Instagram Video: Famous for 15 seconds?


We know everybody has been talking about video, but this time we’re specifically talking about the rise of social short-form video. Here are a few examples from the past year: the rising success of new sites and blogs embedding video to drive huge spikes of traffic, users spending a staggering 24 billion minutes a month on Tumblr alone mostly due to amusing .gif animations, the launch of Twitter’s popular video app Vine and Snapchat’s video recording option are just a few examples of an increasing appetite for not only watching video content but also uploading it to document our lives in motion.

Facebook confirmed that today is it unveiling Instagram’s new video-sharing capabilities – for those of you that missed the announcement it’s worth watching Robin, our Global MD, summarising the news in the form of an Instagram video (or our team in NY experimenting with the format).

“It’s everything we love about Instagram, but it moves,” said Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom. This decision comes from the exponential growth since the app launched in 2010 with now 130 million users every month and 1 billion likes a day.

They have revealed that the app will now allow you to record a short video for up to 15 seconds, a decision based on a mixture of customer research plus the estimated time it takes to lose interest and bore your time poor friends.

It is not a hugely surprising move following the recent report that Vine footage has passed the total Instagram shares on Twitter. This is quite a big deal. According to Topsy analytics, there were 2.14 million links to Instagram over 24-hour period, compared with a staggering 2.37 million links to Vine.

This of course suggests that it’s easier for Twitter users to use a tool inside its own platform, perhaps the reason Twitter included it’s own filter tool also. This was perhaps a warning sign to Instagram that they’ll need to ramp up their offering for their users to justify leaving other platforms to use and share content uploaded on the platform itself.

So what about filters? This is Instagram’s more iconic feature and has been a much-speculated talking point. The good news is they are still making sure the quality of uploaded content is filtered, however this is now in two ways: 1) they have partnered with a video artist to create 13 custom filters (all new names) to place over the videos 2) they have also teamed up with the world’s leading video scientists in order to turn shaky videos into ‘cinema’. To take everyday content and make it beautiful is clearly still a main ambition for Instagram.

Another new functionality is that you can also select the frame you want to be the cover frame in the feed once you’ve recorded your video. The only real difference between knowing if the content is an image or a video is the little camera image in the top right hand side of the image. This makes the integration smoother than we might have first expected meaning our newsfeeds are becoming more of a mixture between image and video, an ongoing trend we can see spreading across the web.

For brands, this is another exciting avenue to explore in content rich social strategies. With Facebook revealing their new hashtag feature early this week, plus this new addition to Instagram, the way in which Brands can listen and engage with consumers has significantly extended.

We can now dip into a much a wider territory relating to our brands and competitors. We are now able to track user trends and habits, team up with leading artists with influential followings on Instagram and find ways to connect with our audiences through not just stunning imagery but incredibly shareable short-form video. Instagram have just created a situation where users will be tempted to over-share moments of their lives that little bit more. It’ll be interesting to monitor this behavioural shift of consumers increasingly becoming creators.