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TikTok Looks to Expand Content Horizons with New, Integrated ‘Stories’ Test

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TikTok Looks to Expand Content Horizons with New, Integrated 'Stories' Test


As TikTok continues its rapid ascent, with the app now on track to reach 1.5 billion users in 2022, it’s also seeking to expand its content horizons, with a view to increased monetization of that collective attention, and providing more capacity for creators to generate revenue from their clips.

Which is where this latest test comes in. As highlighted by social media expert Matt Navarra (via Kev Adriano), TikTok is making a change to its still experimental Stories feature, which would integrate TikTok Stories into the main ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ feeds in the app, as opposed to keeping its Stories element in its own separate space.

As you can see in this image, TikTok’s looking to integrate Stories creation into the main feed, which would essentially make Stories another content option, enabling users to create multi-frame sequences of clips and still images that users would then be able to view in-stream, just like any other clip.

Which is a big shift from how TikTok Stories were initially presented in August last year, with Stories added to a new left of screen sidebar, giving them a dedicated space, but also shifting users out of the main feed experience.

TikTok Stories

This updated format essentially merges Stories presentation into the focal stream, which seems like a much better way to go, as it doesn’t obscure the main screen with an intrusive side bar, while it would also expand Stories viewing, as they’d be included in your regular display, instead of an alternate element.

Users will also be able to view Stories from their connections and users that they don’t follow, adding a new content consideration in the app.

You can see in the below example how the new Stories format looks in-stream, with a blue ‘Story’ marker on the first frame, and an indicator at the bottom of the screen as to how many total frames are in the Story.

Users would then tap on the video to move to the next frame, which could take a moment for TikTok users to re-adjust to, with a new UI merged into the experience. But it could be a good way to maximize user engagement, while as noted, it would also add another way to build on TikTok’s content opportunities, with a view to expanded monetization potential in the app.

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Stories would also be marked as such on user profiles, with a counter as to the total frames in each.

TikTok Stories

It still seems a little clunky, with the presentation looking more like a placeholder in some respects, but the feature is still in early testing, as TikTok works on integrating these new options with a view to an expanded launch some time in future.

If it makes it that far. It’s hard to say whether the format will work within the TikTok experience, or whether it will just annoy users with an alternative process for viewing content. Which is no doubt what TikTok is working to determine right now, and while it does seem like it could take a moment of adjustment, it may well be a good addition, which, as noted, could help TikTok broaden its content offerings in order to provide more opportunities for creators in the app.

TikTok has also expanded the maximum length for TikTok clips several times, while it’s also developing its live-stream commerce tools, providing more ways to reach its growing audience, and keep them engaged beyond the short clips that dominate the main feed. Which is one of the platform’s key focal points – while short clips are clearly the trend of the moment, if TikTok wants to capitalize on its opportunities, it needs to become more than just Vine 2.0.

Essentially, TikTok needs to become a fully-fledged social network, catering to a range of users, with a range of content options. That will ensure that can expand its appeal even further, while also increasing its ad surfaces.

Stories is just the latest experiment, but you can bet that TikTok is also testing a range of other content formats and options as it eyes the next phase of its global expansion.

Worth noting – the Chinese version of TikTok, ‘Douyin’, recently began testing ‘paid short dramas, allowing users to pay for individual episodes of longer, in-stream shows, as part of its own content expansion plans.

Maybe that’ll be TikTok’s next step.





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YouTube Tests Improved Comment Removal Notifications, Updated Video Performance and Hashtag Insights

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YouTube Expands its 'Pre-Publish Checks' Tool to the Mobile App

YouTube’s looking to provide more context on content removals and violations, while it’s also experimenting with a new form of analytics on average video performance benchmarks, along with improved hashtag discovery, which could impact your planning and process.

First off, on policy violations – YouTube’s looking to provide more context on comment removals via an updated system that will link users through to the exact policy that they’ve violated when a comment is removed.

As explained by YouTube’s Conor Kavanagh:

“Many users have told us that they would like to know if and when their comment has been removed for violating one of our Community Guidelines. Additionally, we want to protect creators from a single user’s ability to negatively impact the community via comments, either on a single channel or multiple channels.”

The new comment removal notification aims to address this, by providing more context as to when a comment has been removed for violating the platform’s Community Guidelines.

In expansion of this, YouTube will also put some users into timeout if they keep breaking the rules. Literally:

If someone leaves multiple abusive comments, they may receive a temporary timeout which will block the ability to comment for up to 24 hours.”

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YouTube says that this will hopefully reduce the amount of abusive comments across the platform, while also adding more transparency to the process, in order to help people understand how they’ve broken the rules, which could also help to guide future behavior.

On a similar note, YouTube’s also expanding its test of timestamps in Community Guidelines policy violation notifications for publishers, which provide more specific details on when a violation has occurred in video clips.

Initially only available for violations of its ‘Harmful and Dangerous’ policy, YouTube’s now expanding these notifiers to violations related to ‘Child Safety’, ‘Suicide and Self-Harm’, and ‘Violent or Graphic’.

If you’re in the experiment, you’ll see these timestamps in YouTube Studio as well as over email if we believe a violation has occurred. We hope these timestamps are useful in understanding why your video violated our policies and we hope to expand to more policies over time.”

On another front, YouTube’s also testing a new analytics card in YouTube Studio which will show creators the typical amount of views they get on different formats, including VODs, Shorts, and live streams.

YouTube average video performance

As you can see in this example, the new data card will provide insight into the average amount of views you see in each format, based on your the last 10 uploads in each, which could provide more comparative context on performance.

Finally, YouTube’s also launched a test that aims to showcase more relevant hashtags on video clips.

“We’re launching an experiment to elevate the hashtags on a video’s watch page that we’ve found viewers are interested in, instead of just the first few added to the video’s description. Hashtags are still chosen by creators themselves – nothing is changing there – the goal of the experiment is simply to drive more engagement with hashtags while connecting viewers with content they will likely enjoy.”

So YouTube will be looking to highlight more relevant hashtags in video clips, as a means to better connect users to more video clips on the same topic.

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Which could put more emphasis on hashtag use – so it could be time to upgrade your hashtag research approach in line with the latest trending topics.

All of these updates are fairly minor, but they could impact your YouTube approach, and it’s worth considering the potential impacts in your process.

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