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In the music industry, many of us still think of TikTok as an app for 15-second video clips. It’s useful, then, to remind ourselves that the maximum length of videos was actually 60 seconds for a long time, before being increased to three minutes in July 2021. Soon, it may be growing again.

Wired reports on TikTok’s internal dilemma over video lengths, balancing its own research suggesting that nearly half of its users found videos longer than one minute “stressful” with the knowledge that longer videos could boost its advertising revenues. Judging by the report, the latter is winning out.

“The app has conducted widespread testing of five-minute-long videos between August 2021 and February 2022, and has even tried 10-minute videos among a small group of beta testers,” explained Wired. If these tests are carried through into the main app, there are plenty of implications.

It would make TikTok even more of a competitor to YouTube’s core service – interesting in the light of the former’s recent interest in putting its app on TVs – and it could be helpful in making TikTok a slightly less jarring experience for the older users that the company is hoping to continue luring away from other services.

And of course, it could juice those advertising revenues. A report by Chinese news site LatePost in January suggested that TikTok made nearly $4bn from ads in 2021, but is hoping to triple that to at least $12bn in 2022. Hiring “thousands” of sales staff is part of that strategy, but creating more opportunities for ads is clearly important too.

There’s a calculated risk here, though. There’s always something cooler lurking round the corner in social media. Facebook was cooler than MySpace; but then Snapchat and Instagram were cooler than Facebook; and in recent times, TikTok has had a claim on being cooler than Snapchat and Instagram.

MySpace aside, none of those services have yet been killed by the cooler kid on the block. TikTok will nevertheless be keenly aware that it too will one day face a younger, cooler disrupter. Missteps in its strategy for revenue growth could hasten that day, but so could standing still and failing to evolve. If its short videos do get longer, we’ll find out fairly quickly whether it’s a smart move.

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