TikTok has confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s piloting a new feature where users can “share daily highlights that disappear after 24 hours” in certain non-US countries. You can see the promotional videos for Stories here – but it works pretty much as you’d imagine. Participating users can see if TikTokers they follow have posted new stories if a colourful circle appears around their avatars, and then tap to watch the ephemeral #content.
If that sounds similar to other platforms’ Stories functionality, well, it is – albeit on TikTok, users can respond with public comments.
A spokesperson told Variety that TikTok Stories is part of how it is “experimenting with ways to give creators additional formats to bring their creative ideas to life for the TikTok community.”
TikTok Stories is only a test, so it may be quietly dropped in the future, much like Twitter’s Stories-like Fleets feature was this week, but it’s not hard to see it being adopted wholesale into the platform. That would mean that TikTok would offer a whole new way for creators to communicate with their audience, and a brand new hook to snag the consuming users. It may also offer a softer route in for viewers to become creators.
From TikTok’s perspective, more time spent on the app by users or creators is only a good thing, and more videos offers more opportunities to insert ads or introduce ways for users to buy stuff.
In the bigger picture, it means that the short video space is becoming a little homogenous. Instagram’s Reels is very similar to TikTok; and TikTok’s Stories is very similar to Instagram’s Stories, which in turn is a very similar feature to Snapchat’s core functionality. Snapchat, of course, didn’t want to miss out on the action, and launched its equivalent of TikTok’s #ForYou feed, Spotlight, in 2020.
(With TikTok stealing a lot of the attention, it’s worth remembering that Snapchat remains enormously successful, with Q1 revenues of $770m and 280m daily active users.)
Thus TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat now all have, erm, quite similar functionality, and with YouTube Shorts’ recent collaboration with BTS as a signal of intent, it’s clear we’re now living in a Short Video World.
Short video offers one of the fastest and most effective ways for artists to connect with audiences – and now, there seems to be a series of agreed – and cross-platfrom – variety of short video formats in which to do it.