Instagram video vs Twitter’s Vine: A battle of the micro-videos

By Shruti Dhapola /  21 Jun 2013 , 17:18

Yesterday at a special press event, Facebook announced that Instagram was getting videos. Instagram founder, Kevin Systrom, along with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who was also present, showed off the new product.

According to Systrom, nearly16 billion photos have been shared on Instagram, and the app sees over 1 billion likes every day. He also announced that the app has over 130 million monthly active users.

The new video feature on the app lets users record a maximum of 15 second video (minimum 3 seconds), add filters to it, edit multiple clips, add ‘Cinema’ for video stabilisation, and then share it on Facebook and Twitter. Currently however videos can’t be shared on the Instagram app itself but that option will soon be rolled out. Instagram is available foriOS version 4.0 and above for Android version 4.0 above. Also the Cinema feature is only available on iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. Users can delete and re-record a video if they make a mistake.

Of course video on Instagram is being seen as a major challenger to another newly launched video service, and that’s Vine by Twitter. We take a look at some comparisons between the two.

How it works: Vine allows users to shoot six-second long video which plays in a constant loop. While shooting a video in Vine you can also pause and reposition your camera. The app also lets users shoot with the front camera and mention people on Twitter when sharing. This especially important given that the total length of your video is only six seconds. In short Vine is also about creativity but with a limited time span. Video montages are key to Vine. Users can also add hashtags to videos and share them on Twitter or Facebook.

Vine vs Instagram. Screengrab.
Vine vs Instagram. Screengrab.

In Instagram video the length is 15 seconds ( minimum 3 seconds) without the looping business. Why 15 seconds long? According to Kevin Systrom the timing is to ensure that the video is Not too long to take forever to download. Not too short to record your kids. That plus editing gave the right balance. Instragram video is offering 13 filters, editing and image stabilisation.

Privacy: On Vine everything that you share is visible to the general public. On Instagram however users can choose to hide what they want from the public and share only with their friends or with themselves only. Instagram’s privacy settings don’t change with the introduction of video.

Hashtags Both services rely on Hashtags for users to explore what kinds of videos you’re looking for. Of course you can also find your Facebook, Twitter friends on both services and choose to follow them and other famous celebrities.

However videos shot on Instagram can’t be shared on the Instagram stream yet, which is strange.

Audience: It would be fair to say that video on Vine seems to follow the Twitter trajectory and caters to the TLDR (too long didn’t read) or in this case TLDW (too long didn’t watch) audience. Like 140 characters, Vine with its six-second video is essentially for a younger audience. In fact, according to this Pew PollTwitter isbooming as a social media destination for US teenagers who complain about too many adults and too much drama on Facebook. The report highlighted how US teens prefer Twitter to Facebook. Twitter currently has 200 million monthly active users which is more than Instagram’s 130 million.

Also according to SocialBakers, Vine has seen pretty decent user engagement as far as a newly launched app is concerned at least on Twitter. The tweets containing Vine uploads which earned a 0.031 percent engagement rate, while for YouTube is 0.048 percent. The report points out thatin terms of engagement on Twitter this is amazing considering that for most of its life, Vine was only available on iPhones and iPads. The Android app for Vine was launched this month and the app already has 13 million users on iOS.

Instagram with its longer videos seems to be targetting a different kind of audience. As Systrom said, it’s not too short ‘to record your kids.’ The emphasis for Instagram isn’t on shooting the kind of weird, yet funny videos that we’ve seen on Vine, but rather longer videos. Instagram is typically filled with food photos, infact Systrom even demoed a video of a cup of latte coffee being made. Typically this is what Instagram video will be about. Get ready for carefully filtered videos of babies, vacations and ‘beautiful-looking’ food.

Did Vine inspire Instragram? Kevin Systrom told WSJ absolutely not. You can read his full interview here.

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