A leaked document called “TikTok Algo 101,” explains that the platform's ultimate goal is the growth of daily active users. It uses two closely related metrics to achieve this goal - “retention” (whether a user comes back to the same type of content) and “time spent.” (how long they look at a particular video relative to videos from other themes).
Platforms like Spotify or Netflix takes hours of attention before the platform figures out what you like. But with TikTok, it takes 15 to 20 minutes before the app knows your musical, political and sexual tastes, even your state of mind. Thanks to short-form videos.
The algorithm shows you what you want to see but also knows that you, as Gen Z, can get bored with seeing the same stuff on a continuous loop. So the algorithms test out related but different content to see if you like that and to keep you interested.
Tiktok doesn't rely on your friendlist to personalise your feed. It relies on your taste. The more you linger and watch certain content, the more that TikTok will feed you with more of the same.
Majority of video shorts on Tiktok are less than a minute and mostly run between 15 and 30 seconds. The psychology is really smart; the human brain can easily lose track of time while watching a handful of short videos compared to one long video.
One of TikTok's most successful features is that anyone can create and upload their own videos. Some people have become very rich and famous by creating and uploading viral videos. And this entices the entire younger population to use the platform even more.
You can follow other users, send in-app currency to your favorite creators, share videos outside the app, remix a video, comment, and do a lot more than just watching videos. This makes the app even more engaging. Thanks to the social networking psychology.