TikTok is now testing a new feature, letting some users change their view to show a horizontal full-screen view of their chosen videos. This offers a change from the usual vertical video scrolling usually seen on TikTok.
Combined with another recent change to allow longer videos of up to ten minutes, this very much feels like an attempt on TikTok’s part to draw in users and creators from YouTube.
More formats to promote content
With longer-length videos available, creators and marketers can now create useful longer form videos, such as how-to videos and tutorials, product tours, and more, without rushing or feeling that they’re running out of time.
Add a new horizontal full-screen view to the mix, and marketers can include even more in their videos at a wider angle, without worrying that their audience won’t be able to see everything. Though it is still important to bear in mind that whatever you want your audience to really focus on should still be fully visible in the vertical view.
You still need to capture attention in the vertical view before any viewers will click to switch to the full-screen, horizontal view. And you don’t want to leave behind any users that prefer to stick with the original vertical view.
It’s simple to switch from the original vertical view to the new full-screen, horizontal view with the click of a single button. This offers a clear benefit to users who can now see their videos in greater detail with a larger, wider view.
However, given that TikTok built its audience on offering only vertical video scrolling, the question is: “what will TikTok’s current users make of the new feature?” Will TikTok find during its testing phase that users prefer to keep the original view that they expect from the platform?
Opportunity for brands?
Another interesting point to consider with the new full-screen view is that currently, creators and marketers have to create videos in two different formats if they want to upload them to both TikTok and YouTube. What isn’t clear is if creators can now simply use the same format for both platforms. If they can, that could be a game-changer for marketers, allowing far quicker creation and upload of content to both platforms, without the added step of creating two formats.
No doubt marketers will welcome the opportunity to create content more quickly and to reach two platforms without the extra effort. However, it remains to be seen whether that is actually the case.
Looking at the wider picture of social media, it’s clear that every social platform is keeping a close eye on the competition. When one innovates, another follows, and soon many platforms have a new, similar feature.
You can see this in Instagram’s introduction of Candid Stories to challenge BeReal and in their use of Reels to keep up with TikTok. YouTube has its own version of quick TikTok-like videos, with its introduction of Shorts. And it’s highly likely that what’s on Instagram today will be introduced on Facebook tomorrow, as long as any testing is successful.
TikTok also looks to be taking a swing at YouTube with these longer videos and the new view feature, just as they’ve already done to BeReal, with their introduction of TikTok Now.
Some questions remain
I really could go on with more examples, but obvious questions arise from all this: If all the social media platforms keep integrating features that were previously innovated by the competition, will we still be able to distinguish between platforms? Will there still be a clear and obvious benefit to using one platform over another? And will there be only one clear overall winner?
Either way, one thing is certain: TikTok’s future is currently bright and it certainly seems to be the one to watch right now for new features and innovations.
It’s still far too early to say whether TikTok will keep the new horizontal full-screen feature and roll it out to everyone on their platform. And so far, there’s been no mention of whether creators can upload to YouTube and TikTok with one single format video. So, for marketers, at least for now, it’s very much a waiting game.
However, given the number of people using TikTok and getting a great deal of use from features such as search and an Instagram-like Photo Mode, marketers very much need to keep an eye on this platform and where it is going.
Add in the addition of TikTok shops and other developments and this platform really could increasingly be the place to be and to be seen.
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