Comedians Will Save Vine. Sorry, Instagram.

July 12, 2013

Collective Measures
Basically, Vine is here to stay, and so is Instagram. What does this mean for marketers?

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vine vs instagram

Ever since Instagram launched its long-rumored 15-second video feature, hundreds and hundreds of articles have been published attempting to analyze and predict how the two micro-video platforms will be able to live in-tandem with each other (yeah yeah yeah, this is one of them). And as of now, the jury is still out (from a data standpoint) on the effect Instagram video has already had on Vine user activity. But for digital marketers, it’s fascinating and important to watch how users respond because (as with all consumer behavior) social media user behavior isn’t an instantaneous change.

Twitter’s Vine has built massive scale over the past six months, actually out-pacing the initial adoption-rate of Facebook’s Instagram. And while adding video capability to Instagram was surely in the long-term vision for the platform, its roll-out to users was absolutely expedited in response to Vine. Unfortunately for Instagram purists, during the past six months, Vine has accrued a plethora of enamored Vine devotees in the form of established and newly-discovered comedians, actors, artists, musicians, and entertainers, who are especially devoted to the platform, even in lieu of Instagram’s video release.

The reason? 15 seconds is too long.

Yezzir/mams, that’s right. With its ultra-micro time constraint of 6 seconds, Vine has unleashed a new medium of comedy, art and visual expression, which users are forced to more creatively and cleverly craft because of the brief time-frame. Talent agencies have even popped up specifically looking to discover new talent on Vine. For Instagram, upping the ante to 15-second videos may have seemingly, superficially, “won” the micro-video platform battle simply by adding more time; “Vine is dead” was trending on Twitter the day Instagram video was released. But as the cliché goes, more doesn’t always mean better. Case in point, the longer time-frame has become parody material for Vine comedians, teasing that 15 seconds is too much time to get your point (or joke) across. In fact, they are so dedicated to Vine, that they are actively campaigning against Instagram. 

Simon Rex: 879,000 Vine Followers

Took to Instagram the day its video feature was announced to declare his loyalty to Vine.

Will Sasso: 1.1 Million Vine followers

Took a Vine, of his Instagram video, to display how the longer format doesn’t work for comedy.

What does this mean for marketers?

Ahhhh, good question, person reading this! Basically, if Vine-devoted comedians with millions of followers continue to produce micro-content on Vine, then those millions of followers will continue to be on Vine, making it another unique medium for brands and marketers to connect with their audience. Some brands have even taken notice of the exploding Vine comedy scene and have partnered with these established and newly-discovered Vine comedians for content. A few days ago, Virgin Mobile USA handed the reigns to their Vine account to Vine comedians/impressionists Vincent Marcus and Curtis Lepore. Here’s Marcus’ first Vine (doing a spot-on Russell Brand impression) kicking off the Virgin Mobile USA takeover: 

Basically, Vine is here to stay, and so is Instagram. Both platforms have unique attributes that will allow them to coexist with each other because social media users can use both in different capacities. And things can and will change, over time. As new features are rolled out on both platforms, sentiment towards one or the other will sway (we all remember the backlash of Instagram’s privacy policy change last year). So for Vine, the seemingly “at risk” player here, as long as Vine comedians continue to fuel new user adoption and active user rates, there will continue to be an opportunity for brands and marketers to connect with their audience(s). 

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