TikTok is embracing longer videos. The company announced this morning it will roll out the option to create videos of up to 3 minutes in length after first testing the change with a larger number of creators over the past several months. Previously, TikTok videos could be up to 60 seconds in length, after initially expanding from 15-second clips. This 60-second video format had since been copied by newer TikTok competitors, like Snapchat Spotlight and YouTube Shorts.
According to TikTok, the company decided to expand its max video length based on feedback it heard from its creator community. For some kinds of content, creators wanted more time and flexibility when filming — like when they were filming cooking demos, beauty tutorials, educational content, and comedic sketches, for example.
“With longer videos, creators will have the canvas to create new or expanded types of content on TikTok, with the flexibility of a bit more space,” explained TikTok Product Manager Drew Kirchhoff, in the company’s announcement.
Before the expansion to 3 minutes, many creators had worked around TikTok’s limitations by encouraging viewers to “like and follow” them for part 2 (or 3, or 4…) of their video series. That may have worked to gain some additional followers, but it became frustrating to viewers who didn’t want to scroll through the creators’ other videos just to find the rest of the video content they had originally been interested in. It also made it clear how many TikTok creators were having to find a solution to an artificial limitation that didn’t need to exist.
This change to video length could make TikTok even more of a competitor to YouTube, which has been worried enough about TikTok’s growth to launch its own TikTok rival directly in its own app, YouTube Shorts. But TikTok understands its platform advantage isn’t how short the videos are, it’s the combination of features it offers — including its extensive library of special effects, AR tools, music catalog, and the dialog created among creators by way of specialized tools like stitches and duets.
Other rivals are also taking notice of the TikTok threat.
Just yesterday, Instagram Head Adam Mosseri said the Facebook-owned app historically associated with photo-sharing would soon begin experimenting with making short, entertaining videos a more central part of the Instagram experience. He promised Instagram would test out with new ways to better embrace video, including “fullscreen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video.”
“Let’s be honest, there’s some really serious competition right now. TikTok is huge. YouTube is even bigger,” he noted.
TikTok had first begun tests of 3 minutes videos late last year. The company says the option to film longer videos will roll out to global users over the weeks ahead. Users will be notified when they receive the update.