It might sound strange but just a few years ago people didn’t talk about TikTok all that much. Today, it seems that everybody knows about it. Some people love it and some people hate it but no one’s left indifferent. This China-based social platform seems to be at the height of its popularity and can’t be stopped. No wonder lots and lots of people get interested in the potential of this social network and want to know how to get views on TikTok.
What is TikTok? It’s an app that allows creating and sharing short videos and sort of combines the features of Instagram, Snapchat, and now-dead Vine many of us know and love. The app launched in 2016 but really blew up in 2018 as the absolute favorite of US teenagers. After that, it conquered the rest of the world in just a couple of years. Heck, it’s still one of the trending apps both on the App Store and Google Play and it doesn’t look like it’s going to back down any time soon.
Right now TikTok gets around 800 million active users per month on a global scale. What’s really amazing about this number is that TikTok got it over a year. To put this in perspective, it took Instagram about 9 years to gain the same user base. It’s one of the fastest-growing apps out there and it keeps expanding.
In this form or another, it’s now available in 154 countries and 75 languages. It’s no secret that the platform is largely favored by younger people with over 40% of its audience being from 16 to 24 years old. Almost half of all US teenagers use the Chinese platform.
Popular TikTokers have dozens of millions of followers with millions of views on each of their videos. How do they do that? How can you get people to view your videos? Well, strap in, because that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about here.
How the algorithm works
The TikTok algorithm is a clever little AI that learns about your preferences as you keep using the app. It thoroughly analyzes every action you take on the platform starting from the first moment you open the app. This way, it’s able to offer recommendations of the videos you might like to watch as early as 10-15 minutes after you start using it.
When you upload your first video, it gets shown to a small audience. Based on the engagement rate, the algorithm analyzes the viral potential of your videos. And in case you did everything right and that potential is quite high, your video takes its place among Recommendations and gets shown to a wider number of people.
There are a few factors the TikTok algorithm pays special attention to when assessing your videos potential:
1. Repeated views. One of the most important factors that will substantially affect the algorithm’s behavior concerning your videos is how many times the same users watch them repeatedly. Understandably, if they want to watch your videos again, they are interested in your content. The more repeated views your videos get, the higher the chance they’ll get more views.
2. Viewing time. You can be sure that if people don’t watch your videos in their entirety and try to switch to other ones before yours is over, the algorithm won’t like it one bit.
3. Shares. As one of the factors that affect the algorithm’s decisions, shares are much more important than other kinds of engagement like comments or likes.
4. Number of comments. If people like discussing your video, it really got them interested. However, you must remember that you can’t get to the top on comments only. So trying to fish for comments won’t do you much good. Unless it’s really worth it.
5. Number of likes. Likes are the easiest reaction to get but it’s also the cheapest one in the algorithm’s book.
All of the above factors are parts of this thing called engagement. And the engagement rate is one of the most important metrics. Repeated views and viewing time will determine your videos’ fate. Shares, likes, and comments will help them stay afloat.
All in all, it’s not unlike algorithms on other social platforms. The higher your videos’ engagement rate is, the bigger chance they’ve got to be favored by the system. Now, this is something you have to keep in mind when planning your personal TikTok growth strategy.
The funny thing is your video’s fate depends on how the first 200-300 users who see it react to it. This means that you need to find a niche that will appeal to a certain number of followers. Once they find your video in their feed, they will view it, like it, comment on it, or share it. Or do all of the above. The time you upload your videos matters too; after all, the more people view it the more likely it is to go to Recommendations.
There is a certain specificity to how the TikTok algorithm works, which you’ll have to keep in mind. Your video doesn’t get views instantly after you upload it. There is always a delay during which TikTok AI analyzes your content. The clever algorithm will read the description text, see the way you move, hear you speak. It does all of that thanks to the advanced technology of natural language processing and computer vision. Sometimes, the delay might be so long that your video goes to Recommendations the next day. So don’t fret and get all upset if you see that your videos don’t get instantly popular. It takes time.
How to get views on TikTok
If you don’t get as many views as you’d like, it’s likely your video doesn’t pop up on the For You page. There might be multiple reasons for this, the most common being:
- You are younger than 13. TikTok algorithm utilizes a filter for all videos that involve underage users. All such videos get pre-moderated before showing up in your profile.
- The quality of your videos leave much to be desired. If your video’s sound and/or visuals render it all but unwatchable, you can forget about it going to the For You page.
