Instagram (owned by Facebook) “is a fast, beautiful, and fun way to share your life with friends and family. Take a picture or video, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram — it’s that easy. You can even share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. It’s a new way to see the world. Oh yeah, did we mention it’s free?” According to Instagram, there are 130 million monthly active users — half from outside of the U.S.

One of Instagram’s newest competitors is Vine, which “is the best way to see and share life in motion. Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way for your friends and family to see.” Vine has about 13 million users.

Until very recently, Instagram did not utilize video clips in a meaningful way. But, this is changing. As reported by Russ Somers for invodo: “Instagram, Facebook’s insanely popular photo-sharing app, just launched a video feature. It’s a clear response to Vine’s growing popularity (in June, more Vines than Instagrams were shared on Twitter, and brands are increasingly using Vine to reach consumers). Like Vine, Instagram has made creating and sharing bite-sized video snippets simple. And Vine is responding with new features of its own. There are a few differences, some significant. For example, it captures 15 seconds versus Vine’s 6 seconds of video, and it allows editing of clips. As with photos, the user can apply filters to enhance the video content. The ‘Cinema’ feature – stabilization – lets you create more professional-looking video with less camera motion. A big difference for a brand is this: the user can select the preview image, so that you can merchandise the video with a preview image more likely to draw clicks. That’s important. But Vine will surely close that gap shortly.”

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