TikTok has recently announced that it has drastically expanded the maximum length on videos its users can upload to 10 minutes. This is a massive increase from the increase to three-minute videos it introduced last July. Before this the maximum time for videos was only a measly 60 seconds.
TikTok’s spectacular rise to popularity was heavily motivated by the platforms apparent never-ending stream of short and snappy videos, which caught the attention of users. However, TikTok have been trialing extended video lengths for quite some time, believing it will help bring in an older audience and allow its creators more time to produce top quality content.
In response to TikTok’s rise, many of its competitors actually sought to reduce their maximum video time to match the much shorter TikTok video length. However, now TikTok is taking the opposite route and expanding its maximum video length. So how does TikTok video length compare to its competitors?
YouTube videos tend to be longer in length than TikTok videos. The maximum video length a user can upload depends on whether the user is verified or not. If the user’s YouTube account is verified they can upload a video which is up to 12 hours long. If the account is not verified then they are limited to 15 minute video length. Therefore, verified accounts have much longer video lengths on YouTube compared to the TikTok video length of 10 minutes.
YouTube Shorts was launched in September 2020, reportedly as a response to TikTok’s shorter videos. YouTube shorts can be up to 60 seconds long, which is very short in comparison to the new TikTok video length of 10 minutes.
Instagram Reels, which was also launched in 2020, have a maximum length of 60 seconds, which was also the original maximum TikTok video length.
How will this affect TikToks competition?
TikTok have reportedly made this move to make its platform more attractive to a wider range of audiences. Many see this as an attempt by TikTok to compete better with the traditional format of YouTube, where videos tend to be longer.
However, this comes with its own risks. It could be argued that the longer videos could take away from the unique short videos which attracted people to TikTok in the first place. Also if TikTok do succeed in attracting an older audience, they may face the same problems that other platforms such as Facebook have encountered, that younger people do not necessarily want to use the same platforms that their older family members are using.
If users are spending the same amount of time on TikTok, but watching fewer videos which last longer, they will not be able to capture as much data on users’ watching habits. This data allows TikTok (and other platforms) to use algorithms to attract users to quality content.
Time will tell, if increasing the maximum TikTok video length will strike the right balance between being able to gather data, make the platform user friendly and attractive and attracting a bigger audience.
TikTok offering longer videos