Bulkly has scheduled over posts for the smartest social media marketers.
Get your 7-day free trial and automate your social media in minutes.

What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok? Everything You Need To Know

  • Blog
  • What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok? Everything You Need To Know

TikTok is a social platform that has experienced a meteoric rise in the last 5 years. With TikTok, users can post short videos—usually 5-120 seconds, ranging from music videos, funny videos, dance videos, etc. TikTok is witty and simple to use, providing a wide variety of filters and effects, alongside a wide music library.

TikTok currently boasts over 1.6 billion monthly users, according to the NY Times. Considering TikTok’s popularity, it helps to understand new internet slang such as “ratio” or “ratioed”. This can help product marketers and advertisers reach out to specific target demographics and create more appealing content.

In this article, we’ll answer the question “What does ratio mean on TikTok?” And the implications of this on TikTok marketing.

What Is The Meaning Of “Ratio” On Tiktok?

What does ratio mean on TikTok? First, let’s start with a general definition of ratio.

The term “ratio” denotes a numerical comparison between two values. i.e., it indicates how much of one thing exists alongside another. Ratio on social media draws from a similar concept.

“Ratio” in this context refers to the relative number of engagements that social posts generate directly compared to the engagements generated by comments and likes on these secondary posts.

Let’s say that a TikTok video has received 100 likes and 200 comments on the thread. In TikTok slang, we’d say that the particular video has been ratioed at 2:1. So, in this context, the term “ratio” is used as a verb, so we’ll say the person with a lesser amount of likes has been “ratioed.”

What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok


In the case of the TikTok screenshot above, mega-influencer Charli D’Amelio posts a comment under a TikTok video—his comment receives 800K likes. Now, another TikTok user @l3ombas replies to the comment by D’Amelio and got 1.7M likes. This means that Charli D’Amelio has been “ratioed” by almost 2:1.

TikTok, like most other social media platforms, recommends content based on engagement, i.e., likes and comments. Therefore, we can say that a TikTok video with a high ratio (say 4:1) would be less likely to be recommended than one with a low or equivalent ratio (say 1:1).

Where Did “Ratios” Come From?

No one really knows how the “ratio” slang caught on across social media. However, its origin points to a 2017 Esquire magazine article on “how to know if you’ve sent a horrible tweet.”

The crux of the article was this – if the number of replies to a tweet vastly outnumbers its likes and retweets, then it is a valid assumption that the tweet has gone horribly wrong.

In such a case, it could mean the vast majority of users disagree with the original tweet, or that the tweet is so controversial that it generates different opinions. Twitter was thus, more or less, the first social platform to expressly use the concept of “ratio”.

Two possible scenarios could happen on Twitter for a “ratio” to occur. The first is when a tweet has more replies to it than likes. The second is when a reply to an original tweet gains more likes or impressions than the original tweet.

In these two cases, it would imply less engagement with the original tweet by Twitter users. Let’s take an example of a McDonald’s brand tweet that got ratioed by another popular brand @Wendys back in 2017:

What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok - What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok? Everything You Need To Know - 1


In the Twitter screenshot above, the original tweet by @McdonaldsCorp posts a random tweet about Black Friday. Then, @Wendys replied and got more likes, retweets, and comments than McDonald’s original tweet. That is a prime example of a ratio on Twitter. It was also an indication that Twitter users found @Wendys’ tweet more exciting than the tweet by McDonald’s.

Overall for social media platforms, ratios generally happen if:

  • Original content like videos, tweets, posts, etc., have more comments than likes.
  • A comment on the original content has more likes than the original post itself.

Usually, a ratio greater than 1:1 means that people aren’t engaging with the original post or content as much as they should.

Why is this important to you as a content creator or a brand?

So, if your content is getting ratioed because users find it boring or somewhat offensive, it may be a pointer that you need to assess your social media engagement strategies and efforts. This will help you devise better ways to win the hearts of your audience.

You may also need to hire virtual assistants or social media managers who are more aware of recent trends to effectively engage with your social media audience.

How To Spot The Ratio On Your Tiktok

Knowing the ratio of your content on TikTok means that you can gauge your audience’s perception of the said content. As a result, if you are just starting a business like an e-commerce shop and are planning to market products or content on TikTok, you’ll need to keep ratios in mind.

When checking your TikTok ratio, look out for the following:

  • The number of likes on the video.
  • The number of comments replying to your video.
  • The most popular comments on the video thread and the number of likes that these comments receive.
  • The number of comments replying to the most popular comments on your video thread.

Let us use an example to explain this further.

What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok - What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok? Everything You Need To Know - 2


In the above image, a TikTok user posts a video that gets 17.1K comments. Let us assume for this discussion that the video had 10K likes. Then along comes a mega-influencer @KSI who posts one comment that totally ratios the original video with 172.4K likes. Here, the original video has a ratio of 172.4:10, based on the supposed number of likes alone.

In this case, the original user can tell that they’ve been ratioed by simply checking the total likes and comments on their post. This should be checked against the likes and comments on the replies thread from other TikTok users on the same video.

