Vine vs. Instagram: Tips for Marketing Success with Short-Form Video


Over the last couple of months, short-form video has been all the rage. With the expansion of Vine onto the Android OS, and Instagram introducing video, its no surprise that more and more brands are using these tools to connect with consumers. But for marketers of SMBs, the idea of adding video into your marketing strategy can be intimidating. And with two large powerhouses in Vine and Instagram, which one is better for your brand?

Lets take a look at the benefits and differences of each platform, tips for how to incorporate video into your plan, and recommendations on video content.


Vine is the popular application owned by Twitter which allows users to share 6 second videos. It was recently released for Android, but before that it had already taken iOS by storm and was sitting at the top of the list for free apps in the App Store. There are more than 13M users already and between 1-2M Vines are posted to Twitter every day.


Instagram is the mobile application that allows users to share photos of their food, cats and even selfies. It was acquired by Facebook back in fall of 2012 and just announced the video feature in June. Instagram has more than 130M active users and in the first day Instagram Video was announced, more than 5M videos were shared.

Which platform is best for you?

It isnt as simple as one platform wins over the other. As Ron Schott, Head of Spring Creek UK, and others have said, there is time to try them both out to see if one does eventually win. However, if youre a busy marketer for an SMB, adding one or two more platforms to your content strategy can be overwhelming.

Here are a few differences between the platforms to consider:

  • Length of video: Vines are 6 seconds; Instagram Videos can be as long as 15 seconds.
  • Audience size: Vine is still considerably smaller with more than 13M while Instagram is the powerhouse with more than 130M. However, Vine has grown faster than Instagram, so dont rule them out yet.
  • Sharing: Vine videos can be shared to Twitter and Facebook. Instagram videos can be shared to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Email. Both platforms will now let you embed videos.
  • Editing Videos:
    • Instagram offers 13 different filters for videos. Vine does not offer filters at this time.
    • Instagram allows users to delete the last clip recorded in a video; Vine does not have this feature.
    • Instagram offers image stabilization, which Vine does not.

Video Tips

  • Vine and Instagram make it easy for anyone and everyone to create and share videos, but that doesnt mean videos should be done without thought and planning. Plan out the scenes before you start filming.
  • Reshoot the video if needed. Make sure you get it right and the final product is what you want to represent your brand.
  • The best short videos tell a story and stick to one main point. Dont try to fit too much into the 6 or 15 seconds.
  • Make sure you consider good videography techniques. Videos turn out best if you have good lighting and steady camera work.
  • Get creative with the content. If it would be better as just a photo, share it as a photo. Videos should be more creative and have unique content.
  • Pay attention to trends and incorporate current events into your short videos.
  • Incorporate short-form video into your overall editorial calendar and create complementary, but unique, content for the channel(s). Whether you decide to use Instagram, Vine or both, make sure you plan out the content in your editorial calendar.

Video Content Suggestions

Humanize the your brand

  • Employee intros and interviews
  • Show behind the scenes at your company
  • Share fun facts about your company and industry

Build Buzz

  • Sneak peak of new products
  • Promote upcoming events to build excitement
  • Announce a new service or product

Demonstrate Products & Services

  • Quick how-to videos
  • Quotes/sound bites from customers
  • Answer FAQs and common customer support issues

Connect with Customers

  • Respond personally to top fans
  • Encourage user generated content
  • Contests

If you decide to add short-form video into your marketing toolkit, whichever platform you use, remember to be strategic about how you use it. Develop a guiding strategy and channel recommendation for Vine and/or Instagram to complement content on other channels. Short-form video can be an effective way to tell your brands story and drive engagement. Your strategy should include goals, measurement, tactics, posting cadence and guidelines. It is important to know these details, and how you will use the channel before you dive in.

Are you using Vine or Instagram Video for your brand? What tips do you have for other marketers?

About the Author: Karianne Stinson

Karianne Stinson is Account Director at the new digital content creation agency, Mediabrands Publishing. Prior to Mediabrands Publishing, Karianne was Manager of Social Strategy and Planning with Seattle-based social marketing agency, Spring Creek Group. Karianne helps global and local brands create interesting content, manage their online presence, and grow their social communities.

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