- You’ve been shadowbanned. Shadowban is something many talk about but can’t really prove. Are you the one to post controversial content that might walk on the edge of violating the platform ToS? Have you noticed your videos stopped getting views? Yes, that might be because you’ve been shadowbanned by the platform.
But if none of that is true when it comes to your video content on TikTok, you’ve got a fair chance to get as many views as you like. Here’s how you can do that.
1. Set up your profile
This is the first thing you have to take care of unless all you want is lag behind. A properly filled-out profile is your trademark and it gives you a much higher chance to get more followers and more views. And no, your name and username are not enough.
Think. Use your imagination. Add a short profile description that will describe you and your preferences and make people genuinely interested in what you have to say and to show. Most importantly, make sure that the content you post perfectly matches this description.
And last but not least, upload a high quality photo as your user pic. Sure, chances are people will get to see what you look like from your videos. But a good profile photo is a nice window to your account.
Needless to say, without all of this, your profile will be doomed to remain viewless forever.
2. Optimise your content using hashtags and descriptions
Your videos might be super original and interesting, but using the right hashtags and engaging descriptions never hurts. After all, many people search for videos using hashtags. So what your hashtags must be is relevant and preferably trending. And what they must never be is random.
There is a simple way to choose all the right hashtags for your video. Let’s say you’ve made a video about painting by numbers. Go to the Discover page, click on the search bar on top and type in the first hashtag that comes into your mind in connection to your video theme. For example, in our case, it might be #painting. Now go to the Hashtags tab. Here you’ll get the full list of hashtags you can use for your videos at the moment. You’ll also be able to see how many views there are for each hashtag. Now just choose the most popular ones in order to get as many views as possible.
As a rule, choosing correct hashtags is a great way to increase the number of views on your videos.
3. Produce original content
Say what you will, but the amount of unoriginal, repetitive content on TikTok goes beyond all limits. Lots of users do lip-syncing. Lots of them pick up a popular video trend and run it into the ground. Original videos really stand out on the backdrop of this sameness. So why don’t you produce interesting and original content instead of posting boring identical videos?
Being original will always give you a better chance of getting more views on the platform.
4. Use the right music
A soundtrack done right makes about 70% of your video success. Take your time to find the right music for each video that you post. Luckily, TikTok has its own library of popular music, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Just remember that whichever soundtrack you choose must complement your video and match its tone and mood. To put it simply, if you’ve made a fun little video, don’t choose a sad soundtrack for it.
5. Post your videos consistently
If you think you can upload a video in a month and still enjoy lots of views, think again. Consistency is the key and a guarantee that your followers won’t lose interest for whatever content you have to post.
The fact that you don’t get too many views on the videos you’ve already uploaded isn’t a good reason to stop posting. Just remember that the only way your profile might look interesting and promising in the eyes of your followers, both existing and potential ones, is when it’s active.
Here’s the thing: TikTok stops adding your videos to the For You page if there’s no fresh content on your profile. So if you, say, post ten new videos and then stop posting for a week or two, your old ones will stop getting views.
Try to upload at least 4 videos a week. Make a content plan for your TikTok profile if you have to. Write down topics and upload times. This way you won’t have to constantly worry about which ideas to use.
And while it might almost sound like you are doing a job, that’s the price you have to pay to become popular. If that’s something you want, of course.
6. Interact with your audience
Guess what. Followers enjoy not only commenting on videos but also getting responses to those comments. Chat with your followers from time to time. Comment on other videos on the platform. When they see you being active they’ll want to go and check out your profile and view your videos.
7. Link your TikTok profile with other social network profiles
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or whichever social network you are using. In case you don’t have profiles on some popular social networks, create them. It’s a great way to increase the number of views on your videos and widen your audience.
8. Do collaborations with popular TikTokers
Don’t be afraid to get in touch with more popular TikTok users who already have a nice follower base and lots of views. In case they agree to collab, you’ll get some extra viewers and potentially followers. In fact, even if such collab doesn’t work out, people might want to check out a user who openly addresses their favored content creator with a collaboration offer.
9. Use visual effects
Visual effects are something that can make even the dullest video entertaining. Some of the most popular visual effects on the platform now are emoji face, fiery eye, solo switch and others.
10. Think of your own signature schtick
Create a signature move that will make your videos always stand out as your own. Even if there’s a popular trend or a challenge you want to do, there’s always a way to make it unique by adding a bit of a personal twist to it.
11. Make your videos engaging from the very start
As I mentioned earlier, the TikTok algorithm keeps track of the viewing time, number of likes, and number of shares. So your main task here is to arrest their attention from the first seconds of your video and make them watch it to the end.
