TikTok “Series”: An opportunity or obstacle for marketers?
Published: March 17, 2023
"Series" is a recently introduced TikTok feature.
Creators can use Series to post video collections behind a paywall. TikTok users who want to watch Series videos must pay via in-video links or the creator's profile.
A "Series" can have up to 80 videos, each lasting up to 20 minutes.
Video creators will be able to set their own rates, ranging from $1 to $190. Initially, creators will be able to keep 100% of their revenue after processing and app store fees.
TikTok's new Series feature allows creators to charge followers for long-form, exclusive videos, but the format may pose challenges for TikTok stars who rose to fame due to the platform's viral nature.
The Series feature launches at a time when creators aren't making a lot of money with YouTube Shorts. If Series proves to be a successful format, it may encourage some creators to lean more on TikTok than YouTube.
According to Sarah Penny, content and research director at Influencer Intelligence, "clients aren’t diving into the series just yet. And the reason is a lack of familiarity with the format."
Many creators in the industry find "Series" as an opportunity to connect with their fans.
Steven Spence, a musician and fitness creator, intends to post paywalled workout routines as well as give subscribers first listens to new songs or songs that do not make it onto albums.
However, not all creators are on board with Series. Sara Hopkins, a Vine star, who has since moved on to Instagram and TikTok, says she has no plans to experiment with the new format.
The Vine star explained, "My content consists of sketches of relatable moments, and those enjoyable, short videos are the platform's heart. However, they are unlikely to do well behind a paywall. TikTok users come for the scroll, not the 20-minute thing."
TikTok Series: Will it be any beneficial for marketers?
TikTok is remarkable for the way it leads the race. It came up with the idea of short-form videos, which its rivals then followed. In fact, TikTok played a major role in making audiences habituated to swiping up on social media pages for hours and hours.
While facing the threat of a potential ban from the US on one side and the pressure to sustain its growth graph among others, TikTok has been launching many new features in recent months.
However, this is the first time TikTok is trying to get a feature from another social platform—YouTube’s long-form video format.
Of late, the platform has expanded its video length up to 10 minutes. Needless to say, Hilton leveraged the platform’s long-form video option and escalated its reach and follower numbers.
Now, TikTok comes with a paywall option for creators, just like YouTube.
We believe the new feature will only work for creators and very few brands.
For creators: Creators can use the series feature to monetize their own content and make money. It may lead them to depend less on brands for income.
For brands: Brands with a huge customer base and where an audience seeking value from brands is possible can make use of this feature. For instance, fitness brands can take this chance to educate audiences on healthy ways of eating, exercising, etc. with various collections of videos and generate revenue.
However, the new feature may not work for most of the brands.
Because most brands come to social media platforms with certain agendas like brand awareness, lead generation, etc., To achieve that, brands come up with a mix of funny, interesting, and value-filled video content.
While most of them are available for free, why would audiences pay brands for their content? And that this is not a regular subscription model where audiences pay for subscriptions and get access to all paywalled content on the platform.
Most importantly, the virality of the content is crucial for brands to attain their goal on a platform like TikTok. Which, in turn, is not applicable for paywalled content.
We believe the TikTok Series is a double-edged sword, and TikTok is only experimenting with it. We really do not see this feature being sustained for a longer period of time. Having said this, if this is able to meet the needs of creators and customers are willing to pay for access to the Series, this might become a regular feature. Yet, we really do not see a great fit for most brands, as it may hamper their efforts rather than benefiting them.
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