Video at the Corner of Instagram and Vine

Instagram and VineToday Instagram, Facebook’s insanely popular photo-sharing app, launched a video feature. It’s a clear response to Vine’s growing popularity (in June, more Vines than Instagrams were shared on Twitter, and brands are increasingly using Vine to reach consumers). Like Vine, Instagram has made creating and sharing bite-sized video snippets simple. And Vine is responding with new features of its own.

There are a few differences, some significant. For example, it captures 15 seconds versus Vine’s 6 seconds of video, and it allows editing of clips. As with photos, the user can apply filters to enhance the video content. The “Cinema” feature – stabilization – lets you create more professional-looking video with less camera motion. A big difference for a brand is this: the user can select the preview image, so that you can merchandise the video with a preview image more likely to draw clicks. That’s important. But Vine will surely close that gap shortly.

As sharing bite-sized video becomes as popular as sharing tweets, statuses and photos, the big question is this: how should brands and retailers respond? There’s both a short and a long view.

First, the longer view. Competition between Instagram and Vine to own the “video tweet” is further evidence that the  transition to a video-filled consumer experience is underway. Video will soon be 90% of Web traffic, but many sites (outside of YouTube and other media sites) still have images and text as the dominant form of content. That’s especially true of e-commerce sites. It’ll take a lot of video content to change that. Some of that content will come from apps like Instagram and Vine, some will be professionally produced, some will be user-generated, and some will come from sources we’ve not yet imagined. Brands and retailers can’t be left out.

In the shorter view, brands and retailers need to do two things. First, start creating a lot more video content. Don’t just think homepage video – think of video to assist shoppers at the category and product level as well as after the sale. (After all, research shows that 55% of consumers watched video on a product page in the past three months, vs 42% on the homepage). Many are already thinking that way, as a recent Multichannel Merchant report found that video is the top priority for retailers over the next 12 months.

Second, get that content into the marketplace through all channels to reach your consumers. Encourage your consumers to comment on it, interact with it, and respond to it with Vines and Instagrams of their own.

Even Instagram – a billion-dollar business built on sharing static images – now acknowledges that static images are no longer enough. “Video everywhere” is just around the corner. Are you ready to keep up with a world that requires creating video content at Web scale?

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