It was the worst kept tech secret this week: Instagram would soon be getting video. The more detailed the rumblings and the more reliable the sources reporting them, the surer we all became that sooner rather than later, we would be shooting our own vintage-filtered videos of brunch, little kids, cool shoes, and French bulldogs wearing bowlers and smoking pipes. But how long would these videos be? Would our filter choices still include “Walden,” “Mayfair” and “Brannan”? Would they loop in our feed, giving us a migraine? Today, at Facebook’s press event, Zuck brought Instagram founder and CEO Kevin Systrom on stage to answer all of these questions. Emphasizing simplicity and beauty, both hallmarks of Instagram, Systrom introduced the new 15-second video camera, its 13 new custom filters, the cover photo selection option, and a stabilization tool called “Cinema,” all of which would help the platform’s 130M monthly users continue to “capture and share the world’s moments.”
Immediately following Systrom’s presentation, members of L2’s staff raced to update their apps and start using the new feature. I asked several what their impressions were, both from a personal perspective and a brand strategy one.
Here are their responses:
Claude de Jocas, Research Associate
Although I was excited about Vine when it first launched, I only have 14 followers–uploading content feels like a waste of time. On the other hand, I’ve already connected with all of my closest friends on Instagram. I’ll be more likely to share videos there, because the platform has already scaled, and I think brands will adopt a similar attitude. Even Urban Outfitters, the most-followed brand on Vine in our 2013 Specialty Retail study, has almost 20x the reach on Instagram versus Vine.
Ari Wolfe, Research & Advisory Lead
It’s an interesting development, though I don’t know if it will drastically change my personal use of the platform. It’s not hard to take a picture that’s interesting or noteworthy. It’s a lot more difficult for the average Joe to produce video of the same caliber. Some brands will inevitably be better than others. Early adopters on Vine have run the gamut in terms of their content and I assume it will be the same here. Community sizes are significantly larger on Instagram so they have a leg up on Vine in that respect. However, people seem to love the platform and enjoy the 6-second limitation. It may be possible for both to co-exist, though if I worked for Vine I would be a little nervous.
Katherine Dillon, COO
All I can say is that Instagram turned my 12-year-old daughter into a photographer and now it will turn her into a videographer. Instagram is THE platform for the teen and pre-teen crowd.
Tarana Gupta, Tech/Design Intern
To be honest, I was wondering why Instagram didn’t step into video a long time ago. This might be bad news for Vine since Instagram’s communities are bigger than Vine’s (which is right now dominated by animators). Most of Instagram’s users are normal people like me, who want to get away with less effort and best results who will want to shoot their videos and photos in one place with the same followers.
Stasha Rosen, Research Lead
Companies will definitely be excited about the opportunity to flex their muscles and publish original branded video content. However, part of the appeal of the platform was the low investment required to simply snap a picture. Now, consumer expectations will be higher, and smaller brands, originally attracted to the platform for its ease and convenience, may find it harder to compete.
Aaron Bunge, Design Director
This will definitely enhance my use of Instagram, and after using the new video feature today I find it makes the app infinitely better. But the prospect of ads being inserted into my feed is disturbing (which has decreased my already low Facebook usage), however, as long as I’m not bombarded with ads I will continue to use Instagram. And sorry Vine, I used you for the first time today–only to compare with Instagram’s video feature–and I think InstaVideo will definitely decrease its use.
Sierra Schaller, Marketing & Events Director
I’m excited to see what The Sartorialist does. Video seems particularly poised to enhance Instagrams documenting travel, fashion and photography. Would love to see some inspired Fashion Week coverage come from a project with Garance Dore, too. Another account I’ll be watching is Saveur, since behind so many of their beautiful Instagrams is a killer test kitchen waiting to be explored. As for Vine, there is a generation of users there still figuring it out — I have seen an unfortunate number of straight 6-second videos. Instagram’s might be a more intuitive platform for those whose presence on social media has less to do with creativity and more to do with staying in touch with people they already know.
Liz Khoo, Operations Intern
Interesting that Instagram is going with a “longer,” non-looping video, which is already a more traditional ad format. With more air-time I’m sure brands will be trying to tell a more complete story. Most brands probably have a greater following on Instagram over Vine and might stop investing in content there–Burberry has nearly 850,000 Instagram followers vs 21,000 on Vine. Since both video apps plug into Twitter and other larger social outlets equally, I could certainly see this throwing a wrench in Vine’s growth.