When you think of TikTok, what comes to mind? Likely the short, viral bursts of content that spring from their ecosystem of clips. When TikTok’s user base began scaling up significantly in size in 2019, and then even more exponentially when the Coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, it signalled the rise of short-form video as the new major digital content trend. Instagram launched Reels, YouTube launched Shorts, and Snapchat even launched Spotlights - all in an effort to keep up with this new wave of short-form video content dominating the social media landscape. But of course, the medium remained TikTok’s flagship premise.
It’s why a lot of people have been surprised by the latest announcement from TikTok, stating that they’ll be abandoning their three-minute duration limit for posts in favour of a new 10-minute maximum length. After TikTok’s previous video length increase just eight months ago in July 2021, it’s hard to believe the app originally restricted content to a minuscule 15-second limit back when it was still Musical.ly. Many have theorised this move is to do with being able to better monetise content, something backed up by social media consultant and analyst Matt Navarra, who stated that long-form content is indeed “easier to monetise and keeps people on the platform longer”. However, with TikTok’s current model of paying creators - paying out small amounts from the finite pool of the Creator Fund, despite numbers and adviews on the app growing - it leaves us wondering how effective this will be. Could they be considering a new dynamic model of ad placement, allocating ads to each TikTok - similar to YouTube?The good news is, a 10 minute time length does open up an invariably huge scope of opportunities for content creators to get more creative with what they want to make. Longer form lessons, video essays, vlogs and more all become possible to house in-app on TikTok and send out to your existing TikTok audience - for many, this is a far more appealing proposition than trying to push audiences out of the app and onto YouTube, Facebook or Instagram. Of course, it begs the question of whether long-form content is even of use for TikTok creators - when the inherent short-form nature of TikTok’s content is its strength and the core of its popularity, do TikTok creators even have an interest in doing videos longer than 3 minutes? For those that do, YouTube remains the better option for monetisation until TikTok addresses their Creator Fund model.
So, what do you think? Will the new 10 minute maximum on TikTok take off, or will it remain a short-form video destination only?