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Social Media Spotlight: Vine vs. Instagram Video

By Natalie Benson, Social Media Coordinator

Are you Team Vine or Team Instagram Video? 



Update: Instgram now lets you upload previously recorded video. See the full details in Mashable's Instagram Video article.


This is a serious question, but does it really have to be one or the other? We'll explore both platforms in this post, and arm you with enough information to make your own decision. The social media team here at PBS feels that, even with the insurgence of Instagram video, both of these channels remain viable options for your social media strategy.

First, let’s get to the breakdown. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the different functionalities for each platform:


Aside from technical differences, there also exists a noticeable distinction between the communities surrounding both platforms. Instagram, launched in 2010, now has over 130 million users, enabling brands to reach more of the masses. Vine, introduced this past January, has amassed over 13 million users, but remains fairly niche. Plus, with Vine’s 15 new “channels,” brands now have an even better chance at reaching a specific target audience out of the artistic and creative user base they have acquired.

With the addition of Instagram video, Vine users are surprisingly more passionate about their platform of choice. #TeamVine is a trending hashtag and, after the Instagram Video announcement on June 20, people took to Vine, telling their followers they have no plans of jumping ship. It’s also worth noting that being #VineFamous is a legitimate label users strive for. KhoaPhan, who had no official education in arts, took a liking to Vine, started posting amazing videos, got noticed by Mashable, and more than 50,000 followers later, is now contracted out by big brands like MTV and Snapple for his work.

One major point to note is that Instagram remains a picture sharing platform–first. Video can be somewhat of an afterthought, and if a brand turns its video’s auto-play function to off, a follower could quite easily scroll through their feed and never see anything past the cover photo. Even with videos set to auto-play, each one has a lag before it starts, which can again cause someone to misinterpret a video as just an image. On Vine, however, you know what you’re getting–videos–so naturally you stop on each and wait for the playback (which appears to load quicker since it’s just six seconds).

Some have argued Instagram video is more suitable for brands to use in promotions, especially with the longer 15 second limit. While neither allow you to save video to finish/upload later, or upload previously recorded video, a couple have found ways around the restrictions and have premiered movie trailers for their followers. Check out this Wolverine trailer posted on Vine, and this Jobs trailer posted on Instagram.

In comparison, Vine content appears more creative and quirky as a whole. Plus, on-going story lines are very common. Perhaps you can propose a four-part story, and then spice it up even more by continuing that same story on someone else’s account, or an organization that you have partnered with?

One thing PBS experimented with is cross-promoting on both Instagram and Vine. We haven’t seen any push-back with posting a behind-the-scenes picture on Instagram encouraging followers to go check out our latest Vine, and vice-versa. Let that be food for thought in your strategies.


So how do you decide?


Do you desire a larger potential audience, with editing capabilities during production or a more passionate, niche audience that is hungry for video content? We recommend setting your campaign objectives and goals first before looking at which platform will suit you best. And if your strategy includes Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram AND Vine, then so be it.

Don’t take our word for it–check out these articles for more information on this hot topic:
TechCrunch - Vine Fights Instagram With Biggest App Update Yet

Are you using Vine, Instagram Video, or both? Share with us in the comments! And share your Vine and Instagram accounts, and PBS will follow you back!

If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, please feel free to contact Kevin Dando (@kdando) or Natalie Benson (@NatalieNBenson) by emailing pbsi_stationservices@pbs.org with the subject "Social Media".