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TikTok announced that it will launch the option to create videos up to 3 minutes in length after first testing the change with a larger number of creators over the past few months. Previously, TikTok videos could be up to 60 seconds long, after initially expanding from 15-second clips. This 60-second video format has since been copied by new TikTok competitors, such as Snapchat Spotlight and YouTube Shorts.

According to TikTok, the company decided to expand the maximum length of its video based on feedback it heard from its community of creators. For some types of content, creators wanted more time and flexibility when filming, such as when filming cooking demonstrations, beauty tutorials, educational content and comedic sketches, for example.

“With longer videos, creators will have the canvas to create new or expanded content types on TikTok, with the flexibility of a little more space,” explained TikTok product manager Drew Kirchhoff in the company’s announcement.

Prior to the expansion to 3 minutes, many creators had overcome TikTok’s limitations by encouraging viewers to “Like and Follow” part 2 (or 3, or 4 …) of their video series. That may have worked to gain additional followers, but it became frustrating for viewers who didn’t want to scroll through the creators’ other videos just to find the rest of the content they were originally interested in. It also made it clear how many TikTok creators had to find a solution to an artificial limitation that didn’t have to exist.

This change in video length could make TikTok even more of a competitor to YouTube, who cared enough to launch its own rival directly in its app, YouTube Shorts. But TikTok understands that the advantage of its platform isn’t how short the videos are, it’s the combination of features it offers, including its extensive library of special effects, AR tools, music catalog and thoughtful dialogue between creators through specialized tools like duets.

Other rivals are also noticing TikTok’s threat. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the Facebook-owned app historically associated with photo sharing would soon begin experimenting with making short, entertaining videos a more central part of the Instagram experience. He promised that Instagram would test new ways to better embrace video, including “full-screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-friendly video.”

“Let’s be honest, there’s some really serious competition right now. TikTok is huge. YouTube is even bigger,” he noted.

TikTok had begun testing 3-minute videos late last year. The company says the option to shoot longer videos will be rolled out to global users in the coming weeks. Users will be notified when they receive the update.


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