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Vine vs. Instagram: The Mobile Showdown

Social media is designed to encourage self-expression, and the outlets for expressions are always evolving. Currently the fastest-growing outlet is the short, user-created video, which for most of 2013 was dominated by the Vine mobile app. However, Instagram’s recent move to incorporate videos onto its popular photo-sharing site has threatened Vine, and this rivalry has important implications for marketers.

The differences between the two platforms underscore the differences between the audiences who use them, and brands must make critical decisions when determining whom to target and what type of promotional material to create. Neither Vine nor Instagram is inherently better than the other, but one platform might be more appropriate for a certain situation.

Because of its larger consumer base, 15-second video capabilities, and partnership with Facebook, Instagram is viewed as the more ‘mainstream’ option. In contrast, Vine’s six-second video limit has helped cultivate an artistic niche crowd. It usually requires some unusual effects, concept, or execution in order to make a six-second video entertaining; thus, anyone trying to impress Vine users must show tremendous creativity.

That’s exactly what Dunkin Donuts did when they recently created a Vine video that used Dunkin coffee cups to cleverly mimic a play in that evening’s Redskins-Eagles Monday night football game. As the first company to use Vine for a self-contained ad, Dunkin Donuts took a considerable risk, and they may have ushered in a new way of advertising.

They could have theoretically created this clip on Instagram, of course, but they recognized that its uniqueness and artistic nature made it a better fit for Vine. In addition, the company wasn’t trying to convey any specific information to the audience; everyone is well aware of what Dunkin Donuts offers, and they were simply trying to capitalize on a real-time popular event to make their brand resonate more with consumers.

On the other hand, a more conventional advertisement might be better suited for Instagram. A video that wanted to emphasize products, features, and functionalities would have a better chance at getting that information across in a longer time frame and with an audience that puts less of a premium on creativity. All in all, brands must consider whether marketing on one of these video platforms is a prudent move, given the audiences who are likely to consume the material.

Both Vine and Instagram make it easier than ever for brands to create real-time marketing spots, just as Dunkin Donuts did. Where advertisers decide to go from here will be fascinating to watch.

Image: Flickr


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