Do TikTok creators even want 10 minute videos?
With all the shapeshifting each platform is going through in an attempt to increase their dominance, it’s getting weird to see them morph into each other. YouTube, for example, recently celebrated 5 trillion views on YouTube Shorts, its take on shorthand content that it introduced in September 2020.
In a statement, TikTok said it was considering new ways to bring value to its users and “enrich the TikTok experience.” But I can’t help but think of Instagram’s doomed IGTV (RIP) experiment, for which the platform courted YouTubers in hopes of succeeding.
The Instagram feature struggled to replicate YouTube numbers. It was not launched with a clear monetization strategy; some users said it interfered with mindless scrolling. Instagram then quietly integrated IGTV with Instagram Video, and the standalone IGTV app is shutting down this month. Instagram then unveiled Reels, allowing users to upload videos up to 60 seconds, and bolstered the feature with the “Reels Play Bonus”, a financial rewards program that pays out money for views.
Creating longer content is no stranger to Austen Tosone, who has been on YouTube since 2017. As a fashion and beauty content creator who teaches other influencers how to optimize their platforms and make them profitable, she sees it as a chance to really put yourself out there on TikTok.
“I think it will be much more seamless for TikTok to embed up to 10 minutes of video content than for YouTube to introduce Shorts just because of the nature of app setup,” Tosone told BuzzFeed. News. “I’m excited about the possibility of having longer content on TikTok because I have an audience there and I just want them to get to know me better.”
But the 27-year-old New Yorker also feels there has to be extra features to make it all worthwhile.
“So my question for TikTok I guess is if I make a 10 minute video and eventually wanted to sell something at the end or offer my consulting services, I can’t link directly in TikTok unless that I don’t say ‘link in bio,” she said. “It’s not clickable, or even just [having] small call to actions like having a “Subscribe” button to appear. »
She thinks that if TikTok wants creators to deliver longer content, the ability to produce such content needs to be easier.
“Please give me access to the desktop edition. Otherwise, trying to do this on my phone feels like such a big ask to make it engaging enough with all the things I would normally do in long content,” Tosone said.
On the other side are creators like Trevor Merchant, who goes by TimeSaver9000 on TikTok. Merchant has no doubt that this extension will appeal to some creators, but he said that even with the ability to make longer videos, creators chose to make TikToks shorter — just shorter.
“We saw when the app started allowing 3-minute videos, users still preferred to use the short video format in many cases,” he told BuzzFeed News. “This could be because creators who are part of the Creators Fund get paid for views and engagement, so they focus on quantity and split their videos. Another factor to consider could be the Algorithm’s focus on watch time.”