TikTok Discover Tab Gone: Here’s What You Can Do

Has your TikTok Discover tab gone? The TikTok Discover Page could be very useful - here’s why it went, plus our workaround to help if you’re missing it.
Fanbytes | TikTok Discover tab gone

In 30 seconds:

  • Is your TikTok Discover tab gone? You’re not alone. Here’s what’s going on and why.
  • The TikTok Discover tab is useful for seeing large-scale trends on TikTok. We’ll talk you through how to discover them now.
  • Before the change, brands could use Sponsored Challenges and Official Trending Hashtags to appear on the Tiktok Discover tab and gain massive exposure. Here’s an up-to-date solution.


“Where is the Discover tab on TikTok?” Keen-eyed visitors to the TikTok app will have noticed a change to the interface lately, with the ‘Discover’ tab mysteriously missing. 

It’s not the same for everyone just yet. Some people’s TikTok app will still show the older interface with the Discover page intact. But increasing numbers of people will be updating the app to find the change. So, why has the TikTok Discover Tab gone? What can you do if you’re missing it?

In this article, we’ll take you through what we know, plus ways to get the same benefits of the Discover page – particularly for brands on TikTok. Let’s take a look.

Why did the TikTok Discover tab disappear?

Until recently, the TikTok app’s main menu featured 5 tabs; ‘Home’, ‘Discover’ ‘Create’ (i.e. the plus tab), ‘Inbox’ and ‘Me’. It looked like this:

Original Menu with Discover Tab

Now, it looks slightly different. ‘Me’ has become ‘Profile’ and there’s a new tab in town: the ‘Friends’ tab.

New TikTok menu with Friends Tab

Why did TikTok add the Friends tab?

TikTok is making it easier to connect with your friends on the platform. The new ‘Friends’ tab encourages users to connect with their contacts. It follows a marked increase in push notifications from TikTok encouraging users to interact with their contacts on TikTok.

After this, the The Friends page becomes a collection of posts from the accounts you follow, the accounts that follow you back and suggested posts by the TikTok algorithm. It’s a bit like TikTok’s ForYouPage (FYP), but more tailored to your network.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. The ‘Home’ section is currently still divided into the FYP and the ‘Following’ page, but the latter doesn’t get as much attention. This is partly due to the Following tab’s placement: the top of the screen gets tapped less. By bringing it to the bottom of the screen, TikTok are betting we’ll use this feature more.

Why this move? So far, TikTok haven’t shared a press release about the update, but we suggest one reason is to encourage more active interaction between TikTok accounts. TikTok’s personalisation algorithm is so finely tuned that TikTok users often don’t need to actively follow their favourite creators in order to be repeatedly served their content. By encouraging increased connectedness, TikTok can foster deeper relationships between users.

For brands and creators, this could be very valuable: rather than a viral video spurring a spike in TikTok activity that swiftly disappears, brands can leverage viral success and foster longer-term relationships with followers.

That’s one half of the puzzle, but what about TikTok’s reason for binning the Discover page? There are a few reasons we suspect the update took place. Before we delve into them, however, let’s remind ourselves what the Discover tab was…

What was the TikTok Discover Page?

Prior to the update, the Discover tab led TikTok app users to a page that showcased a selection of the trending hashtags and most popular sounds on the platform, alongside a search bar at the top and a carousel banner showcasing app initiatives and headline brand campaigns on TikTok.

This was very helpful for creators who wanted to get a quick bird’s-eye view of the top trending hashtags and sounds on TikTok. Unlike the FYP, The Discover page was not tailored to each individual, so it was also helpful for TikTokers wanting to see more general content trends on the platform. 

The Discover page also provided prime advertising real estate for brands. Sponsored Challenges and Official Trending Hashtags were a way for brands to secure widespread exposure on the Discover page, as they would appear alongside organic trends being showcased, along with a link to learn more about them.

Why did TikTok delete the Discover page?

It seems counterproductive at first: the Discover page presented an ideal space for lucrative advertising options for TikTok’s work with brands, in the form of Sponsored Challenges and Official Trending Hashtags. With the page gone, the power of these options to promote widespread brand awareness amongst a generic TikTok audience and kick-start large-scale organic user-generated content (UGC) diminishes dramatically.

These hashtags didn’t always deliver what brands wanted, however. It’s common to see TikTokers tapping a hugely popular hashtag to help promote their video to a wider audience. Frequent examples include generic hashtags like #FYP or #funny – but it TikTok users often also hijack sponsored hashtags, even if they had nothing to do with their content. 

