EXPLAINED: How To Hack The TikTok Algorithm And Go Viral

There are usually a few key reasons as to why a video your TikTok isn’t doing as well as you’d had hoped. It’s not because you’re unlucky or necessarily because the users don’t like you, it’s usually because you are not creating content for TikTok’s algorithm. 

At Fanbytes, our job is to keep an eye on what does well on the app and more importantly, to understand why that is. These insights always start with digging deep into TikTok’s algorithm, and it’s usually a brand’s neglect of playing up to this that lands them in the undesirable bottom spot. 

This is why we’re going to show you how to hack the TikTok algorithm and increase your chances of going viral in this article. 

In this article:

Hack #1: The 3 second rule

When you post a video on TikTok, the algorithm works by boosting the content onto the ‘For You’ page for a very short amount of time. This is so the algorithms can determine how relevant the content is to the audience and if people really want to watch and share it. 

The key metric that the algorithm is recording here is the watch time and completion rate. If most of the audience is only watching a few seconds of your 30 second video and not all the way through, the algorithm will flag your video as being unengaging and irrelevant to the audience. Because of this, your video will get lost amongst the content with higher watch times and completion rates as the algorithm determines it to be relevant and engaging.

So, the rule here is that you have to captivate your audience within the first 3 seconds!

If people are watching most of your video and the completion rate is super high, you’re onto a winner and the algorithm will reward your content by continuously boosting your post. It will create a sort of ‘snowball’ effect and be shown to more people so you’re well on your way to viral status. 

Hacks #2: You've got to be quick on the trends

Trends are the glue that holds TikTok together through dance, comedy & music. So, of course it is beneficial for any brand to jump on these to increase visibility and appear trendy and relevant to their target demographic. 

But a lot of the time we see brands missing the mark by jumping on a trend when it’s frankly, too late. TikTok moves at an extremely fast pace, meaning that new trends are surfacing every single day and so, they become outdated real quick.

Consequently, when a user, and especially a brand, jumps on an ‘outdated’ trend, they are at risk of seeming out of touch and are more likely to alienate their audience alternatively to winning their hearts. 

Hack #3: Avoid getting 'shadow banned'

Whilst this is the least likely outcome, it is really frustrating when it does happen and will affect your performance on the app tremendously. Shadow-banning means that TikTok has minimised the reach for your posts and it’s been ceased from being pushed out to an audience. 

This happens when TikTok identifies an account as either being spam or exhibiting ‘spammy’ behaviours:

  • If you delete a lot of posts in one go
  • If you like and follow a lot of people in one go
  • If you use copyrighted content/ songs
  • If you use banned hashtags

Tricks up your sleeve

There you have it. 3 quick ways on how to hack the TikTok algorithm. Whilst these things are great to keep in mind, content is key and what works for one brand might not work for another.

If you’d like to receive more personalised insights for your brand, schedule a consultation with us today. 

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