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Playing the long game: is TikTok right to experiment with lengthier videos?

It is often said that, these days, many of us just have too little time on our hands to be able to consume much more than short, snappy content. You even have read the (now debunked) statistic that humans’ attention spans have become even shorter than those of goldfish.

However, none of this has deterred TikTok – the social media giant that made its name with short-form videos – from increasingly toying with letting users post significantly lengthier videos. Is it the right move for the company – and, even if it is, should your own brand prepare to take advantage?

TikTok is letting the clock tick-tock a little longer

Though TikTok videos have traditionally been capped at a minute, it was only last year that the company announced it was raising this limit to three minutes. Furthermore, it looks like TikTok has its eye on extending this maximum length further still.

Reportedly, TikTok has been running extensive beta tests of five-minute videos to various groups of users, with some groups even having sampled 10-minute videos. However, feedback hasn’t been entirely encouraging; almost half of TikTok users in one survey deemed one-minute-plus videos stressful to watch.

These findings have not stopped TikTok moving ahead with longer videos, as the prospect of garnering increased revenue from these is thought to have remained a deciding factor.

“Ultimately, if five-minute videos help TikTok push their average watch time up by even a few seconds, traditional advertisers may feel they have more freedom, and tech is always looking for as much revenue as possible,” Karyn Spencer, who once worked for now-defunct short-form video app Vine, told WIRED.

Could TikTok actually be proved right?

To a certain extent, TikTok’s move towards longer videos looks like a gamble, as the company appears to be betting that it knows better than its own users what kind of length ‘works’ for video on social media.

However, there is evidence that the effectiveness of a social media video can depend much more on the intrinsic quality of its content than its length.

Facebook’s ‘video best practices checklist’, for example, explains: “It’s a myth that only short videos work well on Facebook. In fact, both short and longer videos can resonate, as long as the length makes sense for your content and keeps fans coming back for more.”

According to the site, longer videos – which it defines as those lasting at least a minute – can excel for episodic shows and live streaming. Videos running for under a minute, meanwhile, are better for the likes of ads, announcements and polls – or so Facebook implies.

Should you pivot to producing longer-form videos?

Arguably, the real question shouldn’t be exactly how long your marketing videos are but instead how much value they offer across whatever their running time happens to be. Fortunately, with our SEO marketing expertise, we can help you to deliver exactly that – value – across a wide range of marketing channels while also catching Google’s notice, making it easier for people to find your content in the first place.

Playing the long game: is TikTok right to experiment with lengthier videos?
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