TikTok announced this month that it will update 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 to allow influencers to create more in-depth vlogs, rather than just punchy clips, and not have to send their audience elsewhere for longer content.
How has the industry responded?
The industry-wide consensus on TikTok’s new change has been overwhelmingly negative. Change brings new metrics, new best practices, and a shift in approach, so it’s often greeted with skepticism.
Critics, however, believe that even TikTok’s justification for introducing the update confirms their concerns – they want to give creators the opportunity to produce elongated content, but that detracts from TikTok’s current (very successful) formula.
The key to TikTok’s success so far lies in the way it incentivizes users to repeatedly re-watch videos on the platform. Whether a particular element caught their eye, they missed a particular clip, or something amused them, there’s nothing to lose by re-watching it, given the short duration of the videos.
The snappy videos, from challenges to outfit get ready with me’s (GRWM), encourage users to watch them repeatedly.
The new 10-minute video length limit will make users less likely to rewatch TikTok videos, reducing overall views. Somewhat reluctantly, the industry will have to set new standards again.
Why did TikTok make this change?
TikTok revealed that it has made the maximum length longer to accommodate creators who want to produce more elongated content. On a positive note, this offers more room for different types of creators and different styles of content.
For example, fitness instructors can now do ten-minute full-body workout sessions instead of three-minute quick abs. Or fashion stylists can guide people through a week of outfits instead of a day.
As a result, these makers no longer have to lead their audience elsewhere, such as on YouTube, which they have been doing for some time. As a result, TikTok asserts itself as a direct competitor to YouTube, while offering creators the chance to keep all 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 added feature that avoids the need for YouTube video trailers that redirect TikTok followers to longer-form content.
Is there any workaround to make sure this update is better received by the industry?
Well, one idea Moburst has been looking at is whether TikTok could move its long videos to a dedicated section of the app that is separate from the For You page.
Or the solution could even be as simple as adding a filter so that users can choose the maximum length of videos they want. This would also give creators data on the length of videos that users actually prefer.
With either of these methods, the long videos won’t interrupt the fast-paced nature of the For You page if users don’t want it to. This would be the best way to keep TikTok dynamic, as close as possible to what people currently know and appreciate.
After all, isn’t one of the main reasons people use TikTok (as opposed to any other social media platform) for its short video content?
TikTok is the industry leader in this area, to the point where almost every other platform has tried to copy it, such as Instagram with Reels or YouTube with Shorts. Roles outperform all other Instagram features, suggesting TikTok is going to see a similar pattern.
At the end of the day, you have to trust that this will run successfully as it’s TikTok, and, well, that goes without saying.
However, Moburst can’t help but wonder if TikTok will maintain its top status without sticking to short videos, fast trends, bite-sized content, and anything else aimed at keeping people scrolling?