TikTok Tick Tock - Is Time Running Out?
We recently wrote about how YouTube is rapidly becoming a search engine in its own right as more people want to consume content in video form. TikTok is a part of that drive towards watchable and engaging content that doesn't require any reading. In particular, TikTok is known for short form content; when the platform launched in 2016 the length was limited to 15 seconds. The video length limit has crept up steadily since then and is now 10 minutes (which is around the same maximum length YouTube specified when it launched 11 years prior to TikTok).
This simple fact shows us that people are using the platform for more than just making amusing or impressive videos, or silly clips to share with friends. With longer videos more information can be imparted, although the average video is 24 to 31 seconds long, according to analysis conducted by WIRED earlier this year. That might not sound like very long, but you would be surprised by the amount of information that can be imparted in that short amount of time.
You may also have noticed that Instagram and Facebook reels are gaining in popularity, and are similarly short in length. This is because TikTok is influencing the video market, pushing for shorter and shorter videos (usually overlaid with a music clip) that engage and surprise or inform without taking up too much time. Of course, this could have a detrimental effect on the attention span of the population, especially the younger generation who can consume 10 TikToks in 5 minutes and still have an appetite for something novel and exciting.
TikTok will become relevant for most businesses in time, but if you have younger, Generation Z customers (or your industry has a lot of younger talent who are TikTok users in their personal and professional lives) then now is the time to get into the short form video platform while it is booming.
TikTok is fast becoming the first place these younger users look for information, including for places to eat, shops to visit and for entertainment. They also use the platform for finding out educational information, from how-to videos to snapshots of product demonstrations, even before and after videos showing how a product works. How to tie a tie, change a plug, boil an egg or even set up a ladder safely are all questions that TikTok will have an answer for. Due to the short content length and the search function the user spends as little time as possible looking and learning, making TikTok a very attractive place to search for information.
If you're not sure whether TikTok is right for you, have a look at the performance of your existing video content. Are people watching the whole video or clicking away after a short time, suggesting that they're only interested in a small part of the content? Are people sharing your content, suggesting that there is a wider audience for those videos? Do people subscribe to your YouTube channel or other social media platforms after consuming your video content, suggesting that they value your output and don't want to miss anything else you create? If you answered yes to any of these questions then TikTok is worth getting involved in now.
If TikTok isn't something you can, or should focus on right now, don't ignore it completely. It will continue to grow in popularity and as with all online platforms, the purpose and audience will change over time. What might be for Generation Z now could be used by everyone within a couple of years so don't miss out on the future of TikTok, time might run out on you.
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