“What is your TikTok account?”
This question appeared much more often throughout my life than “Do you have TikTok?”. Being a 19-year-old girl in the year 2021, many people usually expect me to have TikTok. I never really bothered to download it as I wasn’t really interested in watching random girls doing dance challenges in their bedrooms.
This all changed about two weeks ago. Recently I have really gotten into Kpop (Korean Pop). There are many different groups within the Kpop genre, ranging from small groups, big groups, boy groups, girl groups, and so on. Of course, I have several different groups that are my personal favorite and I listen to their songs on a daily basis while sitting on the train, studying, or just chilling.
When I was searching for funny videos featuring my favorite group on Youtube it suddenly hit me. Finally, I had found something that I would enjoy watching short clips of. My time to download TikTok has finally come.
But then I wondered about a second thing. How long would it take me to actually find videos I enjoy? For the sake of this blog, I decided to dedicate my first TikTok experience to the beautiful world of Algorithm.
How is TikTok set up?
Before I start to explain how exactly I tried to find out the speed of the TikTok Algorithm, it’s important to first understand how TikTok works. When one downloads TikTok, the first thing that has to be done is to make an account. You choose an account name and set a password, and poof!….. you are done. From here on five different buttons can be seen at the bottom of your screen. Only three buttons matter, for now, profile, search and start.
First, the profile button. Here you can see the videos you have liked, the videos you have put as a favorite, the accounts you follow, the accounts that are following you, and your own videos (if you post something). Next, the search button. Here you can search for specific videos and accounts. Lastly, the start button, here there are two options. On the top left, you can choose following, here you will only see the videos from accounts you follow. On the top right, you can click for you, here TikTok will show you videos that the system thinks you will like.
When watching videos you can like and/or favorite a video. You move on to the next video by simply swiping down. If you don’t swipe down, the same video will play again.
What am I going to try out?
Simply said, I want to see how long it takes me to get a for you page that mainly features videos that I like. Then what are the videos that I like? For that, I’ve made a small list.
- Top Favorite: Ateez Videos (my favorite Kpop group)
- Favorite: Kpop Videos of male groups
- Nice: Kpop Videos in general
How will I try to create a for you page that shows me videos like this? I’ve also set up a plan for this! To start out, I will follow three accounts. The official Ateez account and the accounts of two other popular Kpop male groups. From here on, I will only scout through the for you page.
- When I see a video of Ateez: I will make sure to finish the entire video, then watch it for a second time and like and favorite it
- When I see a video of male Kpop groups: I will make sure to finish the entire video, and like it
- When I see a video of Kpop in general: I will finish the entire video
- When I see a video that doesn’t fit into the categories I like: I will swipe down as fast as I can, going on to the next video
Every day I would be on TikTok for at least 30 minutes trying to work out this strategy.
What were the results?
At first, I barely got any video that I liked. Most videos were dutch influencers who tried to make short funny clips. Of course, since I followed three Kpop accounts, I got a few hits once in a while. I would say that roughly one out of twenty videos was one featuring Kpop. At the end of day one, I felt like that I did get a few more Kpop videos than at the very beginning, but still nowhere as much as I would like.
Picking up where I left off the day before, I did get a few more hits on Kpop videos. The first Ateez clips began to show themselves, and I made sure to let TikTok know that I highly appreciated that. This day was the first day that I actually felt like I was enjoying watching videos on TikTok, as I honestly got to see things I liked. At the end of Day Two, I already got a great lot of Kpop videos in my for you feed, as well as a fair share of Ateez content.
On day three, TikTok seemed to be fully adapted to my personal preferences. I barely got to see anything else than Kpop. At least 50% of those videos were Ateez clips as well, which I was very happy with. I never expected to get a personalized for you page that fast.
Concluding my small research, I found out that, with the right strategy, it takes TikTok around three days to adapt to your personal preferences. For this, you only need to be online for about 30 minutes a day. I now have a for you page that is perfectly in sync with my interests!
Kennedy, Melanie. “European Journal of Cultural Studies”. TikTok dance and e-girl aesthetic. Vol. 23. 6. (2020): 1069–1076