UPDATE: July 10, 2013
Perhaps you remember the war between Facebook and Twitter over who would win the bidding over Instagram? Some billion dollars later, Facebook took ownership of Instagram, immediately catapulting its user base. During an international press conference at Facebook Headquarters, Instagram announced its new video capability. This 100 million person network now enjoys the capability of sharing video and activities that were once limited to video sharing sites like Vimeo and Vine.
Generally speaking, Facebook has landed in the video-sharing game relatively late. Sites that were already dedicated to video sharing alone were well established with significant user bases that continue to use these platforms. While social media enthusiasts waited for Facebook to incorporate video sharing capabilities, Twitter came on aggressive with Vine, offering social media users what they had been waiting for. Now, the most important step is differentiating Instagram’s new capabilities from its competitors. Vine was already a step ahead of the curve in terms of mobile, showcasing applications for iPhone and Android mobile devices and a user base of more than 10 million.
Facebook, weary of being viewed as a copycat, had to create a way to share video that was distinct from Vine and other video sharing sites. The acquisition of Instagram, and now its new video capabilities, took a giant step in overcoming such boundaries. Instagram is citing its clean layout and design as a more user-friendly experience for those who use Facebook regularly for photo sharing and want an easy transition to sharing video. What’s more, Instagram works seamlessly through and with Facebook, and most loyal Facebook users will engage in the products it puts forth.
Now, Instagram is crushing Vine in sheer numbers. As recently as June 13th, Vine ranked #1 in downloaded free apps, largely due to its mobile compatibility with Android and iPhone devices. Less than ten days after the release of Instagram’s video sharing feature on June 20th, Vine video shares on Twitter plummeted, while Instagram video numbers were in the millions. By July 3rd, Vine released a new update as part of its “Thank you to our community” campaign, enabling more functionality and private sharing of videos. Some speculate that the new update only hurt Vine by adding clutter to an already sinking ship, but experts remind many that the app market is fickle.