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How brands can win on Instagram and Vine

By Heather Taylor

July 12, 2013 | 5 min read

Many commentators have had their say on what the launch of Instagram Video means for Vine. But now the dust has settled, which platform should brands be using? And how do they make it work? Heather Taylor, vice president, Social@Ogilvy, offers some advice on how to strike video gold.

Instagram or Vine?

Only a couple of weeks since Instagram launched video and the race for short form video dominance continues. Currently, Vine (aka Twitter) and Instagram (yep - Facebook) continue to pile on new features to their video offerings to try to capture the greatest audience. But who will be the ultimate winner?

Let’s be realistic. We don’t know which way consumers are going to go. It’s early days. Though Instagram boasts 130 million users compared to Vine’s 13 million, it’s hard to differentiate who is creating video verses images. Yes – by comparing URLs on Topsy, we can see that Vine’s shares have dropped considerably, - but Instagram’s haven’t jumped that much either.

The way that content is created on these platforms is completely different. Instagram has followed the same approach as it did with its images. Lots of filters, a very apparent video record button and it comes the ability to erase.

But the videos are intermingled with the still photography which is not only a jarring user experience but there is currently is no way to filter. It did help gain a bit more dominance today by enabling embedding for the first time so in that regard it is at par with Vine. Instagram videos are also more sharable across social platforms as Vine can only be shared on Twitter and Facebook.

So it can’t be shared on every one of your social platforms, but what is Vine doing that’s so different? Vine appears to be mimicking Twitter and Tumblr by allowing 'revining' and is going down the YouTube route in terms of categorisation. You can now filter videos into channels such as Cats, Dogs, Comedy, Food, etc.

It has also finally allowed for focus capabilities as well as a grid overlay to help you take better video. As Vine videos are on a 6 second loop, it fits in perfectly with the raft of animated gifs that have flooded Tumblr and beyond. Due to Twitter Cards, the videos also appear natively in a users Twitter stream which Instagram will never be able to take advantage of (remember? Facebook?)

But what does this mean for brands?

Some brands have jumped right in and are using these platforms for community engagement. Though there are a huge number of amazing Vine creators (and I’m sure Instagram ones too), I don’t think we will see how far brands will go until either platform enables video upload.

Once they do that? I can see Instagram being a commercial director’s dream with its 15 second capability. But Vine will continue to grow a following that sees creatively on the platform as a challenge to be met. When you see something truly amazing on Vine, you think ‘How did they do that?’ as it all has to be done in sequence in a single take. It’s like magic.

But don’t forget Vine’s channels. With this easy filtering, I predict the ability for sponsored content will be next on the horizon and perhaps ads if Vine continues down the YouTube path rather than a Tumblr one.

So to win on Vine? Make magic. Create looping content that takes you a second to realise it’s on loop. Play with timing and the ease of creating stop motion. On instagram, you have to pay attention to story even more. Once you’re past that 6 second mark, you need it, especially as Instagram videos don’t play up to the animated gif trend.

Most of all, look at what your audience wants, and look at what it’s creating. If you think your brand can have a voice in either short video space, then determine a long-term strategy now. It doesn’t look like either platform is going away any time soon.

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