TikTok has certainly set the pace within the social space, with its focus on short-form video content. The platform very quickly emerged as a threat to the social giant’s Meta, and Alphabet, which is why the two mega-companies have invested a lot of time in repurposing TikTok’s groundbreaking formats to suit their own platforms. Instagram now has Reels, YouTube followed that by developing the aptly-named ‘Shorts’.
How the tables have turned? TikTok has put its foot down after declaring its intention to pursue longer video content, with the platform now increasing video duration to 10 minutes.
Why Has TikTok Increased Videos To 10 Minutes?
Need some evidence to support TikTok’s intention of dominating the social media landscape? Look no further than their latest update, an update that puts YouTube’s head in the proverbial vice, might I add.
TikTok has increased its content duration from three minutes to 10, which shows the platform’s intent to invest in longer-from content.
Why, I hear you ask? Well aside from the desire to achieve world domination, TikTok has formed its decision based on the attitudes of consumers.
As stated by the Global Web Index (GWI) “While short-form video content is the preference, longer videos have their place. Short clips are often associated with Gen Z, but the gap between the two types is greatest in Western markets and among baby boomers. This derives from the younger generations’ appetite for how-to videos and vlogs.”
Live content on TikTok has also proved to be a provocative format that has seen great success on the platform, highlighting that thirst for longer content among a widespread audience.
What opportunity does this present for brands? This new increase in video duration will help repurpose content from other instances, this could mean that those with YouTube content or video podcasts could tailor the same content to fit within the refinements of the new 10-minute video format.
Longer videos will essentially allow TikTok to lock horns with YouTube, as the two giants battle it out to achieve long-form video content supremacy. This would perhaps provide an opportunity for TikTok to optimize their creator monetisation process, a feature that has faced scrutiny from its creators recently. With the TikTok Creator Fund seemingly growing more ineffective as more users enter the frame, an improved monetisation process would certainly send a shockwave of relief to all on the platform.
The extension of video content will also enable brands and influencers to create integrated content rather than dedicated content. Brands will be able to enlist a creator to speak about their product or service during the opening stages of a video like is seen across a large portion of YouTube content. This will help to facilitate more brand deals on TikTok, with ads being delivered with less or without any interruption to content.
The update could maximize overall engagement, and overall time spent on the app, helping to maintain and grow the platform’s already insatiable monthly active user base. But, could this be a double-edged sword? A switch to longer content may pose a threat to the way TikTok collects data on its users’ watching habits, which is the essence of how the platform customizes its algorithms to attract users.
As TikTok expands to promote longer video content, its competitors have done the exact opposite. Instagram launched short-form videos in the form of Reels, YouTube has Shorts, and Snapchat offers what it likes to call Spotlight.
TikTok is No Stranger to Enriching the User Experience
To keep things fresh, and push boundaries further, TikTok knows it needs to keep adapting its features to set new trends within the social space – or at least to keep ahead of Instagram before it decides to steal another feature.
In 2021, Instagram introduced an abundance of new features that, while they claimed to be new, were first implemented on TikTok. First, it was Reels – Instagram’s vertical swipe short video function. Then it was Reels Remix, Superbeat and ‘Add Yours’ Stickers, all of which were tools to enable new ways to create engaging content. Text-to-speech effects were also added to Instagram, along with auto-sync for music, and Reels replies in the comments that enabled users to submit video replies to a piece of content.
Although TikTok has had a lot of its concepts repackaged and repurposed, the platform doesn’t get off the hook that easily. There are a number of elements on TikTok that have taken inspiration from the features of another social platform or its failures.
The Transparency Centre
TikTok’s transparency center will be the home of all of its transparency reports, making it easier to access historical trends in one single place. As the platform grows and evolves, its encouragement of transparency will continue to help to build on the relationship it has with users and brands. TikTok is learning from other older platforms that have often been obtuse or secretive about why content has been pulled down.
TikTok offers multiple types of advertising opportunities, which makes it one of, if not the most versatile social platform for running ads. From in-feed ads to overlays, as well as takeover ads and influencer placements. That variety, and their integration into the content, is done so in a way that’s less interruptive than traditional ads, seeming to enhance their appeal to users.
Compare this to the sheer resentment we have toward the 15-20 second unskippable ads on YouTube that force us to report them as irrelevant, repetitive or inappropriate in order to escape the torment.
Live Stream Introductions
It is commonplace to be scrolling through TikTok and to be suddenly dunked into a random live stream without forewarning or context. This feature will let users add a description to welcome new viewers as they come across the broadcast, whether it be a welcome message or instructions for the broadcast. This offers a way for creators to explain the nature of their live stream, increase engagement and boost overall time spent on the platform.
It’s worth noting that TikTok’s development of live stream capabilities stems from its Chinese counterpart, Douyin. Live e-commerce has swept across the Chinese social landscape in recent years, so much so that recent predictions have projected live e-commerce to occupy up to 20% of China’s total e-commerce sales. It is apparent that Western markets are hearing the music with this latest development.
What This Update Means For TikTok
The platform’s endeavor into longer video content will only bring good fortune for a number of reasons.
Firstly, this move is directly in relation to the intention to compete with YouTube, and in doing so there is an opportunity for TikTok to adopt YouTube’s advertising techniques and repurpose them in a fashion that adheres to the authenticity of TikTok’s traditional ad placements.
Secondly, the new wave of content creation is bound to bring forward fresh creator monetisation opportunities, which is something that has proved quite difficult for TikTok in recent months.
Finally, brands now have further incentive to market on TikTok, if not through original content, they have the ability to repurpose the content created on other platforms, and given the resources available on TikTok’s ad center, there are countless ways to revitalize a piece of content that transitioned from platform to platform.
10-minute video content is yet another weapon in TikTok’s arsenal that will help them combat the likes of Instagram, Facebook and YouTube throughout 2022 and beyond.