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


Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Snapchat have them, and Twitter just got rid of its version.

So why shouldn’t TikTok try its hand at the TikTok Stories format, too?

According to social media expert Matt Navarra, the platform is doing just that: TikTok Stories is currently being tested.

TikTok Stories

As you can see here, like other Stories variants, TikTok Stories will disappear after 24 hours and appear as a collapsible left sidebar in the app’s main feed. Users will then be able to view the stories of the people and profiles they follow and flip through the story frames indicated by the gray bars at the bottom of the story screen.

TikTok Stories

TikTok Stories will come with a dedicated camera and creation stream, which, again, will appear on the left side of the home screen, making it easier to find and create stories to share in the app.

Which seems a little odd, right? I mean, the left display obscures the main video screen, which seems like a less than ideal user interface, and it also seems like TikTok, with its emphasis on short videos, doesn’t really need its own Stories option. Right?

Yes and no. Now TikTok is on the cusp of its next phase of growth: the platform continues to grow in user numbers, and analysts believe it will become the next social app with a billion users by the end of this year. This will put it on par with Instagram and make it one of the top five apps in the field (along with Facebook, YouTube, IG and WhatsApp).

This is surprising, especially considering how Facebook has managed to dominate this space for so long. But the limitation to TikTok’s growth opportunities at the moment is effective monetization and providing a clear path for top stars to generate maximum dollars from their in-app downloads.

Short videos offer fewer opportunities for monetization because you can’t squeeze ads in before or in the middle of the video like you can on Facebook and YouTube. In addition, there’s less room in TikTok’s main feed for effective ad placement other than inserting ads between user clips, which limits TikTok’s revenue potential – which is why at this stage of growth, TikTok is looking to expand its content horizons to increase engagement and ad space.

Last month, TikTok increased the maximum length of TikTok clips to 3 minutes – from 60 seconds – and the addition of the Stories tool will also provide more content options, and with it, the ability to insert ads. TikTok is also continuing to develop live commerce tools and other monetization tools for stream creators, which together will expand the platform’s revenue opportunities and make it a more complete offering, beyond the basic delivery of short, memorable clips.

The additional features will also allow creators to build their own communities without relying on similar engagement surfaces in other apps.

So while this may seem like another imitation of Stories, and it may seem a bit out of place at first, it actually makes a lot of sense in the larger scheme of things.

A TikTok spokesperson provided SMT with the following statement about testing Stories:

“We’re always thinking of new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience. We are currently experimenting with ways to provide additional formats for authors to bring their creative ideas to life for the TikTok community.”

No word yet on how big the TikTok experiment will be, or which users or regions will be able to access it. But, again, as part of TikTok’s broader growth strategy, it makes some sense.

And it could contribute a whole new set of considerations to your approach to TikTok if, indeed, it becomes a full-scale option.

We’ll keep an eye out for developments.

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