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Instagram and Vine: Who has the better e-commerce tool?

August 4, 2014

Instagram and Vine have each emerged on the e-commerce market as visual story telling solutions that allow users to quickly and easily send messages to their followers through pictures and videos.

Instagram and Vine have each emerged on the e-commerce market as visual story telling solutions that allow users to quickly and easily send messages to their followers through pictures and videos. The similarity between the apps – including the fact that Instagram released a video-feature five months after the emergence of video-focused Vine – has them primed for a potential e-commerce marketing war. The fact that each Instagram and Vine are owned by rival social networking giants Facebook and Twitter, respectively, only adds fuel to the hypothetical fire. Businesses can easily take advantage of each in their marketing campaigns, but is one better than the other?

The Instagram basics
?Instagram was created by Stanford University students Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and sold to Facebook 18 months later for $1 billion in 2012, according to The Daily Mail. The free application began as a photo editing and sharing solution and sold before ever making a single dollar in profit thanks to its expansive user base at the time.

Instagram entered into the video sharing realm shortly after Vine emerged, according to Practical eCommerce. Though the company was new to the medium, it had branding potential and a massive user base by the time Vine had become a social media player. Videos showed up in users’ feeds just as seamlessly as photos, which was not the case for Vines in Twitter feeds.

Instagram has proven easier for companies who want more than the six seconds Vine provides to communicate their message – Instagram’s video length limit is 15 seconds. 

A Vine explanation
Three months after Vine launched as a free iOs app in January 2013, it became the most downloaded free app, according to Practical eCommerce. Before the launch, it sold to Twitter for a fraction of Instagram’s price tag – $30 million. The short, looped six second bursts of video proved immensely popular and as of now, the application has over 40 million users.

Since then companies such as Lowes and Oreo have taken to Vine’s short and easy six second messaging to advertise. While Instagram advertisements can be more fully fleshed out, those posted on Vine are often quick, easy to follow tidbits of advice or messages.

Which one is better?
As far as downloads go, Instagram is the clear winner. The app is still one of the top three downloads across iOs and Android devices. Vine, meanwhile, has actually had its downloads slow since its frenzied beginnings. It currently ranks outside the top 20 for downloads as the video-sharing app faces competition from similar apps such as Snapchat.

In addition, Instagram has far outpaced Vine in terms of active users – Instagram claims 200 million active users. Daily users are a different story though, and this is where Vine may have an advantage over Instagram in terms of its user base.

Vine claims 12 million videos uploaded per day. The problem is this can’t be directly compared with Instagram’s statistics since the company doesn’t release video data. However, Instagram’s 75 million daily users upload 60 million photos daily. The issue is that most businesses’ branding efforts are focused on the video component of Instagram.

Instagram also holds an advantage over its competitor in terms of word-of-mouth advertising surrounding the respective apps. According to Practical eCommerce, research shows that Instagram is the more talked about video-sharing service. However, in terms of the positive versus negative discussions, Vine wins out. The positive-to-negative ratio for Vine is 8:1 as opposed to 6:1 for Instagram.

Practical eCommerce recommends Instagram as the app with more time to work with, more flexibility and a wider audience base. However, that doesn’t mean Instagram will hold the advantage in every situation. It is up to the advertiser to decide which medium will provide the best results. 

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