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Non-obvious Reasons for Tiktok's Success: The Algorithm Secrets

People often compare TikTok to a slot machine. The app is really addictive, and we can easily spend around an hour mindlessly scrolling through an endless stream of content. But what is the secret of its popularity? And how to make an app like TikTok? We analyze the app's user experience and find out the reasons for our collective TikTok obsession.

Developing an Application like TikTok: How The Algorithm Works?

The factors that influence the content of FYP
  • User interactions with content: what you like and dislike, which video you finish watching and which skip, comments analysis, and the content you create (if so);
  • Video info: music choice, captions, hashtags, etс;
  • Device and profile settings: the type of device, location, language.

It’s always a combination of factors, and some are more important than others. For example, TikTok claims that your interactions are more important than your location.

Read Also: Essential Things to Consider Before Starting Your App Development Project

The reasons for TikTok popularity and addictiveness


There is no constant theme on the “for you'' page. Instead, tiktoks that you’ll see in one session will be based on your interests. This variability and the effect of the unknown are the keys to immersing user experience.

Cater to user’s niche interest
The algorithm easily gives you niche content and a unique experience. Moreover, you can find new corners of TikTok even after a year of active use. Partly because of a good working hashtag system and partly because of constantly improving FYP.


Short-form content is sketchy — you can watch a lot and don’t feel like you spend too much time for one session. That’s the reason why users spend hours inside the app. It’s stealing your time, and you are happy about it.

Average monthly hours per user. TikTok vs Youtube: USA, UK, SK — App Annie report

Simple Interface

Every time a user swipes to update the recommendation on FYP, the experience is close to using a slot machine. You can’t predict what you’ll encounter, and if you already spend enough time in the app and the algorithm knows you really well — you’ll not be disappointed.

Glimpses of Otherhood

Again, because of the algorithm, your feed is less predictable. When on Instagram or Pinterest, everything is picture-perfect and more curated TikTok can organically show users content from different locations and ethical and social groups.

We hope yore enjoy this analysis of the TikTok algorithm and success factors. If you want to build an app like TikTok and need help with the development process, hit us with the details.