Instagram Video Has Arrived!


The very nature of the social networking industry is rapidly shifting as tensions run high after Facebook-owned Instagram announced a new bite-sized video-sharing feature last week, which puts it in direct competition with Twitter’s Vine. The announcement came weeks after speculation and, ironically, occurred around the same time a recent survey revealed that Vine was the most successful it had ever been in its brief history. Instagram looks to challenge Vine, offering the ability to shoot and share 15-second videos, equipped with one of 13 exclusive filters. While many users are already holding vigils for the short-lived Vine, people are looking far too into the specific functionality that these applications offer users. Besides the fact that Vine certainly won’t die overnight (a recent report stated that Vine’s engagement rate on Twitter is challenging YouTube) both Vine and Instagram are both just pawns in a game that far extends video-sharing applications.


And Now A Brief History Lesson…


In the fall of 1983 the United States led an invasion of a small island located 100 miles north of Venezuela called Grenada. A communist party with clear connections to the Soviet Union had overthrown the local government of Grenada, and thus the U.S stepped in to challenge the U.S.S.R for influence over the region. Despite the fact that the U.S emerged decisively victorious, few people today avidly discuss the conflict in detail and list it as an overall small struggle within the colossal Cold War timespan. Described as a proxy war, this event relates directly back to what the social media industry is experiencing today!


In the general scheme of things this small battle between Vine and Instagram won’t matter. Both companies are simply entering an opportunistic field, video-sharing, that they know users will flock to.  While the variation of the content sharing applications will clearly change, from what we can conclude from the history of social media deals is that major firms will always purchase smaller ones in order to a) keep up against competition and b) ultimately drive profits by offering users “new” functionality.


While users may rejoice as they can now direct several-second-long videos on both Twitter and Facebook, businesses look onward with eager yet weary eyes as they now have a lot more work cut out for them. But no worries businesses, we’ll explain what this change means for you in just a moment.



But Which Should You Use?

When it comes to social media, the main goal is to produce quality content that is shared with the largest user base possible in order to achieve the highest ROI. Given that it has Facebook as its owner, Instagram is given access to both the 130 million users registered on its site AND to the 1.11 billion users active on Facebook itself, making its audience reach rather appealing. This ability to seamlessly engage such a massive audience simply cannot be matched by Vine and Twitter, which hold 13 million and 500 million users respectively. Also Instagram offers 15-second video clips which allow businesses to post advertisements they would typically play on television or digital sites, tapping into more traditional marketing methodologies. In this case, Instagram seems more attractive because a firm could produce a 15-second television commercial locally and run it simultaneously on the site in order to reach a larger market. Take for example Burberry’s ad run on Instagram.


Instagram certainly presents a more professional feel with its filters and ability to produce longer video but consumers like to feel close to companies they endorse; the more personal the interaction between a consumer and a business, the better the valued connection will seem. Given Vine’s personal feel, consumers can view a more behind the scenes look at organizations and businesses leading to a closer connection between buyer and seller. Also, while some may find the 15-second Instagram videos more appealing, Vine allows businesses to get their message out in 6 seconds, accessing the current trend in “real-time” marketing, eading to a more focused and concise product, and visceral experience for the consumer. UK-based retailer ASOS provides a strong example of how to use Vine to interact with an audience.


Wrapping It All Up

The battle right now is between Vine and Instagram but that is simply one piece of a grand conflict. While it’s likely that Vine will not completely die out, given recent data Instagram appears to be taking a major piece of their business — how much has yet to be seen, but as of last Sunday Vine ranked as one of the top-10 most downloaded iPhone applications in only 11 countries. This is down from just last Thursday when it ranked top-10 in 34 countries…


What it comes down to is simply opportunity. Right now Facebook and Twitter are offering their video-sharing services and competing against each other by adding more features to their respective brands. This gives businesses a great opportunity to market themselves to a variety of people over the two different channels and, as these applications adapt to serve users better, businesses will find a heightened number of features leading to an overall better experience. So while businesses can bask in the ability of both applications, we are reminded of what social media expert Gary Vaynerchuck said last week. When asked which application, Vine or Instagram, was going to win, Vaynerchuck simply responded by saying, “Why not both?” The choice is yours but if building quality content is really the key to mastering SEO rankings, utilizing both brands of software should yield the greatest ROI.


By Connor Lawrence