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How does the “For You” algorithm work in TikTok? 

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Have you ever wondered how the TikTok algorithm work? Let us review and understand.

TikTok is addictive. It is so addictive that 9 out of 10 users on TikTok use it daily for hours. 

How do we spend hours on TikTok, even if it’s a short-content platform?  

Let’s understand how the TikTok “For You” algorithm works. We will also cover how the basic recommendation algorithm works.

Working of TikTok “For You” Page Recommendation Algorithm

Before going in depth on how the TikTok algorithm works, let us understand the metadata. Metadata is the data that provides information about the data. This data helps identify and categorize the content for various backend purposes.

Metadata of TikTok Videos 


Hashtags are a few phrases attached to the end of the captions so they can help the algorithm understand the content type. The video uploader usually chooses this. Hashtags are better for a new content creator because they help TikTok identify the type of content they’re uploading. 


TikToks are frequently associated with music. TikTok made a significant move by using copyrighted music as a streaming platform, allowing creators to attach sounds without fear of copyright infringement. The music we choose for a TikTok video categorizes it as well, making it one of the more important pieces of metadata. 


TikTok is slowly increasing its video content duration limit. The platform started with a 15-second video uploaded over 10 minutes today. The length of the video also categorizes it, making it metadata for a TikTok video. 


The creator uploading the content is by far the most critical metadata to categorize TikTok videos. 

Similarly, other metadata such as uploaded time, location, date, and video quality are a few other examples of metadata for a TikTok video. 

Consumer Ratings on TikTok 

When a video is released, TikTok usually sends it to all of its active users at once, who are usually chosen based on the metadata of the video that they are watching. 

Implicit Ratings 

Implicit ratings are ratings that occur as a result of behavior and cannot be faked by the user. For example, ordering a product from an online store. 

A few implicit ratings for TikTok videos are:

View Time: 

During the initial video shoot, TikTok closely monitors the average watch duration of the video. There is a trend of looping a TikTok video so that the end can be unnoticed; the clever creator does it so that the watch duration exceeds the actual content duration, signaling the TikTok algorithm. 

Video Skips: 

A video viewer usually skips a video when they don’t like it. This can be an important signal for TikTok to stop recommending the video that has been skipped and instead recommend some other content category. 

Profile Visit 

When consumers like the video, they usually visit the creator’s profile. This can count as an implicit rating as the user is indicating that they like the creator and want to consume similar content.

Explicit Ratings 

Explicit ratings are the ratings that the user explicitly creates, which means there’s some effort in creating explicit ratings. For example, liking a TikTok video

A few explicit ratings for TikTok videos are: 


The user usually double-taps when they like the content, this helps to increase the likes count for a video and helps the algorithm. 


A comment on a video can act as a powerful explicit rating if there is more time and effort required to do so. 


Shares are also one of the most powerful explicit ratings as it is one of the rarest ratings, and parallelly, it also creates more exposure for the content.  

How TikTok algorithm work in recommended videos?

As we have understood all the following terms, now we can understand how TikTok algorithm work to recommended videos. 

Step 1: The user uploads the video, and TikTok takes a few minutes to understand the content based on metadata. 

Step 2: TikTok distributes the video to a few active users in order to collect preliminary consumption data. 

Step 3: TikTok typically suggests the video to users who are watching other similarly category videos based on implicit and explicit ratings for the video.

Step 4: Unless and until the consumption results begin to decline, TikTok will continue to recommend videos to users. 

In conclusion, TikTok is a video-editing app that sends videos to a few active users to collect initial consumption results. Based on implicit and explicit ratings for the video, TikTok usually recommends the content to users who are consuming similar videos. Unless and until the consumption results begin to decline, TikTok will continue to recommend videos to users. 

A message from the Sunway

Social media and its uses have spread like wildfire lately. People are out and about promoting themselves, their products and services, and their way of life, whether for business or personal reasons. This is what is seen as the new normal for many. The study of social media and its utilization is important for making the most of this powerful medium. A bachelor’s degree in the field of artificial intelligence would be too good to be true. And, indeed, it is true. If you want to see yourself as an expert digital marketer, then enrolling in the classes is an important step.

Sunway has been one of the first colleges in Nepal to provide a bachelor’s degree in the field of artificial intelligence. If contents like “how the TikTok algorithm works” catch your attention, then I bet terms like “data science” and “artificial intelligence” would certainly do too. More on this later. So, keep an eye on the blog. 

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