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Is Long-Form Content Making a Comeback?

Before the rise of TikTok and Instagram reels, there were once YouTube videos of 20-30 minutes. And believe it or not, 16-year-old me would sit and watch the entire video, especially if it was a makeup tutorial or a room organization video.

Fast forward to 10 years later, if you ask me to sit and watch a 20-minute video, I might actually not have the patience for it. That's because, for quite some time now, short-form content has taken over social media. Even YouTube (designed for long-form videos) has joined the bandwagon by creating YouTube shorts.

Here’s a Fun Fact: Experts say that because of social media and mobile content, our attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to just 8 seconds!

So, who has the time (or the attention span) to watch a 20-minute video?

So, if everyone’s attention span has dropped, why is TikTok switching to longer videos? Can it really hold our attention with videos longer than a minute when our focus has been declining for the past two decades?

With that being said, the obvious question here is whether or not TikTok made the right move. Let’s talk about it.

Why Did TikTok Pivot To Long-form Content?

We’ve all stayed up at night in bed scrolling through TikTok and thinking ‘Just one more video’ and the next you know it’s 3 am.

That’s the power of short-form content. It leaves you wanting more.

So, why did TikTok take this step?

Well, as I was scrolling my TikTok account last night, I realized something. I stumbled upon a creator’s GRWM video where she talked about her day. As I was watching the 10-minute video, it felt like the creator was having a conversation with me. 

It felt like we were on a Facetime call and she was updating me about her day. That made me watch the video till the end because it was so interesting.

That’s when it hit me! Engagement. That’s why TikTok did it. 

Long-form content allows creators to really connect with their audience. They can share more about themselves and start real conversations. 

Short videos, on the other hand, are good for grabbing attention and getting people to take action, like buying something, but longer ones are better for building trust and loyalty with the audience.

So, even though TikTok's known for quick hits, it's starting to see the value in those longer, heart-to-heart conversations.

Plus, watching longer videos helps the algorithm learn more about your preferences. For instance, if you watch a full 15-minute video on TikTok, the platform recognizes that you're interested in that type of content. 

As a result, it'll show you more similar videos in the future. Smart, right?

How Has The Public Response Been?

Of course, it doesn’t matter what TikTok thinks, at the end of the day, it’s about what the viewers want. 

According to The Drum, Brandwatch's study suggests TikTok's shift to longer videos isn't a hit yet. When people talk about short videos on TikTok, opinions are mixed. But when it comes to longer videos, most of the feedback online is negative. This shows that not everyone is liking the change. 

People might not be into longer videos because they're used to shorter ones and have shorter attention spans. So, TikTok still has work to do to get everyone on board with longer videos.

However, TikTok is trying to make longer videos more engaging by testing out a fullscreen mode that's horizontal in certain regions.

Also, if you’re anything like me and sometimes don’t have the patience to sit through a 30-minute video, then you need to take note of this feature. You can now fast-forward (2x speed) through videos by holding down the right side of the screen. 

As you can see, they're trying to keep everyone happy by giving options for both short and long videos.

Final Words

Looking ahead, it's clear that social media content is changing. Short videos have been ruling platforms like TikTok and Instagram, but now longer videos are making a comeback. 

TikTok's decision to allow longer videos shows they're realizing the value of deeper connections with viewers, even though our attention spans are getting shorter. 

Whether this shift to longer content sticks around or not, only time will tell. But for now, it's an interesting change in the world of social media.


Well, aren’t we glad you asked! We at DigiCom are obsessive data-driven marketers pulling from multi-disciplinary strategies to unlock scale. We buy media across all platforms and placements and provide creative solutions alongside content creation, and conversion rate optimizations. We pride ourselves on your successes and will stop at nothing to help you grow.


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