The worst-kept secret in social media came to light Thursday, as Facebook introduced video for Instagram. It includes new video-specific filters, 15 seconds of multi-frame recording and a new feature called Cinema that will take shaky videos and make them look as if they were filmed professionally.
As Vine grows like crazy, Facebook needed to come up with a competitor. The iOS version of Vine — the popular 6-second video sharing app which was blocked from Facebook last year — recently hit the 13 million download mark. Facebook is hoping that Instagram’s 130 million users will be enough to make it the most popular video app. By introducing features such as Cinema and filters to video, Instagram can not only compete with Vine, but become the go-to app for advertisers.
With the addition of Cinema, a video stabilizer, brands can become major players on Instagram (and by extension Facebook), without having to spend big bucks.
Instagram Co-Founder Kevin Systrom noted that when he and fellow Co-Founder Mike Krieger developed mobile photography app Burbn a few years ago, it could take photo and video. Eventually, they decided to focus on the photo aspect and launch Instagram from Burbn, but the desire to capture video was still there. Now, video is present with Instagram, he said:
This is the same Instagram we all know and love, but it moves.
While many brands are utilizing Vine well, there are many more companies already on Instagram. A May study by Simply Measured shows that 67 of the Interbrand Top 100 brands are on Instagram, up from 57 percent in February. These 67 brands have a combined 7 million followers on Instagram.
Throughout Instagram, there have been 16 billion photos shared and 1 million likes are generated daily.
Brands can already reach a larger audience on Instagram than Vine, and with these features, that gap may widen.
Robin Grant, the global managing director of We Are Social, told Inside Facebook that Instagram’s launch of video could make more brands enhance their presence on Instagram, rather than finding a new one on Vine:
Hot on the heels of Facebook hashtags, the platform has now, via Instagram, taken on another Twitter stalwart – video. Vine has been dominating the video sector of late and it was only a matter of time before a rival emerged from the other social media superpower.
Instagram video is Vine on steroids. At 15 seconds it’s longer than its short form video counterpart and it has 13 custom filters to make your photos look “beautiful.” The filters have always been one of the key draws for users of the platform and in the battle of video one-upmanship this packs a massive punch.
The Cinema feature is impressive and will be a big draw for brands, many of whom have been on the receiving end of criticism for shaky, unprofessional looking Vines. The ability to make a quick, inexpensive clips look half way professional will encourage experimentation.
There are several features exclusive to Instagram that would be attractive to advertisers. Even if Vine adds these down the line, the app will still be playing catch-up. Basically, advertisers will be able to create videos that are twice as long as Vine, with innovative and fun filters, and shot in much higher quality than Vine.
While users will love the ability to add filters, the key here for brands lies in the Cinema feature. Like Grant pointed out, some brands have received criticism or poor reception from users with shaky Vine videos, but Cinema changes that.
Check out what a video looks like with Instagram’s Cinema:
It likely won’t take long for major brands to take advantage of this feature. Nike, which is the biggest brand on Instagram (with roughly 1.31 million followers) could use this to show off its athletes in action. Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, a Nike athlete, has already used Instagram to post a video of his recovery process from an ankle injury. With Vine, this would only be a 6 second clip, and Bryant’s fans would’ve had to engage on a new platform. His 981,000-plus followers were already on Instagram, so why go elsewhere?
While Vine is growing and becoming rapidly more popular, Facebook and Instagram still have the power in numbers. One of the key tenets of advertising is to go where your audience is. With more than 130 million people already on Instagram (and 1 billion on Facebook), advertisers could get more bang for their buck by either sticking with Instagram or establishing a presence on the photo (and video) sharing network.