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  • Writer's pictureChandler Lyles

TikTok Hooks Toolkit: Plus, 50 Viral Hook Ideas Inside

Every day, 34 million videos are uploaded to TikTok. It’s easy to see why: TikTok users spend an average of 60 minutes on the platform daily. With so much competition, how do we get our videos to go from 200 views to 10 million? The best way to cut through the noise and grab attention for your brand is to start your video with a great hook.

What Is a Hook and Why Are They Important?

A hook is the first 3-15 seconds of your TikTok video. You might have the greatest video in the world, but it won't matter if those first few seconds don't stop the viewer in their tracks. The TikTok algorithm rewards videos with high engagement, which starts with retention aka watch time. The longer viewers watch your video, the better it performs.

Why does a great hook get viewers to stop on your video and give you the best chance to get that sweet, sweet watch time? Curiosity. Your ancestors used curiosity to survive by exploring new territories and finding innovative ways to thrive. That same ancient DNA drives TikTok users today. 


Take a look at the image above. Which plant sticks out to you? Maybe one or another but they are all mostly the same. Now, look at the image below and pick which plant sticks out the most.

golden tree curiosity

The reason that the golden plant sticks out so much is that it is so different than every other plant around it. We can't help ourselves. We're drawn right to it. We want to see why this tree is so different than everything else we're seeing. That is the power of curiosity.

Curiosity for novel things compels viewers to explore content that promises to show them something new. A great hook triggers curiosity and makes the viewer want to see what comes next.

What is a Good Hook on TikTok?

I love my wife. She loves me, our kids, and Target. That is why the TikTok video below stood out to me when I saw it on my For You Page (FYP). 

A husband is singing a song looking for his wife while making fun of the stereotype of wives that buy things at Target they don’t need just because they love the experience. This video has 190k views when the other videos on the creator's channel average between 1-10k views per video. The hook is the primary difference.

If you look at at just the hook of this video it has all the elements. We first read the words “I’m Looking for My Wife at Target.” Then we hear him begin singing a parody of another trending TikTok sound. Then we see the setting is an actual Target aisle. Then, I at least, experienced happiness as the joke brought a smile to my face. 

This creator perfectly followed the WAVE Hook formula. 

TikTok Hook W.A.V.E. Framework

Great Hooks W.A.V.E.

You have one goal: Stop the scroll. Your hook's only job is to stop the scroll. TikTok users can tell in the first second if a video is worth watching. Here is the best framework to follow if you want your TikTok hook to stop the scroll. 

  • W - The WORDS on the screen hook the viewer in. This is the first thing your viewers will see.

  • A - The AUDIO in the video is clear and the first sentence spoken further hooks the audience.

  • V - The VISUALS of the first 15 seconds interrupt the pattern the viewer is expecting.

  • E - The viewer's EMOTIONS are triggered by something your hook points out.

Here are a few elements to consider when designing your WAVE Hooks:

  • Clear and Concise: Great hooks are clear and to the point. When in doubt, cut it out.

  • Promise of Value: Let viewers know what they will gain by watching the video. Will they be entertained or educated? The hook should imply what they are in for.

  • Relevance and Relatability: Make sure your hook is relevant to your target audience. Use scenarios, language, or references that your viewers can relate to.

  • Unexpected Elements: Incorporate something surprising or unexpected in the first few seconds. Surprise is a wonderful and rarely planned-for emotion.

  • Good Pacing: Start with a brisk pace to immediately draw viewers in. TikTok's interest-based algorithm is filled with people who don't know each other. Be quick to get the viewer's attention, or they will scroll on.

  • Trending Sounds or Music: Trending sounds or music on TikTok can increase watch time. Familiar audio can grab attention quickly.

  • Teasing a Reveal: Mention or hint at a big reveal or climax that will come later in the video. This creates anticipation and makes viewers want to stick around to see the payoff.

