TikTok Algorithm 2023: Harnessing TikTok’s Full Power

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Carolyn Howell

Last Updated: May 21, 2024

TikTok 101

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As the new kid on the social media block, TikTok’s innovative algorithm had the 20/20 hindsight advantage. The technology proved more effective than what Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms that came before it had. What makes TikTok’s recommendation tool so good? Why is TikTok so addictive? And what can we expect from the TikTok algorithm 2023? 

People on a train watching videos on their phones.

TikTok Algorithm Explained 2023

What is the new TikTok algorithm? Is there a TikTok algorithm 2023 update? If TikTok’s unprecedented growth to over one billion monthly active users worldwide is any indication, its algorithm needs no fixing. The recommendation tool is robust, learning, and evolving as any reliable AI technology should. 

Not surprisingly, other platforms started offering their versions of TikTok’s addictive short-format mobile videos to compete with the newcomer. Each platform’s long-established algorithms already determined the fundamental principles of its feed ranking. This means that reformulating them to be more like TikTok’s is out of the question. 

Instagram’s algorithm, for example, always prioritized big-name celebrities and influencers. Accounts with hundreds of thousands to millions of followers automatically receive preferential treatment in terms of feed ranking. 

These IG stars have already become so crucial to the IG machinery. Any algorithmic reformulation that gives them less priority is inconceivable and simply not feasible. User preferences and interests be damned. 

TikTok’s algorithm explained for 2023 is on a whole other level. Creators and brands need to switch gears to succeed on the platform. The strategies that work on Facebook or IG will not work as well on TikTok. So how can you make TikTok’s recommendation technology work for you?

How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work in 2023?

How does the TikTok algorithm work in 2023? Does the TikTok algorithm 2023 recommend videos #ForYou the same way it always has? TikTok introduced a refreshing update to its algorithm early this year, and we’ll get to it later. First, let’s take a look at how TikTok’s For You recommendation system works. 

TikTok Algorithm 2023: Unique #ForYou Feed Recommendations

The TikTok algorithm 2023 continues to power #ForYou feed recommendations as it always has. If it’s not broken, why fix it, right? Users remain highly satisfied with how TikTok matches them with accounts and videos they might love. 

TikTok describes the For You feed as “a stream of videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love. This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”

Like other recommendation systems online, TikTok ProTikTok algorithm delivers a personalized experience to every user. And it does so more effectively than others. TikTok’s recommendation system also takes into consideration user preferences through their interactions and profile customizations. It uses specific signals to determine what types of content to recommend on the user’s For You feed. 

TikTok Algorithm 2023: How TikTok Chooses Videos #ForYou

How does the TikTok algorithm 2023 choose videos for a user’s For You feed? Each user’s feed reflects their unique preferences. TikTok’s For You recommendation algorithm continuously learns from and adjusts to your behaviors and changing interests. So your For You feed evolves and becomes more personalized over time. 

TikTok’s algorithm considers the following factors for its #ForYou recommendations:

  • User interactions. These include the accounts you follow; videos you like, comment on, or share; and the types of content you create. Browsing or buying products on TikTok and watching certain LIVE streams also influence your recommendations. And so do the hashtag challenges you participate in and videos you choose to create a Duet or Stitch
  • Video information. The songs, keywords, and hashtags you use in your content are also #ForYou factors. 
  • Device and account settings. Your device settings include your language preference, location, and device type. TikTok recommends more videos from creators in the same country as you, for example. Your account settings — i.e., whether or not you sync your phone contacts — may determine suggested accounts. The categories of interest you initially selected when you created your profile are the initial drivers of your #ForYou recommendations. 

The platform’s recommendation system also weighs each factor’s value to the user. For example, you watch a video until the end but don’t like it or follow the creator. You watch another video and don’t finish it; however, you like and comment on it and follow the creator. 

The latter will have greater weight than the former. TikTok will recommend more videos like the second and fewer videos like the first. What about a video you watched until the end and one whose creator is in the same country as you? The video you watched in its entirety will have greater weight. 

A man laughing while watching TikTok on his phone.

How To Curate Your For You Feed for the TikTok Algorithm 2023

As it always has, the TikTok algorithm 2023 still learns from and responds to a user’s behaviors and preferences. You can curate your For You feed by making intentional choices when on the platform. Every time you watch a video for any length or follow an account, you signal TikTok’s algorithm. The videos you like inform TikTok of the types of content you’re interested in. 

TikTok prompts all new platform users to select their categories of interest to initially “calibrate” their For You feed. A new user’s initial category selections will shape the first iteration of their For You feed. TikTok will keep refining the feed based on the user’s interactions to deliver more personalized video and account recommendations.  

How To Find More Content You Enjoy With the Help of TikTok Algorithm 2023

You can “teach” the TikTok 2023 algorithm to help it deliver more video recommendations that suit your interests. How can you influence the algorithm?

  • Explore relevant hashtags, sounds, effects, and trending topics. 
  • Find users, such as your favorite celebrities, influencers, and brands, that you already follow on other platforms. 
  • Visit the profiles of some people you’re following to find more content you might enjoy. Like and comment on more of their videos to signal the algorithm of your preferences. 
  • Create content that accurately reflects your passions, values, and aesthetics. 

How To See Less Of What You Don’t Like

As effective as the TikTok algorithm 2023 is, it doesn’t always get things right. What can you do if you see content you’re not interested in or, worse, something inappropriate?

