Vine vs. Instagram Video: What You Need to Know

July 10, 2013 Paul Van Winssen

At a recent Facebook press event the company announced one of the most exciting social media releases in 2013, the launch of Video on Instagram. The new product from industry heavyweights Facebook and Instagram captivated onlookers with editable, 15-second video technology complete with a whole new set of Instagram’s bread-and-butter — filters. The immediate question on everyone’s lips was: what does this mean for the “new kid on the block” and Twitter product, Vine? Is this the end?

Feature Overview

In order to answer that question, let’s first take a look at the features each of the platforms provide. Video on Instagram let’s users take 15 second videos that are editable (to an extent). Users can add filters and a cover frame, and videos have the option to use a new image stabilization technology called Cinema.

Vine allows users to take 6.5 second videos which loop, but currently aren’t editable. Vine has hinted at allowing users to create drafts soon though, providing a little more freedom. Vine videos also don’t contain filters or cover frames. The image from TechCrunch below gives a full overview of the features for each platform.

Now looking at the platforms and taking their features at face value, it appears Video on Instagram has a distinct advantage over Vine. Yet when you take a closer look you can see that each platform provides a different experience to the user.

Video on Instagram affords video creators a more robust array of tools than does Vine. 15 seconds allows creators to capture more content, they can edit out most recent clips, and add filters & cover frames. However their videos may not be optimal for the consumer scrolling through their Instagram feeds, as stopping to watch each 15-second video is limiting to users. Vine videos on the other hand accommodate smoother consumption with 6.5 second looping videos; yet offer a smaller set of tools for video creators.

Like Father, Like Son

When viewing the two video platforms from this perspective, it is easy to see that each product is clearly influenced by their parent companies. Video on Instagram has the distinct filtering and visual quality focus that Instagram has become known for; however, its parameters seem to better reflect those of parent company Facebook. Facebook is known for appealing to the masses through the depth of features available to its audience. Vine on the other hand employs restrictions similar to its parent company Twitter. These restrictions force additional creativity on content producers, but make consumption easier.

Where Should Brands Focus?

Now that there are two up-and-coming platforms for consuming concise video content, which should brands and marketers focus on? Although both have advantages, at least in the short term most brands will need to focus on one or the other. The platform that brands decide on will depend on their social objectives and the audience they are trying to cater to.

Instagram video benefits from a massive user base and allows brands to reach a more mainstream audience. Expect brands that already have large Instagram presences to test out video and closely monitor the results. Brands that focus on Facebook as their primary social network are also more likely to use Instagram video, as they want to serve a wider audience. Vine has quickly developed a creative community, and brands with a niche creative audience are likely to stick to Vine in the short-term.

Another key factor to consider is how shareable each platform makes their videos. Video on Instagram allows users to share their videos to a wide range of networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Fourquare, Email, etc.). However, this sharing only pastes a URL which brings users back to the Instagram website. Instagram videos will also play in Facebook, but nowhere else. Vine on the other hand allows embeds. This means Vine videos can be viewed live on your website, a blog, or anywhere else on the web (they also play live on Twitter). This is significant since it allows you to share the videos you create anywhere on the web. With Video on Instagram, you’re stuck within the Facebook ecosystem. Because of this, Vine videos may be more versatile for use by brands in multi-channel campaigns.

When it comes to brands leveraging shiny new platforms, there is a lot of uncertainty involved. One thing that is clear is that a new marketplace for concise video content is emerging. Two of the biggest names in social media have invested heavily in this form of content creation. Regardless of what platform they choose to focus on, brands should be mindful of this new medium and start considering how best to leverage it.

Still Too Early

Ultimately it’s still too early to tell which of these platforms is likely to supersede the other in the end run. Both are backed by large parent companies willing to invest in the product. Both platforms will continue to innovate and release improvements and updates to expand their offering. Whatever the result, the real winner is the industry. Competition between these two major players will drive technological innovation in the video content market.

From a marketing perspective, asking whether this is the end for Vine is the wrong question. Instead marketers should ask what the emergence of short-form video means for content creators, and how your brand can take advantage.

Do you use Instagram Video or Vine? What are your experiences? Share it with us in the comments.

About the Author

Paul is a social media marketer and startup enthusiast based in Toronto, Canada. He likes to traverse both the tech startup and marketing agency worlds (and everything in between). Paul divides his time equally between tech events and Blue Jays games.

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