As competition from tech giants intensifies, TikTok is rolling out a number of new features to keep its short-form video app ahead of its competitors. The company today announced the launch of a new Green Screen Duet feature that combines two of TikTok’s most popular editing tools to allow developers to use another TikTok video as the background for their new video. It also confirmed testing of a new way to discover videos called “Themes”. These are dedicated interest-based feeds with the best trending videos in a particular category.
Green Screen Duet complements a number of existing Duet tools that allow creators to arrange two videos side by side. The duet layouts today include “Left & Right”, “React” and “Above & Below”. Currently, creators are using duets to sing, dance, joke, or act alongside another user’s video, to respond to the content of a video, or just to watch a video by another, sometimes smaller, creator for awareness purposes or to draw attention to its content.
Editing tools like Duet and Stitch are key to what makes TikTok not just a passive video viewing app, but a new breed of video-first social network. It has also proven so popular that it has since been adopted by the Facebook TikTok clone Instagram Reels, where it is known as a remix. Snapchat has also developed its own remix function.
TikTok’s new Green Screen Duet now appears as another option alongside the existing layouts, giving users the ability to use another video in the background more easily when they are recording their own video that is overlaid.
This type of video experience is something that TikTok developers are already doing in a number of ways. For example, they can take pictures or screen recordings and then use other editing tools to achieve such a green screen effect. Or, instead, they respond with a stab to a video, as this can be easier. A built-in Green Screen Duet function simply provides another way to record new videos that contain existing videos.
When the feature is used, the duetted video will play in the background over the newly recorded video. TikTok believes the launch will inspire new formats for creativity and expression.
TikTok has updated its user interface in the past few weeks to improve the way it captures and discovers new video content in its app, as Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat have tried to replicate TikTok’s capabilities in their own apps. For example, last month TikTok launched interactive music features to keep you going.
In a further step, TikTok is now also testing a new Discover page in the app, on which videos are no longer displayed as before, but videos are divided into categories.
These categories represent the many areas of interest to TikTok, such as games, beauty, dance, television and movies, sports, family, learning, and many more. Tapping on a specific category will take you to a feed that contains the most important trending content from the community. The feeds are influenced by factors such as relevance, timeliness and interest and can help users find new content and creators that are not shown on their personalized For You page.
TikTok confirmed that the test was launched in the United States in the past few weeks.
The company is also currently testing ecommerce shopping features where some brands like Hype and Walmart have been given a new Shopping tab on their TikTok profile that allows users to shop for items, add them to their cart, and then check out without them To exit the app.
The integration is less elegant than in the shops on Instagram, as there is no native, universal shopping cart or integrated payment mechanism. Instead, users visit the retailer’s website directly.
However, the strides TikTok is making has paid off in terms of capturing a large Gen Z user base.
According to eMarketer, there are now more Gen Z users in the US than Instagram, or 37.3 million monthly active users compared to 33.3 million users. And by 2023, the company predicts that TikTok will outperform Snapchat in terms of the total number of US users as well.
However, TikTok’s global ambitions are being influenced not only by the ban in India, but also by the possibility that developers will find more monetization opportunities on established platforms.
For example, YouTube yesterday announced a $ 100 million fund for top YouTube shorts developers and announced it would soon be testing ads on shorts. This could help developers generate revenue from short-form content and convert casual viewers into channel subscribers with even more opportunities for monetization. Snapchat and Instagram have also wooed the developers with cash. When the developers find they can make more money elsewhere, they can turn some of their attention away from TikTok no matter how many creative new features are added.