This off-brand UGC could be frustrating for marketers: they would see widespread branded hashtag usage, but without a cognitive link to the video that would constitute meaningful brand awareness. We suspect the eradication of the Discover page was intended to help prevent this.

As it stands, sponsored hashtag options still exist on TikTok. It’s just the Discover page that’s gone. What remains to be seen is whether TikTok will introduce additional capabilities to help promote relevant UGC for sponsored hashtags. Using hashtags to reach targeted audiences is something Fanbytes have already been managing for our brand partners for some time now, and it would be exciting to see the TikTok app itself improve its offering here too.

Missing the Discover page? Here’s how to overcome it

… to discover what’s trending:

For brands and creators looking for what hashtags are generally trending on TikTok, the loss of the Discover page could come as a blow. 

Joining existing TikTok hashtag trends is still an incredibly powerful method for brands to grow on the platform, as the most popular video under a certain hashtag will have their video shown first. There is an art to this, however. Brands need to keep abreast of trends and create content in a timely manner: too late, and their video will simply get lost in the noise.

If you don’t have a Discover page to find these trending hashtags, there is a solution: Fanbytes’ weekly TikTok trends newsletter.

Informed by our social listening tool, Bytesights, the TikTok trends newsletter is entirely free, and provides up-to-date information about the best trends that brands can use on TikTok. Even better, we provide insight on why the trend exists, and how your brand can use it. It’s a simple way to see which content is getting the most attention and discover the fastest-growing trends you can use to increase brand reach.

To sign up for the newsletter, click the link below.

For brands interested in a more in-depth trend strategy, Bytesights is our method of discovering the most relevant hashtags, sounds, influencers and content trends for specific industries and niches, at the right time for your campaign. We can see when a trend is on the rise, and advise on when and how to post TikTok content so that it rides the wave of a trend’s popularity. If this is something you would like to learn more about, get in touch.

… to start a new trend:

For brands looking to start a new hashtag trend on TikTok, the Discover page was once a key spot to buy your way onto the ‘front page’ of the app. Fanbytes Senior Partnerships Manager Harry Tidswell notes, “without the Discover page, there’s less opportunity for an ads solution to help a brand brute force their trend onto everyone’s TikTok.”

“Instead, now the best way to start a hashtag trend is organic. Brands will need to work with more talent – more TikTok creators – to kick off a trend using a hashtag.”

How so? The reasoning here is that, without a central portal to trends, users will need to see more evidence of a trend’s adoption in practice in order to recognise it as such. Brands will therefore need to work with multiple influencers to showcase a hashtag trend, to trigger widespread UGC.

This means that influencer relationships will become even more vital for brands. As Harry observes, It also requires a deeper understanding of an audience’s experience on TikTok. “If you’re pushing a trend now, because of the way the TikTok algorithm creates content niches around people’s individual interests, having disparate, unrelated TikTok talent means TikTokers are just not going to see more than one influencer’s content.

“Without seeing multiples, they won’t register the campaign as a trend. So it’s even more valuable now to use connected influencers who are closely related to each other.” 

For brands that are prepared to truly research their TikTok audience, this update doesn’t pose a threat, but presents an opportunity to get ahead of the competition. Brands should work to create content that their audience will want to consume and replicate. It takes a deeper understanding of influencers in a given niche, but brands can assess which influencer’s organic content is performing best and use Spark Ads to promote it. 

Influencer relationships are our area of expertise, and our Bytesights tool allows us to easily see which talent you should work with to reach any given audience. If you’d like to learn more about how we can transform your campaign, get in touch.

Next steps

It might not be to everyone’s taste (as this disgruntled tweet shows), but the Discover tab is slowly but surely being removed from TikTok.

It’s still on our system though – and you can reap its benefits. Bytesights tells us which trends are popular and growing on the platform. For influencers, our Discover tab (yep, it’s really called that) helps us find and track relevant talent and posts, and see the top-performing influencers by category in Views, Engagement, and Growth rate.

We use it to create our much-loved TikTok trends newsletter. Sign up here for the free weekly content in your inbox, or get in touch with us to discuss how we’ll use our insights to start your best TikTok campaign yet, whether that’s by leveraging an existing trend at the perfect time, or by using an influencer-led strategy to make sure you’re the brand that everyone’s talking about.

 


Looking for more ways to grow on TikTok? Check out the links below:


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