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July 26, 2013

Vine vs. Instagram: How to Keep Up With Both

When Twitter first introduced a “micro-video” app called Vine in January 2013, it took the world by storm.

After gaining about 13 million users in the first five months, it became clear that social media users value brevity — whether it’s in the form of a 500-word blog, a 140-character (or less) tweet or a six-second video on Vine.

Facebook, however, has always allowed more characters than Twitter — even though it’s been shown that shorter posts receive more engagement. Needless to say, when Facebook paid $1 billion to obtain Instagram in April 2012, it was unclear why they were willing to spend so much.

It was a mystery until Instagram released its video-sharing feature in the form of an app update on June 20. The feature is astonishingly similar to Vine, yet it tries to outdo the previously-No. 1 iPhone app.

Watching the battle between Instagram and Vine can be exciting, but realizing how fast the app market can change — and how that can affect your marketing campaign — can be overwhelming.

Separate the Differences

One of the major differences is that Twitter has acquired Vine and Facebook acquired Instagram. But to get a true idea of the battle between these two video-sharing apps, let’s compare their features:


  • Six-second duration
  • Looping capabilities
  • Embeddable on blogs and websites
  • Front-facing camera, channels and “revines”
  • Free


  • 15-second duration
  • Recently became embeddable on blogs and websites
  • Front-facing camera, camera filters, stabilization tool
  • Collage feature (edit out clips you don’t want)
  • Free

Although the two are similar, Instagram clearly offers more diverse features than Vine, but does that mean Vine can never recover?

Instagram Takes Over

Once Instagram’s update debuted on June 20, the only feature Vine had left that was different than Instagram was its looping feature—and many could argue that looping is not as exciting or important as filters, editing features and stabilization tools.

Vine had remained ahead when it came to embedding capabilities, until Instagram made their videos embeddable as well.

Because Instagram is not a separate app—and it’s been around longer—it has more users, and those users were able to get the video feature the day it was updated. Since Instagram’s video feature also allows users to be more artistic when creating videos, it has gained an immense amount of traction compared to Vine.

While Vine had held the top iPhone app spot in June, it fell to No. 7 once Instagram released its video feature.

Can Vine Recover?

As Vine’s download rankings continue to decline, they haven’t stopped trying to fight back. They released a major update on July 3 that added a few unique features:

  • Camera tools — They implemented a new grid with focus and ghost tools, so shooting videos can become easier.
  • Private Channels — Posts can be organized into channels such as comedy and music.
  • Revines — Now users can share other users’ Vines with their followers.

But even with these updates, Vine doesn’t seem to be recovering from Instagram’s blow. It has continued to fall on the iPhone charts even after the update.

There are still millions of people using Vine, and it doesn’t mean Vine will never be on the top of the charts again. However, it’s important to recognize how social media and the app market can change in an instant.

What This Means for Your Business

Video is an extremely valuable marketing tool, and by the looks of this video showdown, it won’t be going anywhere soon. Figure out how you can begin incorporating video into your marketing.

When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if you’re using YouTube, Vine or Instagram—they all help communicate your brand or services in innovative, engaging ways. Including video in your newsletters, blogs, website and social media accounts will allow you to engage with your audience in ways you can’t with words.

Any type of video can be beneficial. You can use it to inform viewers of your product or services, share company news, introduce employees, celebrate success and more. Examine your marketing strategy to decide how video is going to fit into it.

Then it’ll be easier to decide which platform to use—or maybe the multiple platforms you’re going to use, since social media is always changing.

Thinking It Through

If you’re trying to decide which video tool to use, don’t let Vine’s plummet discourage you. Just because its rankings have fallen doesn’t mean it can’t be part of your content marketing strategy.

Think about the type of videos you want to make. Vine’s videos are more realistic and raw, due to the fact that you can’t delete anything.

If you’re feeling creative and you want your customers to experience a new, humorous or down-to-earth side of your brand personality, maybe you want to try squeezing everything into six seconds with Vine.

If you want more time to express yourself and you’d rather strive for artistry and perfection, Instagram’s 15-second videos might provide you with more options. You don’t have to worry about redoing the video every time you mess up, since there are editing/clipping tools.

Audience is also important. Vine’s users are typically more of a niche group, while Instagram users represent a broader range of people. Think about the types of customers you’re hoping to reach out to with your video.

Keep Up With Rapidly-Changing Social Media

As long as you use a social media platform that has a video-streaming tool, you should be successful. You can even use both apps, because both forms of video will help showcase your brand personality.

Thinking about your audience, the objectives of your marketing campaign and, of course, the trends in the app market world are ways you can keep up with the rapidly-changing social media.

Staying current and engaging customers through video can only help your business thrive.

Adrienne Erin is a writer who blogs about everything under the sun, from social networks to construction equipment.