Will Instagram kill the Vine star?

In a move that shocked absolutely nobody, last week Instagram launched its video service.

That’s Instagram, the photo-sharing app with over 130 million users globally. It’s owned by Facebook, the biggest social network in the world.

Despite not being shocked by the launch, Vine (owned by Twitter, and with 13 million users) must have been a bit annoyed that it came so quickly. They probably hoped they could pile on a few more users first! In any case they haven’t been sitting idle.

On June 22nd, they used their own platform to reveal (in six-second, teasing format), some of the features they are planning to launch over the next few weeks.

From what I can see, there will be Vine drafts – allowing users to pause and return later to their videos (very useful if you’re working with Vine as a campaign tool); the repositioning of the camera button to bottom-centre – in line with most camera apps nowadays – and the addition of Pinterest-like categories. All pretty cool.

Then there’s Instagram’s video effort.

Instagram has done exactly what we all wanted – giving users the ability to edit and cut videos, produce 15 second clips (that’s a bit more flexible than six, even if six gives you a neat USP) and, most importantly, apply one of 13 unique filters (the bit we all love about regular still-photograph Instagram).

There are some other neat touches. Users can select the cover frame that appears in their followers’ newsfeeds when sharing the clips, for example. And, coolest of all, a tool called ‘cinema’ auto-stabilises video to avoid the shakes – meaning we can capture decent quality video in the most exciting of situations.

So where does Instagram win over Vine? Well, apart from the massive head start of its 130 million strong user base, and all of the awesome features outlined above (which win the argument hands down for me already) there is Instagram’s far superior integration, with both social and desktop versions.

This, no doubt, fits in with Facebook’s mobile ambitions. Plus there’s an easy to use API, meaning that marketers can start to use it as both an awesome ‘disposable’ content tool and a distribution platform.

None of this is to say Vine is screwed. It’s still very cool, and has an incredibly loyal user base. In fact, #TeamVine has become a bit of a phenomenon, defending their chosen platform to the death. But will it win the numbers game long-term? I don’t think so.

Richard Parker is head of strategy at content marketing agency Edge, where he works with brands including Woolworths, St George and Foxtel.

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