We will go over 5 content strategies to hack the TikTok Algorithm to get your videos on the For You page. The For You page is where the trending and popular videos get shown, so being on there is necessary to go viral.
With over 100K Followers and having 5 viral videos that got over 10 million views, we learned what common characteristics make a video perform better than others and what pitfalls to avoid.
Let’s first start with a quick overview of the algorithm, then dive into the "Completion Ratio" of the video, and finally go into the 5 content strategies to improve the ratio. Here is the outline of these sections:
Overview of the Algorithm
We covered the details of the TikTok algorithm in a previous post. As a recap (see diagram above), the post gets pushed to an initial batch of viewers, and based on the calculated "Performance Rating" of the video from those viewers, the algorithm determines if the video meets a minimum rating requirement. If it meets the rating requirement, then it gets pushed to another batch of viewers, and the process gets repeated.
The detail algorithm post can be found here: https://www.henryandemma.com/how-to-crack-the-tiktok-algorithm/
"Performance Rating" is made up of 4 measurable metrics (in the order of importance):
- Completion Ratio (percentage of the video watched)
Completion Ration (video's retention rate) is the most important metric in the "Performance Rating". It is the percentage of the video watched, and it is the most heavily weighted factor in determining if the content gets pushed to another batch of viewers.
This is how it is determined: if viewers watched half of the video, the ratio is 0.5, and if watched entirely, it will be 1.0 but could be higher if watched repeatedly. The longer the video is watched, the better this ratio is.
5 Content Strategies to Improve Completion Ratio
The previous section explained the importance of the Completion Ratio in evaluating whether or not a video gets pushed to more viewers. Now, let's go over 5 strategies to improve the Completion Ratio.
1. Video Length Between 10 to 15 Seconds
Shorter length videos increase the chance that users will watch them fully and not stop due to a lack of attention span. TikTok is a short-form video platform, and users are accustomed to most videos not being over 15 seconds.
With the nature of short-form video and the ease of viewers to swipe to the next video, the content has to capture the attention of the viewers immediately. The first 3 seconds are critical. To apply this concept, sometimes we posed a question that makes the viewers think or doubt its validity, and they watched till the end to see if it’s true or not. Below is an example of that:
2. Hooks from Trending Popular Sounds
Using popular sounds have an advantage that the viewers are looking for recognizable hooks or punchlines (like a punchline to a common joke). Since it's a trending sound, viewers will watch it entirely to get ideas to re-create the video.
As a bonus with using popular sounds, the algorithm will have a larger pool of viewers to push to. In the video below, we used a popular sound and added a unique twist to it.
3. Videos that Loop
As stated earlier, the Completion Ratio is measured by the percentage of the video watched; so if the video is watched repeatedly, then the ratio will be over 1.0 which will increase the overall average.
A very common practice is to create seamless loops in the video so that viewers are "tricked" into watching it multiple times. In the video below, we did a skit where we created a loop with the script.
4. Captivating Captions
It is a very common practice for creators to use "cliffhangers" captions to keep the viewer's attention. As annoying as they are sometimes, they are proven to work well.
Here are a few common ones: “Don’t let this flop”, “Wait till the end”, “I got suspended for this”, etc. These appeal to our human curiosity and will retain our attention. We pointed out the commons captions in the skit video below:
5. Trending Hashtag Challenges
These hashtags challenges are great since viewers are watching to see the creator's creativity and attempt at the challenges and will watch it entirely. Many viewers are watching it to get ideas to create their content for that challenge and will likely watch it multiple times to see how exactly it was done.
The hashtag challenges can be found in the "Discover" tab in TikTok. In the video below, we did the trending “#GenieInABottle” challenge:
Like any game, you have to know the rules of the game to leverage the strategies that increase your odds of winning. With TikTok, you have to retain the user's attention with engaging content. At the end of the day, great content will always win but if you don’t prepare it correctly, the odds of people seeing it is lessened.
We can be found on TikTok:
"Henry and Emma" on TikTok