Video On Instagram Draws Mixed Reaction

Facebook’s introduction of Video on Instagram Thursday and its potential impact on Twitter-owned video-sharing application Vine drew mixed reactions from the social media industry and media.

Facebook’s introduction of Video on Instagram Thursday and its potential impact on Twitter-owned video-sharing application Vine drew mixed reactions from the social media industry and media.

Gartner Technology Analyst Brian Blau told CNBC:

It will be monetized in the future, whether Facebook says so or not — it will be something that they can target ads against. It’s going to be about revenue later, but a public company like Facebook can’t forgo revenue forever.

Forrester Research analyst Nate Elliot shared a different view with CNBC:

I don’t think this has anything to do with advertising. It’s about getting more users on board and keeping existing users on the platform. The data generated is more important for Facebook to make money from Instagram. Those data can be used in future business models.

The fact that Facebook is constantly evolving — this is how you keep from being overthrown. This dual strategy of innovating on its own but constantly looking for good ideas — it’s a strategy that has worked very well for it.

Vine has some users, and all data show that it’s gaining some traction, but hundreds of millions of people have Instagram. Facebook is adding utility, adding capability. I don’t think users want to have 100 different networks for things like that.

Jordan Crook of TechCrunch shared the following chart that compares Video on Instagram and Vine head-to-head:

John C. Dvorak of PC Magazine made his opinion obvious from the get-go by titling his post, “Why Instagram Videos Stink.” He wrote:

These Instagram videos are 15-second videos, which is actually long since most will be vapid and no one should have to suffer though anything longer.

At the announcement yesterday, the audience was shown a short video that consisted of clips of a guy making a coffee drink. How riveting! My idea of a crazy Saturday night is watching some guy steam milk and pull a shot from a huge machine. Look for videos of fascinating escalators next.

The question on my mind now is what is going to happen with all of these 15-second videos of pooping dogs, skateboarding tricks, children dropping ice cream cones, and pretty much any banal thing you can think of.

I would like to advise everyone to stay away from this soul-sucking idea. Run and hide. Shake your fist and shout at people making inane videos. I hope this is the beginning of the end for Facebook, but somehow I reckon it isn’t.

Analytics provider Topsy shared the following charts illustrating search activity for the terms “Instagram video” and “video on Instagram,” with the first chart depicting Monday through Wednesday, and the second offering a detailed look at Thursday:

Rob Jewell, CEO of Spruce Media, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, said:

From a user standpoint, it’s a smart move. There’s clearly a demand for lightweight video sharing (not YouTube), and with Vine showing 13 million active users, it’s starting to hit a tipping point.

From a timing standpoint, it’s the right time for Instragram to make a play in lightweight video sharing. It took Instagram more than one year to get to 13 million users (where Vine is today). The year following this, Instagram grew to more than 100 million users. If Vine were to follow that growth rate over the next year with no competition, Instagram would miss the boat.

Facebook is sitting on a sleeping giant in video advertising. We believe that in 2014, Facebook will make a big play in video advertising, and while it is already sitting on a tremendous amount of video, adding video in Instagram would surely increase that inventory significantly.

If Facebook wants Instagram to stay advertising-free, it could simply insert video ads into any Instragram videos that were posted to Facebook.

Mo Al Adham, CEO of mobile video app and site Telly, added:

We think it’s great. Telly has always been a big fan of Instagram, and we’re looking forward to more great video UGC (user-generated content) created on Instagram. Since Telly is a social curation platform of the best video from any source online, our value increases as a platform increases as more companies host and syndicate video. We look forward to eventually including Instagram alongside the 150-plus video sites we support on Telly.

Craig Elimeliah, vice president of creative technology at customer experience agency Rapp, said:

How will this affect the mobile experience? Instagram video will allow for a much more native, nonlinear form of storytelling for mobile users. Instagram has intertwined storytelling functionality with richer, emotional context, which will allow for a creatively charged user base to share thoughts, while keeping the necessary brevity in mind for a mobile device.

How will brands use Instagram video? Like its predecessor, the Instagram picture, Instagram video is a real-time snapshot of life. A great way for a brand to leverage the platform at an event like South by Southwest would be to capture moments in a digestible format and broadcast them out as packets of real-time communications that are unique to that particular venue.

What opportunities will this unearth for video advertising? The new Instagram short-form video format is both the content and the ad all in one. No need to worry about inserting ads before or after; the post is the ad, now complete with the filters that made Instagram famous.

Readers: What is your early reaction to Video on Instagram? David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.