TikTok content, other than their low budget, quickly cut style, has become synonymous with short videos. When the platform first opened its doors the videos kicked off a wave of 15-second copycats, with both Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts replicating the format to try and bottle some of TikTok’s magic. But as the platform grew and evolved the video duration has changed to match audience needs and demands, and to compete with its larger video platform competitors.
First, to reset. A TikTok video is a video made for the social video network TikTok. TikTok varies from other social networks in that the success of a video does not have to be dependent on the size of a user’s audience. Any video has the potential to rack up millions, if not billions, of views. Videos are played as soon as a user opens the app and the next video in the feed plays immediately, making for a highly addictive user experience. TikTok videos are themed around anything from daily routines to fashion tips and music videos, and it’s no surprise the platform has taken the world by storm.
When TikTok first kicked things off, it became famous for its 15-second videos. Only 15 seconds seemed just enough to tell a joke, share a tip, or show off a skill, and the videos never outstayed their welcome. It created an experience of infinite scrolling through thousands of different flash in the pan videos that were short enough not to be boring but long enough to gain some of its creators dedicated followings.
In July 2021, the duration was extended to three minutes. This gave users an opportunity to experiment more with their content, diving deeper into content and telling immersive, engaging stories. But as of February 2022, TikTok has experimented with extending that to 10 minutes. The platform will say the change is due to audience demand, unlocking more creative opportunities for its users. But it also makes it a serious competitor of YouTube, which until now had cornered the mid-form video content market.
None of these changes mean your TikTok has to be as long as possible. Whether the video content you are creating is 5 seconds long or 10 minutes long, it all comes down to what you are trying to achieve and the story you are trying to tell. If you have a single, sharp joke to tell, stick to a short video. If you want to make a short documentary about how climate change is affecting your neighborhood, fill out the full 10 minutes. Most TikToks do best when they jump in, make a point, and jump out again.
Just don’t make a long video for the sake of it. Get familiar with the style of TikTok videos first, as audiences have come to expect a certain type of video and will be put off if they come across something which they would usually expect to find on YouTube. Make it genuine, make it engaging, and make it exactly the duration that it needs to be.
TikTok is evolving rapidly. What once was a social video platform for strict 15-second videos is now experimenting with mid-form 10-minute videos. Whatever story you have to tell, whether it’s sharing the latest thrift shop hauls or your tips on how to save money, don’t feel like you need to stick to any particular duration. Do what feels right for the story, but don’t waffle. Embrace this powerful platform and start editing with a tool like Pinnacle Studio to create your TikTok videos.