Duh, the TikTok Secret Algorithm is a Big Deal

TikTok’s strong algorithm influencing the social media activity of millions of daily users is no longer a mystery. In what has been officially determined as a genuine document, TikTok’s algorithm is exposed in a new New York Times article. Wait for it: It prioritizes retention and time spent, and it’s rather obvious.

The TikTok algorithm, in its most basic form, seeks for video likes, comments, and how far through the video you go (a fully watched clip is obviously more valuable than one that has been stopped or scrolled past before completion). Based on tags and other information, the system recognizes what each video is about.

If you enjoy a certain type of video and watch it all the way through, or even pause it repeatedly before finishing watching it, these are indicators that suggest to the algorithm.

Isn’t it true that the goal of TikTok is to get you back on the site as quickly as possible and keep your attention once you’re there? The algorithm will then provide more of the type of videos you’ve indicated that you enjoy/prefer through the TikTok algorithm. Isn’t it a vicious circle: addictive, positive?

Video stories that connect to one another and keep you watching through all of them might enhance the impact of a topic in the algorithm, giving you more meaty material related to that subject.

A road to content addiction may be difficult to recognize.

When I began watching TikTok videos six years ago, the majority of them were only 15 seconds long. My feed was full of magic tricks, DIY projects, and people dancing. None of this was accidental then or now.

My interest in learning new magic tricks, I enjoy home upgrades, and I couldn’t get enough of the dances because I admired the skill and wanted to know how people of all ages (including my own!) had the ability to learn and execute them. All of the films that I watched were influenced by what I observed. To this day, my youngest child regularly tells me that I have a different TikTok perspective than they do.

I’m a big lover of lengthy, story-based films, such as those made by Elise Meyers, who I discovered a few months ago while watching her hilarious tale about meeting someone through the internet and then going on a blind date.

Marni’s videos are full of drama and intrigue. Since her algorithim has been operating, I’ve noticed she’s a fantastic taleteller (as well as other long-form narrative storytelling films).

TikTok’s primary objective of collecting and retaining more users is clearly aided by these three-second TikToks. Time spent as a metric isn’t limited to TikTok. Anyone who runs a content site knows the importance of more time (and pages) read, which usually translates into more served advertisements.

Go deeper into the rabbit hole.

However, it’s worth noting that TikTok’s algorithm still allows for discovery. Yes, there is a lot of giving you more of what you clearly like or desire (to the possible risk of those who are in a dark mood and are drawn to despair/angry/inharmful movies), but there is still some sort of discoverability on TikTok.

TikTok, on the other hand, maintains a little of luck. I occasionally come upon a video that has nothing to do with my preferences or interests (at least as I express them on TikTok), but I am enthralled.

That’s how Elise Meyers became popular. These random videos are frequently the result of tremendous popularity on TikTok, which pushes this material into your feed so you can feed the algorithm fresh attention data.

The disadvantage of this basic approach is that it may appear to be frozen. I have five or six Elise Meyers in one feed session, and even I can’t keep up with her hilarious tales for that many minutes at a time. I usually take a pause and return to them after the break.

I discovered that you can unlearn and train the TikTok algorithm as well. If I see too many of a certain type of video in my feed. I do some hashtag searches and end up on a few new subjects down rabbit hole.

But it hasn’t been working lately. I still love the stuff that works but keeps me from getting back to my old haunts (magic, DIY, FX, Elise Meyers) – and then I’m right back where I started.