Try different types of hooks to see what works best for your audience. Keep experimenting until you find what resonates with your audience.

Sometimes You Have to Re-Hook Your Audience

Depending on how long your video is, you may need multiple hooks throughout your content. You’ll need to rehook your viewers when it's time to introduce a new point. Videos that are less than one minute won't need more than one hook. As your TikTok videos get longer, you'll need to continually rehook your viewers. 

The good news is that you've already got the framework for creating great hooks. Follow it to keep your viewers watching.

50 TikTok Hooks to Help You Go Viral*

*I’ve included two bonus hooks at the bottom of this list as a thank you for reading this article. 

  1. You won't believe this but ____

  2. ___ Reasons Why ___

  3. 10 (tools or tips) I wish I knew earlier.

  4. What are some weird things people don't know about _____

  5. I don't think people understand ____.

  6. Am I the only one who didn't know ____.

  7. Everybody's looking for ____.

  8. This is the secret to ____.

  9. How to do ____ in half the time.

  10. What I would tell my ____ year old self.

  11. This (trick/ hack / tip) will save you hours.

  12. If you want to ____ do this.

  13. Unpopular opinion but . . .

  14. Day in the life as a ____.

  15. If you think someone might think ___ but you want to know for sure, this video is for you.

  16. I am constantly amazed by ____.

  17. Does anyone else have that one ____.

  18. ____ have been lied to.

  19. Hack your ____ in (this year).

  20. Here's my favorite lesson of (this year).

  21. People don't actually understand if ___ then ____.

  22. Have you ever wondered why ____ does ____.

  23. If you hate ___ this video is for you.

  24. ____ vs ____

  25. If you want the best ___ you have to ___.

  26. Do you want to know what happens if you don't ____.

  27. No gatekeeping, here is the ___ that changed my ___.

  28. This is your sign to ___.

  29. Why is nobody talking about ___.

  30. I use ___ because I worry about ___.

  31. Reasons why I wish I never bought ___.

  32. ___ reasons to do ___.

  33. In 60 seconds, I'm going to show you ___.

  34. There's a shift happening in ___, pay attention.

  35. (Famous Person) just gave the best (advice/ thought) on ___ and the answer may shock you.

  36. ___ is getting an update. Here is everything you need to know.

  37. The one thing most people mess up when it comes to ____ is ____.

  38. Do not do ___ without asking this one question.

  39. I wish someone told me sooner that ____.

  40. Here's how I spend ___ to ___.

  41. Did you know ___ doesn't ___ as you think?

  42. This is the only way you should be ____ now.

  43. If you've ever ___, you've probably asked yourself, ____.

  44. This ___ is so good, it should be illegal.

  45. How I went from ___ to ___ in (number of days).

  46. I took my client from ___ to ___ buy doing these (number) things.

  47. The ___ secrets to ____.

  48. Why you struggle to ___, Here are (Insert number) Tips

  49. The truth about ___ that will change the way we ___.

  50. Does (insert common knowledge) actually matter?


Advice for (niche of person). Stop doing (Common Habit, Tactic, or Advice)


TikTok is a unique social network because it allows you to stitch other interesting videos and then put your own reaction afterward. Take advantage of this. Find other videos that your viewers will think is interesting and then add your two cents. Here is an example.

Viral Videos Aren’t Guaranteed

  1. Know Your Audience: Understand what they are curious about.

  2. Experiment with Hooks: Try different types to see what works best.

  3. Use the WAVE Framework: Words, Audio, Visuals, and Emotions.

  4. Keep It Concise: Make every frame in every second count.

  5. Stay Relevant: Trending sounds, content types, and popular events.

If you want the best chance to stop the scroll then your first 3-15 seconds have to be perfect. Want more cutting-edge marketing advice? Get The Highlight Newsletter. It's free and delivered straight to your inbox weekly. You can sign up by clicking the button below.

Interested in advertising your business on TikTok? You should read this article next.



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