Is it Video War? Instagram vs. Vine

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As you have most likely heard, Facebook’s popular image sharing social network, Instagram, launched video functionality yesterday. In doing so, the social network is taking a direct shot at Twitter’s rapidly growing social video service Vine.

This announcement is met with two major questions:

1) Is there room for two social video sharing apps on the market?

2) Which video sharing service should brands focus on?

Let’s compare the apps in three main categories with a head-to-head faceoff below:

The Video Faceoff

Length – Instagram’s video functionality has a few standout differences when compared to Vine’s. Instagram videos can be up to 15 seconds in length compared to Vine’s six-second videos. However, both of these time lengths can work well for video creators. For instance, Vine’s shorter video length not only meshes well with Twitter’s theme of keeping things short and simple, but it also makes users be more creative story tellers. Conversely, 15-second videos give users more flexibility during the video creation process.

Winner – Vine, because six-second videos tend to force brands to be more creative.

Editing – There are quite a few differences between Instagram videos and Vine videos when it comes to editing, the most notable one being that Instagram users can (you guessed it) add filters to their videos, with 13 filters available. Plus, Instagram offers a Cinema feature, which allows users to stabilize video shots. Comparatively, Vine offers neither of these functions, at least as of right now. It is also important to note that when it comes to video production, both apps allow users to shoot a series of clips that are strung together by shooting with either the front and/or back facing camera. However, Instagram allows users to delete the last clip in the series if desired. This makes the video creation process easier, as users don’t have to start from scratch if they record a bad shot. Lastly, unlike Instagram videos, Vine videos feature looping technology, which can make the clips more interesting to watch, especially since they are shorter and more reminiscent of GIFs.

Winner – Instagram, because of filters, stabilization and clip editing features.

Sharing – Social sharing is one of the most important features of these video apps, especially for brands. While Vine videos have the ability to be shared to Facebook and Twitter, Instagram videos can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Flickr, Foursquare and via email. That said, it is important to remember that Vine videos have Twitter card support, which means that they can be viewed within the Twitter stream while Instagram videos cannot.

Winner – Instagram, because the more social network sharing options, the more visibility for brands.

And the Winner is…

In addition to the head-to-head faceoff, Instagram’s large and loyal usebase proves that Facebook’s image-based social network currently has the edge in the social video market, but don’t think that Vine won’t come back swinging. Vine has been steadily growing since its launch in January, and is expected to continue to improve its features with future updates. Plus, who knows, maybe the company will even add filters or something similar sometime down the line.

That said, the question from brands shouldn’t be whether they should focus on Instagram or Vine, but how to implement a video strategy for both. This is because even though Instagram’s launch will most-likely slow down Vine’s growth a bit, it is definitely too soon to predict how these apps will coexist in the social video marketplace, which means having a presence on both is essential. Moreover, Vine’s Twitter card functionality makes the platform a better choice for sharing videos on the popular micro-blogging site. So put your producer hat on, hit record and start boosting your brand's social engagement and follower numbers with short and creative videos on both Instagram and Vine.

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CharlesS 06-21-2013 3:38 PM

This is definitely NOT a question of either/or. Do we post videos to Facebook OR YouTube? YouTube OR Viddler? It doesn't matter - do all of it.

One thing that neither offers (so far as I can see) is an easy way to select which of the social media sites I want to send THIS particular video to. Oh, you can switch OUT of one Twitter account and put in another, but this isn't done quickly. I have THREE Twitter accounts in my Twitter app on my Samsung Android smartphone but can only use ONE at a time in either of these apps.

Why would I want more? Because the video I create should ALWAYS go to my DrMarcNCharlie Twitter account (to show that I've created another video - we're video marketers so I want to keep everyone informed) and then, perhaps, just on my GrandsonLessons account if it's a video about LessonsFromMyGrandson.

However... the clear message: Video Is Vital. The universe is telling you to USE video and had just made it even easier.

This is a red-letter day - video marketing (and marketing itself) has been forever changed. All of our clients now have a video production studio in their pocket - serve them well and they MAY tell people about you. Serve them poorly, and they'll have a video rant to take you down.

Video Is Vital. Start now!

Charlie Seymour Jr

Phil Ryan 06-21-2013 5:00 PM

I think it will be interesting to see the digital marketing impact this will have in different companies and who will be able to benefit from these two services the quickest.  This is a good comparison.  I agree that Instagram at this point seems to be the clear winner but we all know that twitter is already planning on a few updates.  

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