Instagram v Vine: The battle of the video-sharing platforms

A year on from the launch of Twitter’s video app Vine and what have we all learnt? Which brands are using it well? And what does rival Instagram’s launch of video mean for the future of snappy video marketing?

Vine’s six-second looping video format makes it easy for companies to film, upload, and share videos to social media, and to ask fans to do the same. According to The 7th Chamber, five tweets a second contain a Vine link and a branded Vine is four times more likely to be seen than a branded video.

The problem, however, is that Vine represents a whole other social media platform to keep an eye on and use (how many can one person have?).

Facebook bought Instagram in April 2012 for a whopping $1bn, and in summer 2013 released its rival video function (lovingly termed Instavid). Since then there has been great dispute over which is best.

With 150 million existing users, adding video was going to give the established player the advantage. In addition, at 15 seconds long and with 13 different filters, the ability to choose any cover frame and use existing iPhone footage makes it an attractive option for users. Things looked very tough for Vine.

However, before we dismiss Vine completely, there are times when a six-second clip is advantageous. If you want to do a quick update on new product features, a snappy how-to series or tantalising teasers and invitations, then Vine could still be the video tool for you.

Some of our favourite uses of Vine by major brands include:  

1. Dunkin’ Donuts. Playful, punchy and perfect for the brand, Dunkin’ Donuts even used Vine to create their TV commercials.

2. Lowe’s hardware store. Practical ‘how-to’ tips with a wonderfully entertaining edge. No dull step-by-steps here, just fantastical no-narrative tutorials.

3. Urban Outfitters. Showing off their products perfectly (and adding that nod to a cool, city lifestyle).

4. Target. Although less consistently on brand, US supermarket Target is an expert at using Vine to promote seasonal events, we especially love their Turkey Time thanksgiving Vine.

5. General Electric. Finally one for all our technology clients; we love how GE make science fun.

Whichever platform you choose here are our top tips for using Instagram and Vine:

  • Use hashtags to help people find your video.
  • Don’t try to fit too much in.
  • Do make use of stop-motion, but remember you are not an animator (so don’t be too ambitious).
  • Invite participation, encourage people to post replies using a unique hashtag.
  • Don’t post it until you’re happy, double check the edit and the cover frame you’ve chosen.
  • Share it as widely as possible, but remember titles and descriptions will be shared too so get all the key information in there (and spell it correctly).

As a footnote if you want to use more of this content on your own website, here's how to embed a Vine into your blog.