Apr 2022 / Blog / Influencer Marketing Strategy

Why TikTok introduced 10-minute videos 

Having established its dominance of the short-video space, TikTok is taking on YouTube with the introduction of 10-minute videos. Kolsquare breaks down the platform’s reasons for the move, and uncovers the marketing opportunities of longer video essays on the Chinese-born platform.

As with any new important social media development, the news broke on Twitter: TikTok had introduced a 10-minute video format for all users. Tech journalist Chris Stokel-Walker tweeted a quote from a TikTok spokesperson on January 28 confirming the move, which TikTok said it hoped “would unleash even more creative possibilities for our creators around the world”.

Owned by China’s ByteDance, TikTok began its short life in 2016 hosting short-form 15-second videos. It last extended the length limit for videos — from one to three minutes — on its platform in July 2021. This latest move to extend the time limit on videos is designed to attract more creators and older users to the platform, while also taking a bite out of YouTube’s staggering $2.8bn ad revenue. 

Why is TikTok introducing longer videos?

Long-format videos enable TikTok to appeal to different cohorts of creators and users. They also encourage users to spend more time in the app and provide greater advertising opportunities. But some commentators argue longer videos are a contradiction of what users have come to expect from TikTok.

TikTok’s move into longer videos should help it unleash new revenue streams and grow its market share. TikTok’s successful ultra-short video sharing format, which was pioneered on Chinese parent platform Douyin in 2016 — has since been copied by its western social media rivals; YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels were launched in 2020.

According to content delivery network Cloudflare, TikTok surpassed Google as the top ranking domain in terms of traffic in 2021.

Longer videos: an opportunity for marketers

According to the 2021 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, most social marketers do not use videos longer than one minute for their campaigns. But content creation and advertising linked to longer videos could be a beneficial macro-trend for marketers. 

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The reason why is found in television-viewing trends; in June 2021, 25% of users watch streaming services such Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu, making the second largest TV category after cable. The onset of the pandemic drove more people to watch more digital video content on demand, a trend which is expected to increase in the coming years.  Some even predict that traditional broadcast and cable television will become obsolete within a few years. By 2023 we will spend 15% of our time awake watching digital video, according to eMarketer.

Social Media: television 2.0

This trend has not gone unnoticed by the major social media platforms. In May 2021, Snapchat created 128 different scripted, unscripted, and documentary series originals targeting Gen Z. Facebook is actively seeking video creators as it aims to spend $1bn creating programs by the end of 2022, while TikTok is also investing $1bn in video creators. That said, YouTube remains the dominant platform for video entertainment, with some 40% of its US ad impressions now happening on TV screens, according to The Information.

Long-form videos are attracting creators, and there is good ROI potential for marketers in collaborating with TikTok creators testing the format. While YouTube remains the leader, and investments in the platform are worthwhile, it’s also worth being amongst the first to advertise on 10-minute TikTok videos. The new algorithm is skewed to display longer videos across the social platform. 

Here’s some tips for scripting your next video: Start with a hook, your most shareable information. Then, give context and an extra layer of value for your followers. Including a Call-to-Action is effective.

Ideas for long-form TikTok videos

Don’t be constrained when choosing the topic for your long-form video. Video essays have been created to entertain fan theories, explore video game stories, take an historical deep dive, or to explain or critique trends. Lindsay Ellis and Natalie Wynn of ContraPoints, and Abigail Thorn of PhilosophyTube are amongst the best-known video essay creators.

 “Video essays are a form that has lent itself particularly well to pop culture because of its analytical nature. […] We are starting to see more creators using video essays to comment on growing trends across social media. They’re serving as sort of real-time internet historians by helping viewers understand not just what is a trend, but the larger cultural context of something,” comments YouTube culture and trends manager Madeline Buxton. 

10-minute videos on TikTok could cover academic or intellectual topics, such as Crash Courses, or comment on cultural and political phenomena. Summarizing important topics in a short, catchy way is an artform that your target audience and ROI will thank you for.

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