According to Statista, with around 57.7 billion yuan in user traffic value, Douyin became the most valuable short video app in China as of June 2023. The platform has over 400M active users daily, of whom over 250M consume content for more than one hour on a daily basis.
Similar to TikTok, Douyin’s recommendation algorithm is a complex system that combines multiple machine learning techniques to deliver relevant and personalized content to users.
For creators and brands who are seeking to succeed on Douyin, it’s a must to understand the recommendation algorithm, which is “Tag” to “Tag” in essence:
- If you are a user, the types of video content you see on Douyin are determined by your interests described by roughly 150 tags, based on your browsing preferences. As your interests change, Douyin’s algorithm adapts, allowing you to see content that corresponds to your interest tags.
- In the same way, as a creator or brand on Douyin, you will also be attributed to about 150 tags, and the same rule will apply when your content changes.
The next step is quite intuitive. As you may have guessed Douyin will match users’ tags with creators’ tags. Upon matching, the algorithm will determine whether or not to further recommend the content to a wider pool of users. This is all based on the performance data of the content. Douyin evaluates your video before recommending it with the following 5 key metrics:
1. Completion Rate
Completion % = Viewing Time / Video Time
In general, higher completion rates indicate better-quality Douyin content. An average benchmark would be 15%-20%, while 40%-50% or more would be considered excellent.
Tip 1: To achieve a high completion rate, you can set up suspense at the beginning of your video or start and lead a discussion thread in the comment section to extend viewing time.
Tip 2: For new accounts, it is not recommended to have super long-length content unless the video quality is exceptional. As the longer the video, the lower the completion rate.
2. Like Rate
Like % = Total Likes / Plays
A higher like rate on your content might trigger Douyin’s algorithm’s second round of recommendations, resulting in more traffic. Generally, the first round of recommendations by Douyin’s algorithm requires that a video receive at least 3%-5% likes, meaning that there must be between 3 and 5 likes for every 100 views.
3. Comment Rate
Comment % = Total Comments / Plays
A video content’s comment rate and volume aren’t directly related to its quality, so an average benchmark isn’t used. There is no doubt, however, that the better the comment rate, the higher the weighted recommendation by Douyin’s algorithm.
Tip 3: Creator therefore should consider actively leading comment threads in the comment sections to boost the number of messages they receive.
4. Forwarding Rate
Forwarding % = Total Shares / Plays
Generally, the forwarding rate has little effect on videos circulating in the primary traffic pool. But, if you aim for breaking through the primary traffic level to enter into a bigger traffic pool, the forwarding rate is the key metric to track if you’ve triggered the algorithm.
5. Following Conversion Rate
Following Conversion % = New Followers / Plays
The following conversion rate refers to the number of new followers brought by a video. It’s also a key metric for Douyin’s algorithm to determine whether a video will be entering a larger traffic pool.
Douyin’s traffic pool
Some rules governs Douyin’s traffic pool: A video once published will start out in the “cold start” traffic pool. It is generally made up of followers, friends, people you may know , as well as a small number of people with matching tags, in total 300-500 views. This round of traffic pool is usually the most difficult to break through.
The content that exceeds the benchmarks in the 5 key metrics will go to the second round where the traffic pool will bring about 1,000 to 5,000 views, and then the best of the best will move on to the third round where they will gain more than 10,000 views.
Douyin’s platform is like a big traffic pool, its recommendation algorithm like a fishing net, and video content like bait. Your video would be very likely to enter the larger traffic pool and gain more views if the 5 key metrics are good.
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