Many people thought Instagram’s new 15-second video feature was just a way to ride on the coattails of Vine’s success in videosharing. Vine was acquired by Twitter prelaunch for $30 million and is now an integral video component to Twitter, although it also operates as a standalone social network for users to generate short, often pithy gif-like seven second videos. Instagram, as many know, was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in cash and stock as its photosharing community surged in popularity on iPhones before also taking over in the Android market.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom had already expressed serious interest in video on Instagram long before Vine came around. Seeing how long it took Instagram to allow people to share photos on Instagram just shows how slow and methodical the scrappy team is while adjusting to such rapid growth on the user side. Vine simply got there first, but it seems Instagram quickly overtook Vine in number of shares on Twitter.
So why is video on a photo-only social network so great for users? We all know advertisers will eventually get their chance to put commercials in video form on Instagram, helping the site to monetize and warrant their large purchase price, but this is the chance for users to intimately share moments in their life that need more than just a pretty photo with a filter. It’s been a long time since I posted something to YouTube—the barriers are just too high for someone who doesn’t maintain a YouTube channel and the quality and length that would be appropriate for me to put effort into YouTube simply isn’t there.
In comes Instagram and Vine, two apps that now allow me to capture a moment that I don’t want to post to Facebook to all my friends, acquaintances, and family, but to an audience that is appreciative of whatever creativity or interesting media pieces I have to share. Since I’m already enamored by Instagram and have put time in there, Vine doesn’t serve the immediacy and convenience of opening up the Instagram app I’ve already cultivated a tiny following on (even if you don’t have a lot of followers, I’ve discovered hashtags are the best way to scan your area or events you’re at for interesting content).
If you’re the type who has a following in a professional sense, like a musician or artist of some sort, this is a new medium for a quick message and for the people who are already primed to consume this type of content. Your Twitter or Facebook followers might not want 10 different 7-15 second updates, but your Instagram and Vine followers will eat it up and it’s another type of marketing that blends a message with intimacy. Just ask Madonna.