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The TikTok Heating Button: What it is and Why it Matters

The TikTok Heating Button: What it is and Why it Matters

The TikTok For You Feed (FYF) is a hot topic in the social media marketing world. It is a seemingly unprejudiced, algorithmically driven heartbeat that keeps users engaged for hours on end. It can also skyrocket even the most obscure creator to instant virality.

Until recently, the internet believed there was only one way to go viral on TikTok: to make genuinely valuable content. But the recent publication of an internal TikTok and ByteDance document told a different story. 

In this post, we’re talking all about the TikTok heating button. Keep reading to learn more.

What is the TikTok Heating Button?

The internal document discussed a process called “heating” where specialists working for TikTok select certain videos and manually push them to the FYFs of users. 

Because of this influence, these videos bypass the algorithm — which operates on a series of metrics designed to assess value — to go viral without having to first prove that users will enjoy the content.

The TikTok heating button is responsible for an estimated 1-2 percent of all daily video views. That number is significant and raises questions about the influencers that grow on the platform.

For example, while many social media platforms engage in their own boosting process for certain causes (like when multiple platforms invested in a COVID-19 anti-misinformation campaign during the pandemic), TikTok has used the heating button to persuade specific influencers and content creators to prioritize their app.

So, while 1-2 percent is a relatively small number, it does shatter the previously held illusion that TikTok was a democratic platform where anyone creating valuable content could grow a platform.  

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Should You Worry About the TikTok Heating Button?

As a content creator or brand making videos on TikTok, should you be concerned about the platform’s heating process? Probably not. The truth is that there is not much that can be done about it. And TikTok is still one of the most effective platforms for building your brand’s audience.

However, there have been instances where TikTok employees misused the feature to help their friends or themselves go viral. In a statement, the company assured that a very limited number of employees had access to the heating button. 

Ultimately, the official purpose of the heating button is to attract new influencers, encourage more diverse content, and improve the overall user experience on the app.

The initial purpose of the feature, according to the document, was to encourage content that diverged from the dancing and lip-syncing that many associate with TikTok. And while much of TikTok’s content still involves dancing and lip-syncing, the app is now a far more diverse and interesting source for entertainment.

As a creator, there are also times the heating feature can help you. 

Imagine a creator who typically makes beauty content decides to post about cooking. In these instances, the algorithm would be ill-equipped to help the video reach the right audience since it is programmed to push the creator’s videos to beauty fans. The heating button allows TikTok to support the creator by pushing the video to cooking fans, effectively helping them build a more accurate audience.

Master TikTok With Hire a Writer

If you want to start growing an audience on TikTok, or if you’ve been struggling to create high-quality content for your existing audience, you’re in the right place. 

The team at Hire a Writer is experienced in social media strategy. We have the tools and resources to connect you to your people. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you reach your goals.

At Hire a Writer, we specialize in all things digital marketing. To read more on content marketing, subscribe to the Hire a Writer blog.


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