  • Long-press on a video and tap “Not interested.” 
  • After you tap “Not interested,” you can tap on “See details” at the bottom to select hashtags to filter. When you filter hashtags, videos that use them will no longer appear in your “For You” feed. 
  • If you think a video goes against TikTok’s Community Guidelines, long-press on it and tap “Report.” Select your reason, then tap “Submit.”
  • Go to your Settings and privacy, and tap “Content preferences.” Tap “Filter video keywords,” then “Add keyword.” Type the keyword or hashtag you want to filter.  

How the TikTok Algorithm 2023 Gives Users a Diversified Experience They Still Enjoy 

As great as the TikTok algorithm 2023 is, it faces the challenge of delivering a homogenous and restrictive TikTok experience. Because it’s so effective at personalizing recommendations, it may trap users in a filter bubble. How does the platform address this challenge and keep the For You feed interesting?

TikTok avoids repetitive patterns in For You feeds in several ways:

  • The recommendation system typically doesn’t show two videos from the same creator or with the same sound one after another. 
  • TikTok avoids showing duplicate content, content you’ve seen before, or spam content. 
  • The algorithm may sometimes recommend videos that are popular among users who share your interests. 
  • Now and then, TikTok intentionally diversifies For You feed recommendations with videos and creators from new content categories. 
  • TikTok encourages users to step out of their comfort zone and explore new experiences and perspectives with out-of-the-box recommendations. 

How the TikTok 2023 Algorithm Keeps Viewers Safe

The TikTok 2023 algorithm also ensures viewer safety. Certain types of content may not be eligible for recommendation based on a user’s preferences. Other videos may be ineligible if they’re still under review or their value is questionable.  

For example, let’s say a user didn’t opt in to see a type of content that’s often shocking to the general audience. TikTok won’t recommend videos showing graphic medical procedures or similar content. The recommendation system also effectively filters out spam content or videos created to increase traffic artificially. 

Additionally, users can customize their content preferences in their privacy settings to keep their viewing experience as pleasant as possible. These settings also serve as practical parental control tools

To manage your content preferences:

  1. Go to your Profile and tap the Menu icon in the upper right. 
  2. Tap Settings and privacy. 
  3. Scroll down and tap Content Preferences. 
  4. Tap Filter video keywords to filter videos with your specified keywords in them. These videos won’t appear in your For You or Following feeds. 
  5. Turn on Restricted Mode to limit videos that may be inappropriate for lots of people. 
  6. Block accounts so TikTok won’t recommend videos from them. You’ll have to open TikTok on a browser to do this. Find the account you want to block and go to their profile. Tap the three dots beside the share icon in the upper right. Tap Block. 
  7. Refresh your For You feed. This is one of the latest updates to the TikTok algorithm this 2023. Keep reading to learn more about this new feature. 

A laptop screen displaying streaming computer code.

What Is the New TikTok Algorithm 2023 Update? 

What is the new TikTok algorithm 2023 update? Earlier this year, TikTok introduced the new “Refresh your For You feed” feature. This latest update allows users to push a refresh/restart button literally. You can experience TikTok as if it’s new — for a second time or as many times as you like. It will be exactly like when you first signed up to the platform. 

When you refresh your For You feed, you can choose different categories to specify your interests. You’ll see a new stream of recommended videos without the influence of your previous TikTok browsing history. 

In fact, the feature allows you to erase your entire TikTok history from existence completely. You can “teach” the TikTok 2023 algorithm all over again and help it learn about your new interests and passions. You’ll be able to reformulate how TikTok personalizes your For You feed. 

To refresh your For You feed:

  1. Go to your Profile and tap the Menu icon in the upper right. 
  2. Tap Settings and privacy. 
  3. Scroll down and tap Content Preferences. 
  4. Select Refresh your For You feed. 
  5. Tap Continue or See details to learn more. 
  6. After you tap Continue, tap Refresh. 
  7. Select your reasons for refreshing your For You feed, then hit Submit. 

Take note that hitting refresh won’t affect your Following feed, profile, and inbox. You won’t be able to undo this move. Make sure you’re okay with deleting your current TikTok FYP personalization. 

You may consider having a fresh start if:

  • You’re simply curious; or
  • You keep seeing irrelevant, misleading, repetitive, triggering, upsetting, or useless content. 

Screenshots of TikTok’s Refresh your For You feed feature.

Use the TikTok Algorithm 2023 to Power Your Growth

TikTok completely transformed the social media landscape with its powerful and addictive algorithm. The TikTok algorithm 2023 continues to set new standards for captivating the largest audience and capturing massive engagement. Find your target audience’s sweet spot. Be consistent with your content, and TikTok’s For You feed recommendation system won’t fail you. Indeed, you can simply rely on TikTok’s algorithmic magic to build a dedicated fanbase and achieve fame. 

It sounds simple enough — and compared to other platforms, it is easier to grow a community on TikTok. But making the platform’s recommendation algorithm work for you does still require considerable time and effort. 

Unlike on other platforms, creators/brands on TikTok don’t have to worry about competing with accounts with hordes of followers. Everybody gets an equal opportunity to reach their intended viewers regardless of an account’s follower count. 

The platform’s matchmaking process rarely disappoints because it actually cares about what users like. And as long as you also deliver content your target audience might enjoy, TikTok won’t disappoint you, either. TikTok will deliver your videos to the For You feeds of users who are likely to enjoy them. 

You can also give your brand more targeting leverage when you subscribe to High Social. Sign up for one of High Social’s monthly plans to enhance your audience-targeting precision with their advanced, proprietary AI tool. 
Have a technological advantage that perfectly complements TikTok’s algorithm 2023. And you can expect to grow your community with loyal and engaged followers. Start growing your TikTok today!

TikTok 101