While TikTok chases YouTube, Instagram vows to focus on short-form content

As TikTok continues to test the waters with longer videos, Instagram Head Adam Mosseri has said the Meta-owned social network will continue to focus on short-form content.

In an Instagram Reel, Mosseri said that long-form content would move the platform away from its two key focus areas, which are connecting people with their friends and helping users explore their interests.

Mosseri noted these two ideas are symbiotic because people are connecting with their friends over common interests through short-form video. For instance, when you see a Reel that makes you laugh, you send it to others you think would enjoy the video.

"It turns out long-form video is less symbiotic with these other jobs," Mosseri said. "If you watch a 10- or 20-minute video, you see less content from friends, you interact with your friends less and you're actually less likely to send that content or that video to a friend. So we're not going to go after that business because it's part of our core identity to connect people with friends and we don't want to undermine that by going after long-form video. We understand short-form video doesn't always do that, but it can."

Mosseri's comments come as TikTok started testing the ability for users to upload 60-minute videos a few weeks ago. While the app originally launched with a 15-second time limit for uploads, TikTok has slowly been increasing its video limit over the past few years to take on one of its biggest competitors: YouTube.

As part of its efforts to take on YouTube, TikTok has added new features to make it easier to watch longer videos, such as a horizontal full-screen mode and the ability to fast-forward videos by holding down the right side of a video. Plus, TikTok started rewarding creators for longer videos last year, likely in an attempt to get users to post their longer content on its app instead of just on YouTube.

It seems that, unlike TikTok, Instagram doesn't have an interest in challenging YouTube's dominance.

It's worth noting that Instagram did pursue long-form content in the past with its IGTV app. The platform, which launched in 2018, was designed for sharing longer videos. However, Instagram decided to shut it down in 2022 as it shifted its focus to Reels. The company said at the time that Reels were an important part of Instagram and that it would continue to invest in the format.