The ultimate short-form video platform is no longer just a short-form video platform at all. In a recent announcement, TikTok revealed its plans to update the maximum video length on its platform from three minutes to a dramatically different ten minutes. Is this goodbye to snappy, addictive clips and hello to more in-depth vlogs?
The general consensus has been one of undeniable negativity and skepticism. Even TikTok’s reasoning behind the decision to introduce the change validated the industry wide concerns.
TikTok’s not-so-secret sauce, what made it tick so successfully (if you pardon the pun), is that it encourages users to automatically rewatch videos over and over. Perhaps a particular element caught their eye, or they missed a clip, or something made them laugh; each video is so short, why not watch it again? Whether it’s a challenge video, a trend, an outfit “get ready with me” (GRWM) or anything else, the snappy nature of TikTok videos is geared towards encouraging users to watch on repeat. That’s also why they place on a continuous loop.
However, if the video is ten minutes long, which the update allows, most people won’t watch the entire video again. This will therefore negatively impact the overall views of TikTok videos. The industry will have to adjust its benchmarks yet again.
TikTok said that it made the maximum length longer to cater to creators who want to produce more long-form content. On a positive note, this makes more room for different types of creators and different styles of content. Instead of watching a fitness challenge with a quick three minute ab workout, users will be able to follow fitness instructors who can showcase ten minute workout sessions, or a makeup artist who will walk them through different looks, instead of these creators redirecting their audience to YouTube. Now, TikTok will compete with the likes of YouTube and enable creators to keep everything in one place.
Impact on Creators
There are pros and cons of this update for creators. On the negative side, if creators want to produce longer form content, they’re likely already doing that elsewhere, and to constantly shift all of their audience and subscribers to different channels is a difficult process. On the positive side, they have the chance to keep both their long and short-form content in one place and produce a wider variety of content on TikTok. TikTok has also made itself a viable option for creators who only produce longer videos.
What’s more, TikTok must have a great way of incorporating this change purely because it’s TikTok. It has revolutionized the social media landscape despite its relatively short running on the scene compared to the other big shots. In so doing, it has proven itself as a social media platform powerhouse that can make anything successful.
We’ve been asking ourselves whether TikTok should consider relocating the longer form videos to a separate space, like Instagram did with IGTV. We believe it would be a good idea for them to have their own dedicated section within the app, instead of appearing in the same For You page flow as short-form videos.
TikTok is trying to monetize the app even more by giving both consumers and creators what they want and giving creators the option to keep all of their content on its platform. Before this change, a lot of creators were uploading TikToks to redirect their followers to their YouTube channels to find a longer tutorial or more in-depth video.
Isn’t the short-form video content what makes, and keeps, TikTok so engaging? Up until now, TikTok has been an industry leader, so much so that Instagram copied it with Reels and YouTube with Shorts. For the creators we’ve worked with on behalf of our clients, Reels perform best for them over any other feature on Instagram. With Reels outperforming both Stories and In-Feed posts, we’re learning that this style of video is clearly a recipe for success. TikTok was leading the way, but it seems it’s shifting off course.
Without the short format videos, the quick trends, the bite-sized content, and everything else designed to keep people scrolling, will TikTok still manage to reign supreme?