The 7 Best AI Video Tools for Creators and Marketers, Tried and Tested

By May22,2024

These AI video tools can help you write scripts, generate clips, optimize your editing, and even talk to the camera for you. Here’s a look at some of the best AI video tools I’ve tested, along with how to use them, who they’re best for, and how much they cost.  How Long Can a TikTok Be? The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Video Length (+ What Gets the Most Views)

If you’re confused about TikTok video length, you’re far from the only one. 

When you think of TikTok, you likely think of short-form videos (and even shorter attention spans) — it was 15-second videos that helped the social media platform skyrocket to 1 billion users in a few short years, after all. 

But shorter no longer equals better when it comes to growing a following on TikTok

The app has slowly been inching into YouTube’s territory by allowing users to upload longer videos. In 2024, the app started rolling out the ability to upload videos of up to 30 minutes, a big departure from its original offering. 

If you’re wondering how long TikTok videos can be, the answer is not quite as simple as it used to be. Perhaps a better question, too, would be, “How long should TikTok videos be?” This is where things get interesting!

In this article, we’ll unpack all of the above and dig into some fascinating data from millions of TikTok videos sent through Buffer to understand how to optimize your TikTok video length for video views and watch time.

How long can a TikTok video be?

TikTok videos can be anywhere from 3 seconds to 30 minutes in length. When filming a video within the app, users will be able to choose from various specific durations — 15 seconds, 60 seconds, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. 

Note that 15-minute and 30-minute video options might not be available in all regions just yet. 

That said, videos don’t need to be exactly those lengths. Technically, you can film for or upload a video of any duration between 3 seconds and 30 minutes. 

Where things get a little confusing is filming within the app. If you choose the 15-second option (see no. 1 in the screenshot below), you will be cut off at 15 seconds. 

How Long Can a TikTok Be? The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Video Length (+ What Gets the Most Views)

You won’t be able to film additional clips, but you can upload clips from you camera roll to make the video longer. 

To do so, tap the check icon on the bottom right of the screen (2), then the square edit icon on the top left (3), and the + button on the bottom right. 

How Long Can a TikTok Be? The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Video Length (+ What Gets the Most Views)

When you upload a video you’ve filmed or edited elsewhere, there’s no need to choose a specific video length — the app will do that based on the length of the video.  

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Work smarter, not harder: plan, organize, and schedule your TikTok content with Buffer. Here’s how →

How long can a TikTok Story be?

When filming a story within the TikTok app, a story video can be up to 15 seconds. Unlike regular TikTok posts, TikTok Stories will remain visible for 24 hours before disappearing. 

They also won’t appear in your main feed, other users' For You Pages, or following feeds. Your Stories will only be visible when followers tap on your profile photo, either while viewing your profile or within the DMs or messages tab. 

To film or upload a story on TikTok, tap the create button (the + icon at the bottom center of the screen when you open the app), and choose the Story option, also in the bottom center (no. 5 below). 

How Long Can a TikTok Be? The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Video Length (+ What Gets the Most Views)

How long can TikTok Photo carousels be?

Users can upload from one to a whopping 35 images to a TikTok carousel post, which will play on users’ feeds for as long as it takes to scroll through them all. 

TikTok photo carousels will appear in For You and Following feeds, as well as on your profile, just as regular TikTok videos would. You can also add trending TikTok sounds and other effects to them. 

To create a TikTok carousel post, choose Photo above the camera button within the main create window (no. 6 in the image above). 

How long should a TikTok video be?

Now all that housekeeping is out of the way, you know you have a plethora of options when it comes to how long your TikTok videos can be. However all video lengths are not created equal when it comes to views and engagement. 

We analyzed millions of TikTok videos to better understand what the ideal length is for two metrics: total views and full video watch rate. Note that at the time of this analysis, we didn’t yet have enough data on videos longer than 10 minutes (600 seconds) — we’ll update here as soon as we have it. 

The best TikTok video length for views

How Long Can a TikTok Be? The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Video Length (+ What Gets the Most Views)

According to our data, the longer the TikTok video, the more views it tends to get. On average, 3 to 10-minute videos received the most views, followed by 2-3 minutes, then 1-2 minutes, and so on. 

Videos longer than 3 minutes received, on average, more than double the views of videos between 6 and 10 seconds. 

The worst TikTok length for views is 0-3 seconds, with 4-5 second and 6-10 second videos not far off.

With all this in mind, it makes sense that TikTok is expanding to include videos much longer than their original offering. 

“TikTok has been pushing longer videos, so I’m not surprised by these results,” Mitra Mehvar, Buffer’s Social Media Manager, told me. “A couple years ago, it was definitely suggested to keep your videos as short as possible, but these days it’s all about longer videos.”

