Facebook Launches Video on Instagram, Giving Twitter a Run for Its Money

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Pamela Vaughan
Pamela Vaughan



instagram-screenshot-2Twitter beware. During today's much-anticipated Facebook announcement, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom took the stage and announced 'Video on Instagram' -- a new feature that is sure to give Twitter's Vine a run for its money. According to Systrom, video on Instagram is "the same Instagram we all know and love ... but it moves." 

Perfectly aligning with Instagram's mission to "capture and share the world's moments," the new feature offers a simple, beautiful, community-driven approach to recording and sharing video content. And with Instagram's 130 million users to Vine's measly 13 million, it definitely has a leg up on the competition. 

Video on Facebook-owned Instagram is available today on both iPhone (iOS 5.0 or later) and Android (4.1 or later). Just download the latest version of Instagram to get started.

We'll give you the skinny on Instagram's new video feature below. (I, for one, am pretty excited about it.) But first, check out this overview video:

Introducing Video on Instagram from Instagram on Vimeo.

The Scoop on Instagram Video

Here what Video on Instagram has going on. You can also learn more from the Q&A in Instagram's Help Center.


15 Seconds of Video 

With Instagram, you can record up to 15 seconds of video (though it must be at least 3 seconds). This more than doubles Vine's 6-second recording threshold.

Stop and Go Recording

Similar to Vine, Instagram allows you to record a series of shorter clips to fill the 15-second limit. 


The Ability to Delete Clips

Unlike Vine, Video on Instagram enables you to delete the last recorded clip in your series of clips. While it's not super sophisticated (for instance, you cannot rearrange clips or delete/replace clips in the middle), it's definitely a step up from Vine. If your last clip was awful, no need to re-record the entire video -- just delete and re-record the last clip!

Brand New Custom Filters

Just like the photo filters we all know and love, Instagram has rolled out 13 brand new custom filters designed just for video, so you can customize the look and feel of your videos. 


Ability to Choose a Custom Still Frame

Prior to sharing, you also have the option of choosing a custom still frame rather than defaulting to the video's first frame. This enables you to give viewers a great first impression of your awesome new video.

No Looping Videos

While Vine videos play on a loop, Instagram videos play once and don't loop. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom emphasizes this is designed to make video on Instagram fast, simple, and beautiful.

Cinematic Stabilization

Video on Instagram also comes with a cool new feature called Cinema, which automatically stabilizes shaky recordings. This feature is on by default, but you can turn it off if you are using iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 devices. If you have those devices, you can turn it off by tapping the  button.

The Same Sharing Interface and Feed

Users will recognize the same share screen they're already familiar with, and they have the same options to share videos that they've always had with photos.

Videos appear in users' feeds just as photos do, and they are easy to differentiate from photos because they have the video icon in the top right corner.

No Out-of-the-Box Embed Options

Unlike Vine, there is unfortunately no out-of-the-box ability to embed a video that's been shared through Instagram. This is perhaps the biggest weakness of Instagram videos, and it seems like a huge lost opportunity to cater to brands. If you know a little code, it's not too difficult to hack the video embed, but it will definitely limit the reach and shareability of Instagram videos as a whole. It may even give brands reason to choose Vine over Instagram for short video sharing, since they'll want the ability to easily embed video content to their website, blog, etc., and Vine videos are already easy to embed. Hopefully, this feature is something Instagram will add in the near future.

What Marketers Should Know 

There is of course the obvious marketing takeaway here regarding the emphasis on visual content in social media. We could also give you some advice for creating short videos for your brand and provide some ideas for videos you can create. But as you can see through the links I just shared, the same tips from Vine pretty much apply to videos on Instagram, too, so we've already got that covered.

I think the most interesting thing about this story has to do with the Facebook-Twitter rivalry, and how this fills a hole in Facebook's set of feature offerings. The acquisition of Instagram was already a huge step in the right direction for Facebook, and now that it's providing video to those 130 million Instagram users, it will really be a force to be reckoned with on the video front. These updates also emphasize the pattern we keep seeing, in which social networks are slowly morphing into clones of each other -- highlighting a huge opportunity for social media disruption

What do you think of video on Instagram? What implications does it have for marketers like you?

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