The Science of Hooks

Thanks to user viral, we have the formula to craft the most compelling hook for your TikTok content. 

After analyzing over 50,000 hooks, there are clear dos and don’ts that make a successful TikTok hook, so we embarked on a mission to compile the results from their video to help capture the elusive attention of your audience.

💪 Mastering the art of the six-word hook

With short-form content, brevity reigns supreme. As it turns out, the magic number of words for a TikTok hook is six. 

Videos with hooks of this length consistently outperform their longer and shorter counterparts. So, when crafting your TikTok content strategy, remember to keep it concise.

 👉 An example of six-word simplicity: "Unbox, Discover, Transform: DTC Magic!" (6 words)

🫵 Exceeding six words? Have a clear purpose

While six words is the golden rule, it's possible to go slightly beyond this limit, but with a clear and compelling reason. Longer hooks tend to have lower average performance, so make every word count when you decide to venture beyond the six-word threshold.

🤔 The allure of negative hooks

Negative hooks – those that invoke a sense of urgency or fear of missing out (FOMO 😉), receive an average of 46,000 more views compared to positive hooks. 

👉 Here’s a hook that combines urgency with negativity: "Hurry, Limited Stock Alert! FOMO Strikes!" (6 words)

If negative hooks don't align with your brand's messaging, don't fret. Staying neutral can also maintain strong performance for your TikTok videos when compared to positive ones.

👉 Here’s how your brand can remain neutral: "Sustainable Living: Eco-Friendly Hacks Unveiled" (6 words).

✏️ Writing for a grade 5 reading level

The ideal reading level for TikTok captions hovers around grade 5. This implies that clarity and accessibility are key. 

Find the sweet spot between high and lowbrow content to evoke the right emotions and effectively convey your message. You’re aiming for a reading level that resonates with the widest audience possible.

🤣 Embracing humor

If you’re funny, don’t hide 130k more views per video on average! The data shows that humorous videos garner an average of 130,000 more views per video. TikTok users appreciate a good laugh, so let your brand's humor shine through in your content.

👉 Here’s one that leverages humor: "Laugh Break: Behind-the-Scenes Shenanigans!" (6 words)

😬 Steering clear of listicles

Lastly, when it comes to structuring your content, avoid the listicle format.  viral’s analysis indicates that listicle-style videos are oversaturated and tend to underperform. Instead, focus on crafting engaging, narrative-driven content that captivates your target audience.

👉 An example with a short narrative: "From Idea to Success: Our DTC Journey" (6 words)

🚀 A word from Pilothouse

The Content Manager at Pilothouse previously weighed in on mastering your TikTok presence for the holidays. 

Many of viral’s findings echo her comments in the All Killer No Filler podcast where we break down the most effective ways to communicate with your TikTok audience.  

👀 Retention starts with attention

Don’t let potential consumers swipe through your content without a second thought! The message you deliver in the hook of your video plays the most significant role in ensuring you retain your viewer’s attention. 

By fulfilling the promises you make in the hook, you’ll support the growth of your community and elevate your reputation and authority to become a significant player in your space.

With these insights, craft your TikTok strategy with confidence, and dominate your short-form content and the platform — six words at a time.

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