So longer videos will always win out when it comes to the TikTok algorithm? Well, not necessarily…

The best TikTok video length for full video watch rate

How Long Can a TikTok Be? The Ultimate Guide to TikTok Video Length (+ What Gets the Most Views)

When it comes to full video watch rate, the opposite of the above is true. Our data showed users are more likely to watch entire videos if they are shorter.

It makes sense — videos 10 seconds and under are unlikely to be skipped simply because viewers likely won’t have the time to decide to swipe past before they’re finished.

So, while the data shows that shorter videos are best for full watches, it doesn’t necessarily mean viewers find them the most engaging. 

What is really interesting to note is the spike in the full watch rate for videos between 2 and 3 minutes long. There definitely seems to be a sweet spot for watching full videos there. It’s also worth noting that there is very little difference in the full video watch rate between videos 11-30 seconds, 31-60 seconds, 1-2 minutes, and 3-10 minutes long. 

While full watch rate might not be as appealing as total views, it’s an important metric to be aware of — we know that watch time is a crucial signal to the TikTok algorithm that your videos are high-quality and worth serving in other For You Pages. 

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Tactics for TikTok success: If your goal is taking your TikTok presence to the next level, we’ve got some resources that might help. I recommend checking out this guide to TikTok SEO (search engine optimization) and the best time to post on TikTok

TikTok hooks > TikTok video length

By now, you’ve probably realized that there is no magic number when it comes to TikTok lengths. 

While you might want to explore videos two minutes or longer to help you maximize watch rate and video views, there’s one factor that will always trump video length on TikTok: A good hook. 

In content creation, a hook is the ‘why’ of your video — what will your viewers get from watching the video? Will they learn something? Be shocked? Entertained? Being clear and compelling about this upfront will help you ‘hook’ viewers in. 

TikToks that open with a strong hook during their first three seconds tend to perform the best, the platform says.

“Over 63% of all videos with the highest click-through rate (CTR) highlight their key message or product within the first three seconds,” research directly from TikTok says. This means you want to start your TikTok off strong and quickly introduce the topic or thesis.

This TikTok by content creator Naomi Burtt is 46 seconds but opens with a hook quickly: “This is my Chipotle hack.” It has received over one million views.

Here, content creator Kevin – also known as the CEO of Chai – has an immediate product hook. The TikTok opens with a clip of Emma Chamberlain highlighting her chai powder mix. In the video, Kevin reviews the product and talks about the chai for one and a half minutes. Note that even at a longer length, the TikTok performed well and garnered over 180,000 likes.

We went viral on TikTok with a fun video our social media manager Mitra made about remote work. While the video is short — only five seconds — the visual hook is immediate as the first thing people see is the text, “POV: You’re a remote worker vibing at Target in the middle of the work day.”

A good hook will captivate the audience's attention right away, meaning these users will be more likely to finish your video instead of just scrolling past it. This is important because the TikTok algorithm will ding you if users aren’t engaging with your video and watching it in its entirety.

The length of TikToks vs. Instagram Reels vs. YouTube Shorts

TikTok videos can be up to 30 minutes long, depending on your region. The time limit for Instagram Reels is 90 seconds. For YouTube Shorts, the maximum video length is 60 seconds (any new videos longer than that will be published as regular YouTube videos).

Thanks to the rise (and rise) of TikTok, social network competitors Instagram and YouTube introduced their own TikTok-inspired experience: Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts

The platforms don’t feel all that different. In fact, it’s common for creators to cross-post their TikToks directly on Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts — we even recommend doing so for more visibility on your posts.

In this regard, much video content that performs well on TikTok can also perform well on Reels and YouTube Shorts, and vice versa. 

But there’s no guarantee that it will, and it’s largely thanks to some key differences in length: With YouTube Shorts capping at one minute, fans have come to expect fast-paced clips that get to the point at lightspeed. Reels fall into a similar category, where creators and social media marketers will only have 90 seconds to make their point. 

TikToks, on the other hand, can be much longer. TikTok users are getting increasingly comfortable with settling in for long-form videos on the platform if the hook is strong enough. 

For this reason, TikTok now lends itself to more in-depth storytelling, tutorials, and how-tos. TikToks also tend to be less high-energy than Shorts and less polished than Reels as Gen Z’s platform of choice. 

While cross-posting your content is the smart choice — you really never know what will go viral and where — it’s wise to pick a primary social media platform for your videos and create your content with your target audience’s needs and preferences in mind.

If you’re stuck on which platform is best for your brand, you might want to create a social media marketing strategy. This social strategy guide will get you started and guide you through some questions to help you make the best choice for your social media goals. 

Hopefully, you’ve found this article helpful! Instead of focusing solely on your TikTok length, remember you have to produce quality content on TikTok, too. As long as you’re making TikToks that users find entertaining, insightful, and educational, your videos should perform well.

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