Understanding TikTok Shop Algorithm Changes

Understanding TikTok Shop Algorithm Changes

With thousands of products and billions of users, it may seem impossible to stand out on TikTok. However, TikTok's algorithm works to help consumers to discover new, relevant content that matches their interests. So, it’s important to find ways to understand the algorithm and use it to your advantage.

How does the TikTok Shop algorithm work?

The TikTok Shop algorithm personalizes user content based on their habits, preferences, and past behavior. It uses user interactions, language settings, country settings, and device type to determine which products and advertisements to show users.

How often does the TikTok Shop algorithm change?

TikTok Shop does not publicly disclose how often the algorithm changes. However, the team consistently refines the algorithm to enhance user experience, occasionally making adjustments and updates. TikTok’s CEO Shou Chew recently presented a TED Talk and mentioned that factors such as user interactions, behavioral signals, and video information were key in informing changes to the algorithm. So, while we may not have a specific cadence for changes, how your audience interacts with your videos and any associated trends will be important to anticipating changes. 

For example, if you notice that a particular type of content you post consistently receives high engagement, it would be wise to continue creating similar content. However, if your videos are not performing as well recently, it may indicate that the algorithm has changed and requires some adjustments in your content strategy.

What are some common mistakes brands make when the TikTok algorithm changes?

Some common mistakes brands make when the TikTok algorithm changes include:

  • Not adapting content: Failing to adapt content to TikTok's unique format and features can hinder a brand's success on the platform. Features such as hashtags, duets, and effects, offer unique ways for brands to interact with customers – and having content that is repurposed from other platforms and not tailored to TikTok can harm its engagement.
  • Ignoring trends: Brands may overlook TikTok trends, essential for staying relevant and engaging with the audience. Failing to incorporate popular trends into content can lead to decreased visibility and engagement. On TikTok Shop, social proof is built on authentically connecting to the audience.

This is a small sample of what most brands do when responding to algorithm changes. But it’s far more important to focus on what brands and content creators can do when these changes happen.

How do you protect your brand through algorithm changes? 

When it comes to adapting to changes, TikTok Shop is not unlike other platforms. Here are some strategies to overcome some common challenges brands face when adapting to algorithm changes:

  1. Balancing long-term strategy with short-term changes: It can be challenging to balance long-term content strategy with short-term algorithm changes, as brands need to adapt to the evolving landscape while staying true to their overall content goals. However, you can maintain consistency by monitoring trends and staying updated with the platform and algorithm.
  2. Understanding and anticipating changes: Content creators must stay informed about algorithm changes, anticipate their impact, and be prepared to adjust their content and distribution strategies. Pay close attention to top creators and influencers on the platform. Have they changed their content strategy recently? What type of content is performing well for them? Understanding these trends can help anticipate changes and adapt accordingly.
  3. Data-driven decision-making: Adapting to algorithm changes requires data-driven decision-making, which can be challenging for creators who may not have access to robust analytics or the expertise to interpret the data effectively. If you notice that certain types of content are performing better than others, that might indicate that the algorithm has changed, and adjusting your content strategy accordingly can help protect your brand's visibility on the platform. 

It's vital to stay informed, experiment with different content strategies, use data to inform decision-making, and understand how to optimize your content for maximum visibility and engagement. When it comes to standing out on TikTok Shop, it pays to be sensitive to how the algorithm changes over time.

Looking to get started with how to sell on TikTok Shop? We've put together the ultimate merchant guide for you to hit the ground running.