TikTok announced this month that it’s updating the maximum length of videos on its platform from three minutes to ten. Sophia Cohen, Head of Influencer Marketing at Moburst, discusses some of the recent changes made to the TikTok platform.
What Is the Big TikTok Update?
The update is a big deal because TikTok has always been a short-form video platform – so the question arises, is it still?
It seems the decision was made in a bid to allow influencers to create more in-depth vlogs, as opposed to just snappy clips, and not have to send their audience elsewhere for longer content.
How Has the Industry Responded?
The industry-wide consensus about TikTok’s new change has been overwhelmingly negative. Change brings with it new metrics, new best practices, and a shift in approach, so it’s often greeted with skepticism.
However, critics feel that even TikTok’s justification for introducing the update validates their concerns – they want to give creators the chance to produce long-form content, but that detracts from TikTok’s current (very successful) formula.
The key to TikTok’s success up until now lies in the way users are incentivized to repeatedly rewatch videos on the platform. Whether a certain element caught their attention, they missed a particular clip, or something amused them, there’s nothing to lose from watching again given how short the videos are.
The snappy videos, from challenges to outfit get ready with me’s (GRWM), encourage users to rewatch them repeatedly.
The new ten-minute maximum video length will mean users are less likely to rewatch TikTok videos, so the overall views will go down. Somewhat begrudgingly, the industry will have to set new benchmarks once more.
Why Did TikTok Make This Change?
TikTok revealed that it made the maximum length longer to cater to creators who want to produce more long-form content. Positively speaking, this offers more space for different types of creators and different styles of content.
For example, fitness instructors will now be able to create ten-minute, full-body workout sessions instead of quick three-minute ab workouts. Or, fashion stylists will be able to guide people through a week’s worth of outfits rather than a day.
As a result, these creators will no longer have to redirect their audience elsewhere, such as on YouTube, which they’ve been doing for some time. Consequently, TikTok is asserting itself as a direct competitor of YouTube, while offering creators the chance to keep all of their content centralized in one place.
There’s no denying that TikTok is trying to monetize the app even more by giving both consumers and creators an extra feature that prevents the need for YouTube video “trailers” redirecting TikTok followers to longer-form content there.
Is There a Solution to Make This Update Better Received by the Industry?
Well, an idea Moburst has looked into is whether TikTok could move its long-form videos to a dedicated section of the app that’s separate from the For You page.
Or, the solution could even be as simple as adding a filter to allow users to choose the maximum length of videos they want. This would also give creators data on what length videos users actually prefer.
With either of these methods, the long-form videos won’t interrupt the fast-paced nature of the For You page if users don’t want them to. This would be the best way to keep the TikTok dynamic as close to what people currently know and love.
After all, isn’t one of the main reasons people use TikTok (as opposed to another social media platform) for its short-form video content?
TikTok has been the industry leader in this realm, to the point where nearly every other platform has attempted to copy it, such as Instagram with Reels or YouTube with Shorts. Reels outperform all other Instagram features, which suggests TikTok’s going to see a similar pattern.
At the end of the day, you’ve got to have faith this will be pulled off successfully given that it’s TikTok, and, well, that speaks for itself.
However, Moburst can’t help but question that without sticking to just short videos, quick trends, bite-sized content, and everything else geared towards keeping people scrolling – will TikTok maintain its top-tier status?