With Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Snapchat, all equipped with a Stories feature, TikTok has decided to try their hand at the Stories format as well.
In fact, social media expert Matt Navarra recently shared a few images showing that TikTok has actually begun testing TikTok Stories.
As can be seen above, similar to Stories options available on other platforms, TikTok Stories disappear after 24 hours and are displayed within a collapsible panel on the left side of the app’s main feed. Upon expanding the panel, users will be able to access a number of different Stories from accounts and profiles that they follow. They can then tap through the Stories frame, with gray bars along the bottom of the display showing the duration and number of Stories.
The new TikTok Stories feature will be accompanied with a dedicated camera and editing feature. The dedicated camera and editing tabs will be accessible through the expandable left hand panel, making it easy for users to both view, create, and share Stories.
Some people might find both the location and the general premise of the new Stories feature strange, especially as the left-hand panel tends to obstruct the main screen. Moreover, as TikTok already greatly focuses on short videos, some might find the Stories feature unnecessary.
Well, contrary to what some may think, the introduction of the new Stories feature may greatly contribute to the crazy growth of the app. Analysts have estimated that the app may become the next billion-user social app by the end of this year. Through the introduction of the new Stories feature, TikTok would gain the opportunity to compete and possibly become on par with other large social media apps in more domains than just short videos.
Managing to compete with long time large social media apps is an amazing feat in itself, especially due to the fact that Facebook has been the top social media app for so long. However, despite its amazing growth rate, the app’s potential is currently limited by effective user monetization, and does not currently provide clear paths for top creators to earn a maximum profit.
Due to the nature of the app revolving around shorter videos, there are not many monetization opportunities available, and ads cannot be easily placed in between videos, such as on Facebook and YouTube. Aside from inserting ads in between TikTok clips, the app currently doesn't have much to work with. As such, with the introduction of new features such as Stories, TikTok is looking to create more ad spaces while at the same time maximizing growth and engagement.
In order to provide more content options and possibly ad insertion opportunities, TikTok expanded the maximum length of TikTok clips to 3 minutes, from a previous 60 seconds. Moreover, in order to generate more content creation opportunities, TikTok has been developing its live-streaming commerce tools, which could possibly allow the platform to expand its revenue opportunities as well as monetization tools for its creators.
With the growing amount of content types TikTok is offering, creators are slowly gaining the ability to create and establish their own communities solely on TikTok. This would get rid of the need for TikTok creators to constantly manage other social media accounts in order to engage with their followers.
As such, while the new TikTok Stories may seem quite out of place and far too much like a copycat, the introduction of the new feature makes quite a lot of sense when you look at the big picture.
According to a TikTok spokesperson:
"We're always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience. Currently we're experimenting with ways to give creators additional formats to bring their creative ideas to life for the TikTok community."
So while we currently don’t know much about the TikTok Stories tests and experiments, we are slowly understanding just how much potential the new feature has.