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  • Meerelle Cruz

TikTok is Experimenting with Even Longer Video Uploads as it Seeks to Grow its User Base

TikTok is seeking new use cases and strategies to leverage its fast-growing footprint as it continues to attract more users and expand its business services. This has been evidenced by a new TikTok Stories test, the addition of a dedicated Resumes option for job seekers, and reports of group messaging aspects on the way, among other things.

And now, TikTok is experimenting with another possible platform extension, with some users noticing a new notification in the app. According to social media specialist Matt Navarra, TikTok is now allowing some users to upload videos up to 5 minutes long, which might lead to a significant shift in platform usage.

TikTok has already increased its video length limit several times, allowing users to submit 60-second clips (up from 15-second clips previously) and then increasing it to three minutes in July of this year. Longer duration limits allow for greater creative freedom and allow TikTok to insert more ad spots, which would be further increased by providing users access to 5-minute clips, a significant boost to the company's growth plans.

It would also place TikTok on a more even playing field with video competitors such as YouTube and Facebook. TikTok is known for being the home of short-form video, which it currently dominates, but allowing longer-form uploads would broaden the app's appeal, potentially reducing the incentive for its creative talent to migrate to other apps, as TikTok would be able to offer comparable revenue, creative, and reach potential. It makes sense for TikTok to at least try out longer uploads on the app and see what users think.

Will long-form video be welcomed in the TikTok stream, or is the app's main draw solely based on its short, crisp clips? People can already watch longer live streams on the app, and TikTok's streams may have had such a positive response that expanding its upload capabilities is a logical next step.

Users with substantial fan bases on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, have been able to upload 15-minute long videos since 2019, indicating that TikTok is familiar with long-form content and its potential in the platform. Perhaps TikTok has already devised a strategy for the gradual rollout of longer-form possibilities - and it has already tested with even longer films in TikTok, with certain users allowed to post 10-minute clips.

TikTok's product development always appears to be so fast, thanks to the advantage of having Douyin as a test pool, which has over 600 million users in China, but if you want to know where it's going, it's likely already rolled out most of its upcoming features in Douyin first, and it's likely already tested each for years before the fact.

While this may appear to be a drastic step, and it would be a significant change in method and usage, TikTok is likely already aware of the expected user reaction and has assessed the merits before taking this next step.

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