate the first round of suggestions as the system starts to find out more about your content tastes.


Discovering New Content You Might Be Interested In

Every new interaction assists the system in learning more about your primary interests and helps it to suggest content for you. The best method for teaching it what you like is really just using the app normally. Gradually, your For You feed will be better able to surface suggestions that are relevant to your interests.

Your For You feed isn't just shaped by your interactions through the feed itself. If you choose to follow brand new accounts, for instance, that action will help fine tune your suggestions.  As will exploring hashtags, sounds, and trending categories on the Discover tab. These methods tailor your experience and welcome brand-new content topics into your feed.


How To See Less TikTok Videos You're Not Interested In

TikTok has developers with several interests and viewpoints, and often you could view a video that doesn't fit your interest. You can long press to add any video to your favorites and you can also long press on a video and then tap "Not Interested" to show that you aren't interested in a specific video. You can likewise select to hide the videos of a specific creator or those which are made with a particular sound. You can also report a video that appears it would be outside TikTok's standards. All of these actions contribute to your future suggestions in your For You feed.


The Challenges Of Recommendation Engines

One of the inherent obstacles with suggestion systems is that they can also inadvertently limit your experience - what is in some cases referred to as the "filter bubble." This is a concern TikTok takes seriously when maintaining their recommendation system.


Interrupting Recurring Patterns

To keep your #ForYou feed fascinating and differed, TikTok's suggestion system works to sprinkle varied kinds of material along with those you currently know you enjoy. For example, your ForYou feed usually will not show 2 videos directly in a row that are made with the exact same noise or by the same TikTokker. They also do not recommend duplicated material, material you've already viewed, or any material that's thought about spam. Nevertheless, you could be recommended a TikTok video that's been liked by other users that also have comparable interests.

Diversification Of Suggestions

Diversity is a key to maintaining a growing international community, and it helps to bring many corners of the TikTok  user base closer together. Because of that, sometimes you may encounter a video pop into your feed that is not as relevant to your interests.  This is a crucial and an intentional part of their technique to recommendations: bringing a wide variety of videos into your ForYou feed gives you extra opportunities to stumble upon brand-new content topics, discover brand-new creators, and also experience new perspectives and concepts.

By providing a variety of videos, the system is better able to get a sense of what's popular across audiences and give other TikTok users a good experience, too. TikTok's objective is to discover balance between recommending material that is relevant to you while at the same time helping you discover material and creators that motivate you to check out experiences you may not otherwise see.


Improving The For You Page

Establishing and maintaining Tik Tok's recommendation system is a constant procedure as they work to improve precision, adjust their models, and reassess the aspects and factors that contribute to recommended videos based upon feedback from users, data, and research. 

This work spans lots of teams - consisting of product, security, and security - whose work helps to improve the significance of the recommendation engine and its suggestion accuracy.

Ultimately, your ForYou feed is primarily powered by your own feedback: the system is developed to continually enhance, remedy, and also learn from your engagement with the app to produce individualized suggestions that they hope inspire imagination and bring happiness with every new view of your ForYou feed.

Last Updated February 10, 2021

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