Which Social Video Platform Is the Best for Your Business?

It’s Vine vs. Instagram in the great video showdown of 2013

If you love the artsy brevity of Vine videos—but struggle with finding ways to jam shots of your jewels into its 6.5-second format—you might want to consider a new product from one of social media’s most popular names. Instagram, the ubiquitous mobile photography app, recently launched a video service, Instagram Video, offering 15-second video functionality with full-on editing capabilities.

Moving into video is an organic evolution for the social juggernaut, and also a strategic response to Vine’s brisk ascension. “Instagram saw the adoption of Vine and wanted to break into that,” says Steve Garfield, author of the video-in-social-media–themed book Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business. But ultimately: “Instagram came out with video because they were tired of hearing competitors called ‘the Instagram of video.’?”

Lower Stakes

Vine allows users to create short videos that are edited as they’re being created (thumb on the screen to film; thumb off to stop). Instagram Video, by contrast, offers a generous clip length. But the new app’s standout feature is the flexibility to reshoot the most recently shot clip. “In Vine, if you make a mistake, it’s too bad,” says Garfield. You can’t, ­however, delete the second clip in an Instagram series without first deleting the fourth and third.

More Visual Options

Both apps offer front- and rear-facing camera functionality, though neither will let you drag video from your camera into the app to play in a clip. Facebook-owned Instagram is known for its innovative, photo-enhancing filters. So it’s no surprise that its video app offers 13 brand-new filters, allowing users to customize the look of their videos. And, like Instagram photos, videos are square in shape—a camcorder icon differentiates them within an Instagram stream.

Still, Vine may be the artsier of the two apps. Users love the challenge of creating art within the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it time constraints. And, because Vine videos loop on playback—lending them a GIF-like quality—they “allow producers to be more creative,” contends Garfield. But if being a viral video auteur isn’t on your to-do list, ­Instagram Video is the more forgiving product. Its longer format and editing capabilities make it a natural for companies looking to pack as many product points as possible into each clip.

Less Immediate

The time it takes to start shooting on Vine is quicker, cutting down on that annoying lag in photo apps where it feels like the lens may or may not open. And in playback, “Vine is more quick-fire,” says Garfield. “Instagram seems to offer a little two-second buffer waiting for you to pause there in your stream before it plays.” Fans of Instagram Video love its Cinema feature, which stabilizes video as it’s shot.

Wider Sharing

In terms of shareability, Instagram has the slight edge. Where Vine lets users share videos only on Vine, Facebook, and Twitter, Instagram allows users to share on Facebook, Twitter, ­Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare, as well as through email. Of course, the Twitter-owned Vine displays instantly on a Twitter feed. Both video apps let users geo-tag their locations, but ­Instagram boasts a photo map to let users surf based on locale—a big bonus for ­retailers perennially looking to be found.