Why TikTok’s Push for Landscape Videos Could Be Its Biggest Downfall

TikTok landscape videos

If you’ve been on TikTok in the past few days, you would’ve seen creators sharing they’d been encouraged by the platform to post landscape videos. The platform that popularised full-screen, vertical videos is now offering some users increased views if they post videos that are over one minute long and are in landscape format.

“Landscape videos, where the width is greater than the height and are over 1 minute in length, are the only ones eligible to receive increased views,” reads a TikTok notification screenshot shared by creator Jules Terpak.

Some TikTok creators with multiple accounts are sharing they only got the boosted views for landscape videos on one or two of their accounts, not all of them.

“This tells me they are rolling this out very slowly,” says creator Evan.

Many online speculate the reasoning behind TikTok pushing landscape format is that it’s trying to be more like YouTube and streaming services like Netflix. The content on these platforms is consumed on rotated phones, in a more traditional format.

@evhandd TikTok just made a MASSIVE change to the algorithm, promising boosted views to anyone who posts videos over a minute long in landscape mode #longervideos #tiktokalgorithm #contentcreationtips #contentcreator #sturdydigital ♬ original sound – Evan

All social platforms aim to keep users on them for as long as possible. Horizontal videos are associated with the longer form content of YouTube and Netflix, so no doubt TikTok tapping into that will make users feel they are settling in to watch clips in the same way.

The change also makes it easy for creators who regularly post on YouTube to share their content to TikTok. Ads created for YouTube or a streaming service can also easily be re-used for TikTok. Now, when creators are repurposing their videos from YouTube for TikTok, they have to zoom in and then lock the view.

Currently, landscape videos on TikTok when viewed in portrait mode, have black bars above and below them. Users can tap ‘Full screen’ mode underneath the landscape video to see it fill the screen. They’ll then need to rotate their phone to watch the clip.

The news comes a week after it was reported TikTok is testing 30-minute-long videos. It once only allowed 60-second clips. Then three-minute-long, 10 minutes and now 30 minutes in select markets. For reference, most YouTube clips are longer than 10 minutes.

The update is a reminder of two main social platform themes. Firstly, social platforms have all the power. Though many TikTok creators are against horizontal videos, the platform promising more views on those videos — and maybe eventually even penalising videos in portrait mode — may lead to them having no choice but to adopt the new format.

The other theme the change touches on is platforms copying each other. Instagram copied TikTok with its Reels. TikTok copied Instagram with its Stories. Now, TikTok is copying YouTube with its landscape format.

“If social media platforms are smart enough to copy trending features from each other, then rest assured, they are smart enough to tweak it to avoid copyright infringement,” writes Anchor Digital. “And current IP laws don’t prevent copying another’s innovation.”

It seems these days, if platforms aren’t keeping up with new, copy-cat features they’re left in the dust. Has anyone checked on Snapchat recently?

Related: The Unexpected Upside of TikTok and Universal’s Feud

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