Embracing Evolution: TikTok’s Shift to Horizontal Videos Signals a Challenge to YouTube

Content creation platforms continuously adapt to meet the changing demands of users and creators alike. The latest buzz surrounds TikTok’s departure from its signature vertical video format, with reports suggesting a move toward horizontal videos with extended runtimes.  

This strategic shift raises questions about TikTok’s aspirations to rival YouTube and how content creators will navigate this transition. 

TikTok’s Vertical Roots 

TikTok, with its meteoric rise, carved a niche in the social media landscape by championing bite-sized, vertical videos. The platform thrived on user-generated content, often shot on smartphones, fostering a DIY ethos that resonated with a diverse range of creators. Its ‘For You’ page became a hub for trends, dance crazes and viral challenges—all presented in a convenient vertical format that users could swiftly scroll through. 

The Horizontal Horizon 

Recent reports from The Verge suggest TikTok’s intention to pivot toward horizontal videos, especially favoring those with longer runtimes. This departure from the traditional vertical style aligns with an apparent bid to attract creators from YouTube. Creators on TikTok have reported prompts from ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, indicating a boost for longer, horizontal videos posted by seasoned creators. 

These boosts, promised within 72 hours of posting, signal a departure from TikTok’s conventional model, challenging the dominance of vertical content. Creators who have been on TikTok for over three months, adhering to certain guidelines excluding branded ads or political content, stand to benefit from this new approach. 

TikTok vs. YouTube: Bridging the Divide 

This shift marks a significant departure from TikTok’s origins and brings it into closer alignment with YouTube’s content model. YouTube, a veteran in the online video space, has thrived on longer-form content presented horizontally. While both platforms ostensibly offer video-sharing services, they cater to distinct audiences and content creation styles. 

YouTube’s community has evolved around extended, more cinematic content, fostering communities and long-term engagements. In contrast, TikTok’s initial focus on short, attention-grabbing content tailored for immediate consumption on a ‘For You’ page created a unique space in the social media landscape. 

The Impact on Content Creators 

For content creators, this potential shift signifies a pivotal moment. If TikTok pursues a more YouTube-oriented approach, creators may need to adapt their content creation strategies. Those adept at crafting traditional, longer videos for YouTube might find this shift beneficial, aligning more closely with their existing skill sets. 

The prospect of TikTok becoming a platform for extended, horizontally presented content opens avenues for more diverse storytelling, educational content and immersive experiences. This shift could cater to creators who thrive in a more structured, narrative-driven format. 

TikTok’s Ongoing Evolution 

TikTok’s exploration of longer runtimes is not an isolated incident. The platform has been progressively extending its maximum video length. From the initial 15-second limit, TikTok expanded to 60 seconds, and more recently, it allows videos up to 10 minutes long. Reports even suggest testing capabilities for videos up to 30 minutes in length. 

This evolution, coupled with the boost for horizontal videos, positions TikTok as a versatile platform accommodating a spectrum of content lengths and formats. While the impact of these changes is yet to be fully realized, TikTok seems determined to redefine its identity and challenge YouTube’s dominance. 

Navigating the New TikTok Landscape 

As TikTok ventures into a realm traditionally dominated by YouTube, content creators must prepare for a paradigm shift. Embracing longer, horizontally presented videos may open new doors for creativity and storytelling on TikTok. Whether this shift will redefine TikTok’s identity, compete with YouTube or create a unique space remains to be seen. 

For small business owners leveraging TikTok as a marketing tool, understanding and adapting to these changes will be crucial. The platform’s ongoing evolution provides an opportunity to explore diverse content strategies, engage with audiences in new ways, and potentially reach a broader demographic. 


When it comes to social media, adaptability is key. As TikTok continues to reinvent itself, content creators and businesses alike should stay informed, experiment with new formats, and leverage these changes to amplify their online presence. 

Ready to navigate the evolving landscape of social media marketing? Contact Rooted Web for personalized insights and strategies tailored to your small business. Let’s embark on this creative journey together. 

Samantha Prost

Samantha Prost is a digital content writer with almost 10 years of experience who uses her upbeat and creative energy to write fresh, fun and custom content for our clients.

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