TikTok is Testing ‘TikTok Stories’ as it Looks to Expand Creative Options in the App

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Instagram has them, as does Facebook, as well as YouTube, LinkedIn and Snapchat, while Twitter just got rid of their version.

So why wouldn’t TikTok also try its hand at the Stories format as well?

As shared by social media expert Matt Navarra, the platform is doing exactly that, with a test of TikTok Stories now underway.

TikTok Stories

As you can see here, as with other Stories options, TikTok Stories will disappear after 24 hours, and would be displayed in a collapsible left-hand side panel in the main feed of the app. Users would then be able to tap into Stories from people and profiles that they follow, and tap through the Stories frames, indicated by the gray bars along the bottom of the Story display.

TikTok Stories

TikTok Stories will come with a dedicated camera and creation flow, which, again, will appear at the left of the main screen, making it easy to both find and create Stories, which can then be shared in the app.

Which seems a bit strange, right? I mean, the left-hand display obscures the main video screen, which seems like a less than ideal UI, while it also feels like TikTok, with its focus on short videos already, doesn’t really need its own Stories option. Right?

Well, yes and no. Right now, TikTok is on the cusp of the next stage of growth, with the platform continuing to add more users, and analysts estimating that it will become the next billion-user social app by the end of this year. That would put it on par with Instagram, and make it one of the big five apps in the space (along with Facebook, YouTube, IG and WhatsApp).

Which is amazing, especially considering the way Facebook has been able to dominate the space for so long. But a limitation of TikTok’s growth capacity, right now, is effective monetization, and providing a clear pathway for its top stars to generate maximum dollars from their uploads in the app.

Short video provides fewer monetization opportunities, because you can’t squeeze in pre or mid-roll ads like you can on Facebook and YouTube. There are also fewer spaces for effective ad placement within the main TikTok feed, other than inserting promotions between user clips, which limits TikTok’s revenue potential – which is why, at this stage of growth, TikTok is now looking to expand its content horizons with a view to both maximizing engagement and facilitating more ad space.

Last month, TikTok expanded the maximum length for TikTok clips to 3 minutes – up from 60 seconds – while the addition of a Stories tool would also provide more content options, and ad insertion opportunities along with it. TikTok is also still developing its live-stream commerce tools, and other monetization tools for streaming creators, which, in combination, will expand the platform’s revenue opportunities, and make it a more complete offering, beyond its main feed of short, catchy clips.

More options will also provide more capacity for creators to establish their communities, without having to rely on similar engagement surfaces in other apps.

So while it may feel like yet another Stories copycat, and it may seem a little out of place, initially, it actually makes a lot of sense in the broader scheme.

A TikTok spokesperson provided this statement on the Stories test to SMT:

We’re always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience. Currently we’re experimenting with ways to give creators additional formats to bring their creative ideas to life for the TikTok community.”

There’s no word, as yet, as to how big TikTok’s experiment is, nor which users or regions will be able to access it. But again, within TikTok’s broader growth strategy, it does make some sense.

And that could facilitate a whole new range of considerations in your TikTok approach, if, indeed, it does become a full-scale option.

We’ll keep you updated on any progress.





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