Social & Influencers

10-minute TikToks: Social media managers react

Marketers share if—and how—they’ll approach the longer videos.
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Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: TikTok

· 4 min read

Attention span–shrinkage accusations, be gone: TikTok is rolling out 10-minute videos, and creators have all kinds of feelings about it.

For marketers, Rare Beauty CMO Katie Welch may have summed up the double-edged sword of these Long Bois™ best, saying that 10-minute TikToks could become a great way to educate an audience, as well as an exciting challenge, but…

“It’s not that simple to create a 10-minute story and hold their attention,” Welch told Marketing Brew over email. “It all comes down to the strategy and creative—it’s got to be good.”

*Gulp.* High stakes, no? We talked to three social media managers—you know, the people who will actually be on the ground creating these epic-length ’Toks—about their game plans for the update.

Hands off

Samantha Boures, who manages media and influencer marketing at Book of the Month, told us that she’s taking a hands-off approach to the longer option, letting the influencers she works with guide her strategy instead.

“We really like to allow our partners to be as creative as they’d like in their integrations,” Boures explained via email. “So it is up to our partners if they would like to take advantage of the 10-minute update.”

Zaria Parvez, social media manager for language learning app Duolingo, isn’t pressing the gas too hard on long TikToks just yet either, saying she’s also looking to influencers for inspo. “Personally, I see this feature being adopted by influencers and vloggers, but that’s not to say brands won’t follow suit,” she told us over email.

While Parvez told us that Duolingo doesn’t have plans to post long-form content in the immediate future, she said she’ll monitor how longer videos perform on the platform and keep an open mind, noting that the brand has always taken a “test and learn” approach to TikTok.

Natalie Held, a freelance social media manager, also told us she’s interested in how influencers lead the way on this update. “For influencers, I think this will challenge some of them into thinking outside the box and figure out how their niche can make the best use of this new time limit,” Held wrote over email.

Zoom out

Overall, the managers we spoke with think the extended length is a good move for TikTok from a business standpoint. According to Held, longer videos position TikTok as more of a direct YouTube competitor. (YouTube rolled out Shorts, its TikTok competitor, in 2020.)

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“We’ve seen TikTok become a real leader in video content, especially after Instagram and Facebook created Reels,” she continued. Held said she’s interested in seeing Instagram’s reaction this time around.

“Overall, I think 10-minute TikToks are a good move for the long-term success of the platform,” Parvez shared, telling us the format option is “definitely a huge indicator that TikTok is trying to overtake YouTube” and become a “one-stop shop for all video content.”

But they’re curious to see how long videos affect content on the platform as a whole. “I’m interested to see how the dynamic of content creation changes on TikTok,” Held said, suggesting that the next era of TikTok could include more documentary, vlog-style, or long-form, storytelling.

“Right now, the first couple seconds of TikToks are crucial to captivating the viewer, so as a SMM, I’m interested in how watch time analytics will play out,” Held added.

Parvez told us she thinks long ‘Tok’s success will depend on how the videos are served. “This could be done through a separate content column in the UI where people can expect long-form content. It’s no secret that attention span has decreased and short form is king on the platform,” she said.

Held was arguably the most skeptical of the social media managers we polled about the future of longer TikToks. “While I’m interested and curious about all this, I’m also a bit fearful about platforming misinformation further, especially with what is going on with Russia and Ukraine right now,” she told us.

But Parvez pointed out that people were wary of TikTok’s three-minute video option when it came out, too. “People were initially skeptical of three-minute videos, but now I see myself and other users engaging well with the slightly longer content. People gravitate toward good content, regardless of its length,” she said.

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Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.