For example, videos showing the process of creating something are the most engaging. People are just interested to see the result. So they not only watch the videos, they add them to favorites and then watch them repeatedly. And as you already know, this is something the algorithm really likes.
12. Advertise with other TikTokers
If TikTok is more than just a fun pastime for you and you have long-term goals for the platform, try advertising your profile with other users to get some extra views and followers. If you don’t really have a budget for this or you would like to go all the way to the top without investing money, there’s a way to boost your views at the expense of other users too. For example, you can do duets, challenges, or reactions to their videos.
13. Make videos with unexpected endings
This might sound weird but many videos on TikTok got thousands of views just because it’s hard to understand what’s going on. People watch them to the end to figure out what it’s all about. Get them all puzzled and intrigued by an unusual start to make them want to watch it whole. Just make sure you don’t forget to add an entertainingly unexpected ending. Disappointing your viewers will result in less views in the long run.
14. Make series of videos
If you are not entirely new to TikTok, chances are you’ve already seen videos that end abruptly without any closure. The idea is to make a video that ends at the most intriguing point and promises a closure in another video. It’s just basic human psychology: they will want to know what happens next, they like the video, go to your profile to subscribe and watch other similar videos you’ve uploaded. As a result, you get your views (including repeated ones), your likes, and your followers. Next thing you know your video pops up on the For You page and gets even more engagement.
15. Analyze trends
Diversify your content plan by constantly keeping track of all the current platform trends. These trends change every week and can be viewed in the Discover section whenever you feel like it. In case you don’t know what a TikTok trend is, it’s basically a popular theme for a video. Choose the trending theme that appeals to you the most and make a video on it.
16. Take special care about your content quality
This might seem pretty obvious but you might be surprised how many TikTokers actually disregard this when making their videos. The higher the quality the better. Be mindful of the background while making the video. Too many people seem to forget others can see not only their face but what’s going on behind their backs as well.
And one more thing. Make sure you look good. This might sound somewhat shallow but TikTok is a short video service. They might stay for your personality but they will come for the eye candy.
17. Follow the platform rules
If you plan to stay here for a while, make sure that you don’t post any content that violates the platform’s ToS. Unless you don’t care about views and growth at all, disregarding rules is a great way to rid yourself of a chance to ever see your videos on the For You page. Here’s the type of content you can’t post:
- Adult and explicit content;
- Videos that include scenes of smoking and/or consuming alcohol;
- Advocacy of violence or any potentially harmful actions;
- Threats to other users.
Why do I get no views on TikTok?
But what if you’ve been using TikTok for quite a while and still don’t get the results you want? What if you follow every rule, don’t post content involving kids and you still don’t get those views? Let’s talk about the most common reasons.
1. Your videos are too few and far between. If you hardly ever post any videos and when you do, it’s once in a week or two, your followers simply forget about you. You just stop being an interesting account to follow.
2. You use old and irrelevant trends. As I said, trends on TikTok change every week. If you make a video on a dated trend that doesn’t cause all that much hype anymore, the chance you get any views on that video is close to zero.
Watch top users, check out popular tags and trends and make sure you get with the program.
3. Unoriginal, highly derivative, and/or repetitive content. Yes, there are many people who base their content on something popular bloggers do. It might be okay from time to time but don’t expect this kind of content to be extremely popular.
4. Bad video quality. No one says you must necessarily buy expensive professional equipment if you really want to be a TikTok star. After all, it’s a mobile app, and the majority of videos here are filmed using smartphones. Just remember that filming with decent lighting is a key to success. No one will be interested in a video that hurts their eyes.
5. Irrelevant hashtags. Make sure that you place your video in categories it should be in based on its content and not just any category in existence. People use hashtags to search for videos and if your video happens to be irrelevant to their search request, they’ll pay zero attention to it.
6. Technical issues during publication. Make sure that your video is available to all viewers and that the video file was uploaded without any issues. However surprising it sounds, this is quite a common reason for lack of views. Just double-check if everything is alright with your video after uploading it
7. You’ve just created a TikTok account. If you are only at the beginning of your TikTok adventure and created a profile a few days ago, lack of views on your videos is completely normal. Try to follow some other users in your niche, post comments to other videos to make them notice you and you’ll be fine.
Being a highly saturated market as it is, TikTok doesn’t make getting lots of views on your videos easy. Making short videos and uploading them isn’t enough. But this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. You’ve got to have patience and work on your content and your account, generate new ideas and communicate with your audience. Only then you can be sure that your efforts will be rewarded by many views and all that comes with them.