TikTok will enable users to create videos up to three minutes in length, or triple its current maximum 60-second format.
“Over the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out the option to create longer videos to everyone on TikTok, giving our global community the flexibility to film, upload, and edit videos up to three minutes in length directly within TikTok,” product manager Drew Kirchhoff announced Thursday on the company’s blog. “Once ready, you'll get a notification that longer videos are now part of your creative toolbox.”
“Creators are already well-versed in weaving multi-part stories together on TikTok (we all know the phrase, 'like and follow for part 3'), but we often hear from creators that they'd love just a little more time to bring their cooking demos, elaborate beauty tutorials, educational lesson plans, and comedic sketches to life with TikTok’s creative tools,” Kirchoff wrote. “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.”
The longer option is also good for advertisers, giving them more time to convey their messages and in theory, more time to engage consumers.
“The longer the video, the more time people are on the page,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst of Bend, Ore.-based advisory services firm Enderle Group, noted to the Los Angeles Times.
TikTok, originally famed for a distinctive 15-second format, has for some time now been testing the three-minute format by having creators around the world experiment with it.
TikTok’s announcement came just hours after Facebook’s Instagram announced that it will begin showing full-screen recommended videos in users’ feeds, acknowledging that the move is designed to enable the photo-sharing app to better compete with TikTok and YouTube.
In the pitched battle for video creators and advertisers, competitors have also tried to lure creators and advertisers away from TikTok with short-form video formats: Instagram with Reels, and YouTube with Shorts. Now, TikTok hopes to turn the tables by competing in the longer-format video area.
Instagram and YouTube did attract some new creators during 2020, when some feared that the Trump administration would succeed in banning TikTok, citing security concerns due to the app’s ownership by Chinese tech giant ByteDance. (WeChat, owned by rival Chinese tech company Tencent, was also under threat.)
But President Joe Biden dropped the ban order, and TikTok seems little the worse for the period of disruption. In documents filed while fighting Trump in court, the company revealed that as of June 2020, it had 700 million monthly active users globally, including more than 100 million in the U.S.
ByteDance, meanwhile, now claims more than 1.9 billion monthly active users globally across its platforms, and reportedly saw its total revenues leap by 111%, to $34.3 billion and its gross annual profit jump 93%, to $19 billion, last year.