While no one can deny TikTok’s growth, along with its budding ads business, TikTok still struggles with creator monetization. While earnings on TikTok have improved, it still has a way to go in maximizing revenue generation. So long as monetization remains a concern, TikTok risks losing its top stars to platforms with better earning potential.

If Social Media platforms cannot care for their best talent, then said talent will look for better opportunities. That was what happened to Vine. Vine was the original TikTok, which eventually shut down because it could not effectively monetize creators. Here is the gist: short-form content will always be hard to monetize because of brevity. Longer videos have more opportunities to sneak in pre- and mid-roll ads, thus maximizing earning potential. On that note, it could be good news for the platform that TikTok minute+ watch times are up.

More Than A Minute To Win It

To reiterate, at some point, a platform’s top stars will focus their energy wherever they will make the most money. Right now, YouTube remains the king of monetized video content. While TikTok might be more popular than YouTube, the latter offers more – something the former cannot compete with. That has seen some of the biggest TikTok stars switch to YouTube.

Oh what, oh what is TikTok to do?

The most logical thing for TikTok to do is to funnel its creators towards creating longer clips. Since TikTok minute+ watch times are up, it makes sense for TikTok to further build on this developing trend. As per The Information:

“In late October, TikTok invited dozens of creators to its New York office for a private event aimed at mobilizing them to create more videos at least a minute long. TikTok executives told the creators that by embracing longer videos, they can make more money and have more time to get their messages out.”

That addresses YouTube’s primary advantage over TikTok, with creators earning plenty of revenue from ad shares. If you think about it, there is little room to squeeze in any ad in a 30-second clip. Now, TikTok is trying to reshape user behaviors, further aligning them around longer-form content. TikTok seems to finally be building out its ad options. Regardless if that is what users want, conceptually, it might help TikTok get a more competitive footing.

“TikTok told creators that users are now spending half their time on the app watching content that’s longer than a minute. And over the past six months, creators who post videos longer than a minute have five times the growth rate in followers of those who post only short videos.”

Maybe TikTok is destined to be a long-form content destination, which is more befitting of its title as an “Entertainment App.” TikTok has already sparked a paradigm shift in that respect, making entertainment more of a key focus for social apps. Over time, it seems that the “social” element in social apps is lost. Meta has since adopted the same, with popular Reels now taking over user Feeds.

The Wrap

TikTok is leading when it comes to algorithmically-defined Feeds. TikTok has the engagement, it just has to expand that to longer clips. It will take time for TikTok to develop more direct options incorporating longer-form elements, but that is the focus moving forward.

While TikTok continues its push with in-stream commerce initiatives, Western audiences remain lukewarm to the idea. As such, this could be a major expansion. Since TikTok minute+ watch times are up, that suggests that the shift is underway. Consider that in your planning as you head into 2024.