5 Reasons Why TikTok Should Not Allow Longer Videos
TikTok may allow creators to upload longer videos on the app by introducing an extended five-minute video length, thereby potentially giving it a different feel altogether.
But if it does this, the short-form video app which established a firm hold on the social media market by filling the gap left by Vine could just become another social media app with no major differentiator.
Here’s what to know about the reported increase in video lengths and why we think TikTok should stick to its shorter format instead…
TikTok May Extend the Length of Its Videos
TikTok has been packing its app chock full of features to improve the app for creators. And now the ByteDance-owned company is reportedly allowing some users to upload five-minute videos on the app to test a new video time limit. However, this could totally change the feel of the app.
TikTok has already extended the length of its videos before, first by allowing users to upload 60-second videos (up from 15 seconds initially), then expanding TikTok videos to three minutes in July 2021.
The expansion in the time limit allows users to have more creative freedom—but with all things considered, is this a wise idea?
Here’s why we think TikTok shouldn’t extend the length of its videos…
1. Short-Form Videos Are the Magic Behind TikTok’s Success
TikTok owes its success to its uniqueness. Amid a sea of social media apps offering similar features, TikTok found its niche in short-form video content, appealing to a younger generation. This generation responds well to content that quickly grabs their attention and captivates them, all within a few seconds.
TikTok isn’t the first short-form video app to find success through this method. Vine, TikTok’s predecessor, was the first video-sharing app that captivated younger audiences through the same strategy, where users created six-second videos that looped, sort of like GIFs.
TikTok simply repeated the factors that made Vine so successful—with a few changes to the recipe—capturing the market in the same way, and then surpassed Vine’s success.
Perhaps six seconds was too short, so TikTok found the sweet spot for short video content at 15 seconds, which enabled it to surpass Vine’s success.
2. Short-Form Video Content Makes TikTok Competitive
TikTok’s signature short, viral videos and its success among millennials and Generation Z has inspired other companies to enter the fray with TikTok copycats. Instagram, for instance, launched Reels, and YouTube launched YouTube Shorts—both short, TikTok-like videos.
Allowing longer videos would blur the lines between short and long-format video content, and may place TikTok in the same lane as Instagram and YouTube, which already allow for longer content—with YouTube leading the market in this content type.
This could set TikTok back in the creator-generated video market.
3. Our Attention Span Is Even Shorter Than It Was Before
Our attention spans appear to be dwindling as more apps and websites compete for our limited time and attention.
This means that 15-second social media videos worked well—we shared TikTok videos and made them go viral. But will five-minute videos see the same results?
With so many videos already vying for our attention on the app, it is important that videos are kept short to keep us engaged, and that they capture our attention within the first few seconds.
Five-minute videos run the risk of losing your attention before the best part of the video. Considering this, you probably wouldn’t make it to the end of the video.
Since users may not engage with longer TikTok videos the same way, fewer videos could go viral.
4. Optimal Video Length on Social Media Is Up to Three Minutes
When it comes to videos on social media, the age-old saying is true: keep it short and sweet (or simple). The fact that people have such short attention spans makes it all the more important to create videos that will both attract and keep viewers’ attention within a short amount of time.
Vimeo found that the optimal video length is between 15 seconds and three minutes, depending on the platform. For this reason, five minutes would be a stretch.
While a longer video could convey the message or information necessary in the first few seconds, it could end up losing the plot as it continues to play.
5. We May Not Engage With Longer Videos the Same Way
Going viral is synonymous with TikTok. Many users have found social media success from going viral on the platform, even allowing some to become paid influencers due to their high engagement and following.
Five-minute videos run the risk of losing your attention before you get to the best part of the video. TikTok users have figured out how to create engaging, impactful videos using TikTok’s formula—short, punchy videos, coupled with bite-sized audio.
Extending the length of TikTok videos could also pose a major challenge to creators who have mastered this winning strategy, as they would have to spend more time recording and editing their content in an effort to recreate the same success they’ve had on the platform before.
If the formula changes, so does the end result.
TikTok Should Focus on Improving Its App for Creators and Users
With the social media landscape being so competitive, social media apps should prioritize improving their platforms and features to remain competitive.
When an app like TikTok finds a winning formula that sets it apart from its competitors, it should focus on fine-tuning and upgrading its platform, rather than on changing the very strategy through which it has found success.
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September 15, 2021 at 12:20PM