tiktok is it still a short-form video platform? It seems less and less, after the company announced today that it will extend the maximum duration of uploads to 10 minutes.
TikTok has been testing increasingly longer uploads for years, most recently introducing three-minute videos last July, but this latest update is the biggest increase yet and is now rolling out globally.
“We are always thinking of new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,” a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to The Verge.
“Last year, we introduced longer videos, giving our community more time to create and be entertained on TikTok. Today, we’re excited to start rolling out the ability to upload videos of up to 10 minutes, which we hope will unlock even more creative possibilities for our creators around the world.”
Some users received the news as an in-app notification, as social media consultant and analyst Matt Navarra shared on Twitter.
Although TikTok’s meteoric rise to popularity was built on an endless stream of short videos designed to grab users’ attention, the company has been pushing longer content for a while now.
Longer videos allow TikTok to better compete with Youtube (which leans heavily towards long content), as well as capturing a larger audience and increasing overall engagement time on the app.
At the same time, a switch to longer content can hurt the company by limiting the amount of data it can collect about users’ viewing habits, which is what allows it to customize the algorithms it uses to engage users on first place.
In other words: getting the content length right is something of a balancing act.
TikTok stands out from its rivals
Ironically, as TikTok expands to offer creators and users more extensive content, its rivals, spurred by the success of TikTok, have done the opposite.
Instagram released short-form videos in the form of Reels, Youtube has the aptly named Shorts and Snapchat offers what it calls Spotlight. All of these companies are trying to get the formula right.
Speaking to The Verge, Navarra says that longer-form content is, in general, “easier to monetize and keeps people on the platform longer.” But he says TikTok will now need to figure out exactly how to position and feature these videos on its platform.
“They could use a dedicated home for longer-form content, as [no] it fits so well in vertical feeding with shorter stuff that people are used to swiping through,” he said.
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