TikTok Announces a Huge Increase to its Video Descriptions as it Leans into Discovery

TikTok’s giving users more room to explain their content, and connect with interested users, with a massive expansion of its video description field.

Woah…! TikTok has increased video description character limit to 2,200 characters!

This is huge for creators and massive in terms of TikTok’s plans for becoming a search engine pic.twitter.com/kGhnL97uUM

— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) September 23, 2022

As you can see in this notification, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, TikTok has expanded the post description field from 300 characters to 2,200 – a 730% increase in the space available to outline your clip.

As explained by TikTok:

“This allows you to express more details about your creations, describing what your videos show, giving you the opportunity to get closer to your audience, generating more engagement while becoming more searchable and better recommended by TikTok to viewers.”

The ‘searchable’ element is the key focus in this respect.

As we reported recently, TikTok is fast becoming a key search platform for younger audiences, with Google’s VP Prabhakar Raghavan recently noting that:

“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

That presents significant opportunity for TikTok, using its highly attuned, personalized, algorithmic approach to refine and showcase relevant search matches, which will increasingly relate to each users’ interests.

That’s how search already functions in the Chinese version of the app, Douyin, with many users now turning to the app for more customized discovery.

As explained by Connie Chan of Andreesen Horowitz:   

“On Douyin, which has been monetizing short-form video search for years, videos are often tagged with the names of stores and other locations, and tapping on these links takes users to in-app pages where they can take advantage of large discount coupons or special bookings.

Douyin search  TikTok Announces a Huge Increase to its Video Descriptions as it Leans into Discovery bG9jYWw6Ly8vZGl2ZWltYWdlL2RvdXlpbl9zZWFyY2gucG5n

Chan explains that by using its algorithmic advantages in understanding user behaviors, Douyin is able to highlight more relevant search matches to each user, which improves the discovery process, while also enabling people to take advantage of discounts and other offers in the app.

“Thanks to the algorithms and user behavior on Douyin, the app can push new places to a user that he or she would never have thought to search for. Short video effectively enables the continuous discovery of the best places around you, and it gets better with every swipe as the platform better understands you and your interests.

TikTok’s now looking to tap into the same.

Last month, TikTok launched a new ‘Nearby’ content feed in testing, which displays content posted by users in your current location.

TikTok 'Nearby' feed  TikTok Announces a Huge Increase to its Video Descriptions as it Leans into Discovery bG9jYWw6Ly8vZGl2ZWltYWdlL3Rpa3Rva19uZWFyYnkucG5n

As it’s rolled out more broadly, that’ll enable TikTok to showcase locally relevant updates, based on the content that you engage with in your main ‘For You’ feed – which means that TikTok will be able to highlight more posts from local business, events and locations, that relate to your interests.

The added room for your descriptions will enhance this, with more opportunities for keyword matching, in order to showcase more relevant, local content, which could be a big help in highlighting relevant businesses to interested users. And if it follows the lead of Douyin, that could enable brands to offer discounts and connection options direct in-app, utilizing TikTok’s massive presence to great effect.

And with projections that TikTok will reach 1.5 billion users before the year is outthat could be a huge consideration for businesses.

It’s not there just yet, but based on where Douyin has gone with search, you can see the likely roadmap, which could make TikTok an even more important platform for local brands, directly connecting intent and interest to their offerings.

‘More searchable and better recommended’. This is the key note of focus from TikTok’s announcement, and it’s these elements that could become much bigger points of note for brands moving forward.

These are just the first steps, and it may well be worth considering how building a TikTok presence now could help you capitalize on these trends as they become more significant elements in future.

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