Are All Tiktok Ratios A Bad Thing?

Not necessarily. It all depends on the context.

Ideally, content creators on social media should want active users to engage more with their content. If you post a picture on Instagram, you’d want your followers to like it.

So your content getting ratioed can be as good as getting the engagement you desire. However, it becomes a problem if the ratios are based on negative responses or dislikes.

What does ratio mean on TikTok for a small business? Let’s say you are a content creator that shares how to create SaaS marketing plan with small businesses on social media. If you get more dislikes than likes on your posts, it may signal that your audience doesn’t like the content you are creating.

In this case, you might want to try something different; for example, refine your audience persona to create content that resonates with them. You may even choose to use another social media platform like LinkedIn that fits better with your type of content and audience persona.

For TikTok, checking your likes-to-dislikes ratio on your videos will help you to produce content that pleases your followers or draws positive engagement.

Is ‘Ratio’ Used On Other Social Media Platforms As Well?

The concept of ratio has always existed across social media, although it works differently on each social media platform. We’ve already seen how Twitter ratios work earlier in this article. But what about a video-sharing platform like YouTube?

A simple application of ratio on YouTube would be a video with more dislikes than likes. In that case, that would show an unpopular opinion. Although YouTube has disabled results from the dislike button from public view, content creators can still see the number of dislikes in YouTube Studio.

What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok - What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok? Everything You Need To Know - 3


YouTube Rewind 2018 is an example of a ratioed video on YouTube. At the time, the video had 2 million likes and 7.1 million dislikes.

Facebook and Instagram don’t currently have a dislike button. Users can only unlike previously liked posts. However, you can tell a ratio by checking the likes to comments on a post or vice versa.

On Reddit, another social information platform, the number of upvotes to downvotes can inform you of your content’s ratio.

Just like TikTok, getting ratioed on other social media platforms could also call your attention to your audience sentiment on the platform. It could also be a pointer that something is wrong.

Like the previous example about Wendy’s and McDonald’s ratio. It was later discovered that there was an error in the original McDonald’s tweet which the poster had not observed. Although the initial tweet had already gone viral, McDonald’s was able to come up with another tweet to help manage its impact.

What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok - What Does Ratio Mean on TikTok? Everything You Need To Know - 4


They took advantage of the viral error, to talk about their coffee product McCafé, and this was a decent move from them.

Understanding Ratio “L” And “W” On Tik Tok

The slang “ratio L” or “ratio W” is code for whether a ratio attempt was good or bad. If you come across the term “L + ratio”, that signifies that the attempt to ratio the original post or comment was a failure. In other words, the ratio attempt, or rather the person bringing it suffered a loss or took an “L”.

The term “W + ratio” signifies that the attempt to ratio the original content was successful. Put in another way, the person bringing the ratio attempt took a win or a “W”.

The verbiage of the ratio L or W may change depending on the user. However, this is the generally accepted connotation of these terms.

Your Comment And Videos Can Be Ratioed

To reiterate, on TikTok, both your comments and videos can be ratioed. In the case of a video, this can happen when your original video post has fewer likes than the comments on the thread. Or, the video may have fewer likes than a specific comment within the video thread.

As already discussed, the content owner may post a comment underneath their video. In this case, a comment from another user might have more likes than a comment from the content creator. Thus, the comment from the content creator is said to be ratioed.

How To Respond To Tiktok Comments

For content creators on TikTok and other social media platforms, the key to balancing content with audience sentiment is to have an ideal interaction ratio. This stems from knowing what kind of content might please or offend your audience. Since you want TikTok to promote your content, you need to have a good ratio of your most popular content.

Part of this strategy is knowing how to respond to comments on TikTok. For a business with a TikTok presence, a dedicated social account manager is important. This is because of how well they can read audience sentiment and respond to it.

Also, if you need to deal with serious issues, for example, a PR crisis, you need a human touch that can assess the tone and voice of the conversation before responding. This reduces the chances of your content being ratioed.

In Closing

A ratio can help you gauge the engagement performance of original social media content against content that has been posted in reply to the original content. On TikTok, these could be comments that have been posted in response to a video. It could also refer to the number of likes a video has compared to the number of comments the video received.

To answer the question “what does the ratio mean on TikTok?”, we’ve shown you the origin of ratios and how ratios come about in different ways, especially through likes and comments. We’ve also provided tips on how to spot ratios on your TikTok content as well as how ratios work on other social media platforms.

This article has covered buzzwords such as “L” and “W” ratios and what these phrases mean. Finally, we’ve provided great strategies for responding to comments on TikTok, and what this means for your engagement strategy. For example, you can use “ratio” as a call to action encouraging your audience to engage more with your content.

On this note, it is important to remember that if people like your content, they are less likely to the ratio you. As a content creator, understanding your audience will help you to create content that is less likely to be ratioed. The overall effect will improve the responses to your content by TikTok.

Like this article?

Leave a comment

Scroll to Top