5 Tips to Top TikTok’s “For You” Algorithm

We deconstruct the TikTok “For You” feed algorithm with tips to help get your content to your target audience.

July 8, 2021
Social Media
Digital Marketing
Content Strategy

When a user first opens TikTok, they see their “For You” feed: a stream of videos curated to the user’s interest, which allows people to discover and connect with new things they’ll love.

This personally customized stream is where most users spend their time finding content of interest.

Understandably, a major way to leverage TikTok for your brand visibility and interaction is to learn how to get your content into the For You feed of your target audience.

While a certain level of mystique surrounds social media algorithms, TikTok released an article about How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou that pretty well explains what you need to do!

In this post, we share what we’ve learned about TikTok’s algorithms directly from the source, along with some pointers to help you top your TikTok game.

How the TikTok Algorithm Works

The three key factors that contribute to a video’s ranking are user-based. These include:

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

  2. Video information: this includes details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.

  3. Device and account settings: like your language preference, country setting, and device type.

From this starting point, TikTok uses a predictive recommendation system to process these factors based on value to a user.

Value to the user is determined by a matrix of indicators that weigh against each other: and some indicators (such as if a user watches a video to the end) carry more weight than others (such as if the video is made in the same country as the viewer).

All these indicators help rank videos based on the likelihood of the user’s interest, which are then presented in their unique For You feed in that order.

What’s most interesting about this algorithm is that TikTok is not necessarily a popularity contest: users are presented content based on their interests.

This means that the number of followers or previously high-performing videos aren’t direct factors in what you’ll be recommended.

This is great news from the creator standpoint, because it means you don’t need to have thousands of followers to get your content to your desired audience: you just need to create content they are likely to be interested in.

What Factors Influence the TikTok Algorithm

Brands and businesses use TikTok to engage with their target audiences to boost visibility and intrigue interest in what you offer.

People engage with content that is of value to them, and based on what we explained above, a person’s For You page is where they are most likely to see content that’s valuable to them.

To help your brand or business get on more For You pages, here are five tips that specifically cater to TikTok’s algorithm:

Tip #1: Use popular hashtags relevant to your content

While hashtag optimization isn’t an exact science, the general formula is to use popular hashtags that are also relevant to your content.

To research what’s popular, tap on the Discover Tab to check out trending hashtags, or type out your hashtags of interest to see how they are performing.

If you see a fire icon next to a hashtag, that means it's getting a lot of traction at that time. TikTok’s analytics also allow users to know how many views each hashtag gains.

Using relatable hashtags to help users discover your content will help inform the TikTok algorithm for future content and users.

Tip #2: Craft clever captions that ask for engagement

TikTok captions should be short, related to the content you're sharing, and incorporate popular and relevant captions mentioned above.

Captions that introduce your content in a funny way are popular on TikTok: such as using your caption as a joke set up and the video as the punchline, and vice versa.

Asking a question in your caption is a great way to encourage engagement, because your video’s top comments will feature at the top of your comments list. This in turn could catch the attention of more users as they scroll their feed.

Tip #3: Get your groove on with trending songs and sounds

TikTok’s music and sound features can help your content get discovered as much as hashtags in some cases.

Hopping on a song trend at the right time can be an easy way to earn likes and views.

To see which songs are trending, open up the “Sounds” section in TikTok’s video editor. You can then scroll through popular songs at that time.

You can also save sounds from other users’ content to your favorites to use them later.

Lastly, if you have a TikTok Pro account, you can see what music your audience is into on the “Followers” tab under Analytics.

Tip #4: Be at the right place at the right time

The best time to post is usually when your audience is live, although some content does catch on a little slower as it works through the algorithm.

Every creator’s audience is different, which means there is no “prime time” for posting to TikTok. However, if you are jumping on a trend it’s usually better to join in sooner than later.

Unless you have incredible intuition, the surest way to get an accurate idea of when your audience is live is using the Analytics provided in the TikTok Pro account upgrade.

If you don’t wish to upgrade, then pay close attention to your audience’s engagement habits: when do you get the most engagement with your content?

Tip #5: Edit to captivate and loop for rewatches

TikTok’s video editing tools open up limitless possibilities for creativity. Often the most engaging content tells a story or sets up to deliver a payoff for the viewer.

Make the most of your content with snappy cuts, aesthetically pleasing effects, time warping, and music.

Some digital marketers believe that editing your video to have a seamless loop can lead to more views, and in turn trigger the algorithm—although this is a theoretical hunch.

No matter what your brand or business, the best way to make engaging content for your audience is to know your audience and their preferences as well as you know your own.


TikTok is a fast-evolving platform that more brands, businesses, and influencers are learning to take advantage of.

We hope these tips will help you tap into the TikTok algorithm and earn more visibility and engagement for your content!

Want to see our tips in action on TikTok? Follow @prolexmedia for fun and informative content on all things marketing and content creation.

Need a hand with social media management, training or quality content? Contact us today for a free half-hour consultation on all things social.

Contact Prolex Media