On Thursday, I sat at my computer anxiously awaiting the somewhat mysterious Intragram announcement from Facebook headquarters. As Kevin Systrom (co-creator of Instagram) took the stage, I think we all had a pretty good idea what he was about to unveil; it was just the details that remained a mystery.
Systrom announced the highly anticipated video add-on for Instagram as a Vine-like video tool (though he never actually referenced Vine) that is 15 seconds in length versus six, allows you to choose a cover image, uses filters just like their image tool and allows for cinematic stabilization.
In the hours that immediately followed the announcement, it seemed that every tech pundit (myself included) wanted to put Vine and Instagram head to head. And why not? Both are short-form video tools, both allow users to create stop-motion films, and both are owned by social media mega-giants.
But as the excitement wore off, I quickly realized that Instagram video would never give me what I wanted. That doesn’t mean that I’m saying Instagram video is a failure. Quite the opposite. I think that it’s a totally different animal. Comparing the two is apples and oranges. In my opinion, Instagram is going to be the video media of choice for one crowd, while Vine will remain the choice for others. I think both win. Different people will pop out and be successful on both. Some people are good at status updates on Facebook and not on Twitter, and vice-versa.
Vine allows for – or requires for – more creativity. With just six seconds to create, your creativity is put to the test, and if you’ve never tried Vine, you may even surprise yourself with the cool stuff that you can create. The looping feature has also provided another avenue for creativity. On the other hand, people who are already big into taking pictures on Instagram, want to see a mixture of video and pictures in their feed, and need more alloted time to record their message will flourish on Instagram. I think you’ll even see a large population utilizing both.
By comparison, while Instagram’s tool will let users start and stop their recording until they’ve hit 15 total seconds of video, there’s no looping. That certainly doesn’t mean there won’t be highly entertaining or clever uses, but it will be different. In the end, it’s all about the story. There are stories you can tell in six seconds, but they need planning and articulating exactly the right message and script. While 15 seconds is just about the right length of time that allows everyone to tell a story in a very simple way.
Marketers have flocked to Vine, finding that the looping stop-motion style makes for fun, interesting, whimsical ads — without feeling too much like ads. Given Twitter’s obsession with bolstering its ad platform, its major source of revenue, in advance of a possible IPO, that’s a very welcome development. Facebook would no doubt like to repeat that marketing success with Instagram video, and with Instagram’s huge user-base and integration with its parent, not to mention its recent adoption of hashtags, it’s tough to bet against that eventuality.
In that regard, Vine and Instagram are no doubt competitors, and one way to tell who wins could well be who ends up with the lion’s share of the ad revenue being spent on social video. The moral of the story is, don’t be too quick to dismiss Vine. In fact, I bet this announcement draws even more attention to Vine, ultimately being the platform of choice for new users. Time will tell, but my prediction is that Vine will actually continue to grow over the next year.