Instagram ups the game with video

Video on Instagram

The stakes in the market for quick-video apps on mobile devices were raised a few bars yesterday with the release of a new version of Instagram that enables you to record video clips.

Twitter-owned quick-video app Vine captured imaginations when it launched earlier this year for iPhones with the ability it gives to anyone to record short six-second videos of anything their smartphone camera sees. Business-focused users were quick to see its potential in marketing communication, with many users telling some imaginative short stories in just six seconds.

Instagram ups the game with this release of its hugely-popular photo-sharing app for iOS and Android – Facebook-owned Instagram now hosts 16 billion photos for 130 million users worldwide – that adds video-recording capability alongside its core function of taking and sharing photos.

With the new software release, you can record fifteen-second video clips – that’s nine more seconds – including audio, and share those clips across the social web.

It’s almost a no-brainer to see how this new functionality will almost certainly have universal appeal. The ease of use is breath-taking: point your phone’s camera, tap and hold the video-record button, and shoot your video for up to 15 seconds. Then, add a filter if you wish – the new release includes new filters especially for video – and share. That’s it.

How easy is it? Take a look at my first two Instagram videos since I updated the app on my Samsung Galaxy SII smartphone earlier today:

Mr Tea CakeCool Xerox Ducati

Where I found Vine a little too fiddly and complex, Instagram video-making is simplicity itself. Just point and shoot!

Unquestionably, though there is space for both of these apps and perhaps others that may come along, especially given recent studies and reports that indicate the growing trend for video-creation and -sharing. And to understand what’s different about them – apart from the clip-length – TechCrunch has a simple comparison of Instagram and Vine.

The potential for imaginative brand communication and other aspects of marketing are huge. And Quartz magazine has an interesting perspective in its article published late yesterday entitled It’s no accident Facebook made Instagram’s new videos exactly as long as a television commercial:

[…] An Instagram with 15-second videos is right in the sweet spot for Facebook: It’s mobile, it’s video, and at that length, it means that advertisers can drop in their short television spots without even modifying them. This is an important but overlooked feature of online video ads, when compared to other kinds like banner and search: the ability to re-use the same creative on which advertisers have already spent so much money. That’s an extremely appealing advantage to ad buyers.

Hmm, maybe Facebook just changed the game, never mind upped it. And maybe 15, not 6 (and maybe not even 5), is the new 30 seconds.

While others speculate and wonder how Facebook is going to make money from Instagram, and Twitter from Vine, give the new Instagram a try yourself and see what you think -  grab the iOS or Android version from the iTunes Store and Google Play respectively.

I’ll be doing more. Perhaps a nice little video of my cat next…

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