This App Store Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us
Until last Friday, Vine was the most Tweeted video-sharing app worldwide. This made sense, after it was bought for $30 million and launched by Twitter back in January. But, since the addition of video to the ever-popular Instagram app, it seems there is another video-sharing tool in town, and it means business.
Opinions have been spouted by journalists, bloggers and photographers over the respective merits of each. Some are pledging their loyalty wholeheartedly to one app and waging war on patrons of the other, whilst others sit back and watch, bemused by the whole affair. Whether or not you feel impelled to back one over the other, it seems that there may not be room for both of these players in this video-sharing game. Who wins? Inexperienced video directors decide.
This debate could, and still might, be solved pretty easily just by looking at the numbers. Unfortunately, in this case the numbers aren’t entirely transparent and leave the race at a bit of a tie. Even though Instagram boasts 130 million users to Vine’s 13 million and claims that 1 billion likes are exchanged every day, app store charts don’t reflect this clear lead. Two and a half years after its launch, Instagram ranks as the 8th most popular free app in the iTunes chart, and 13th in the UK iPhone app store. It is also the 2nd most popular photo and video app in the UK iPhone app store, topped only by teen favourite Snapchat. Conversely, Vine is the 7th most popular app on iTunes and the 15th in the UK iPhone app store. That, more than anything, demonstrates the closeness of the contest. However, Vine has been clever with its categorising, as it has avoided competition with Snapchat in the photo and video chart by labelling itself as a social networking app. It is consequently the no.1 free social networking app in the UK iPhone app store.
You might say that this is not a fair contest, with Instagram not being exclusively a video-making tool, but the sheer amount of video content uploaded to the app in the past week has been staggering. It was reported that a year’s worth of video footage was shared within the first 8 hours of the launch and that 5 million video clips were uploaded in the first day. The uptake was so rapid that by day two, tweets containing links to Instagram surpassed those promoting Vine. The response over at Twitter HQ must have been cataclysmic, particularly as Instagram has been owned by Facebook since April last year. In less than a week, Vine-related tweets dropped from 2.9 million to 1.35 million, a loss so impressive we think it deserves to be illustrated in this lovely graph from Eli Langer:
Looking at this, Instagram should be more confident about their victory than Bill Gates is about having a few quid in the bank this month. But it won’t be entirely clear who the video champion is until the figures settle down after the big shake up. In the meantime, the world will have to amuse itself with clips of grumpy cats.
Battle of the Features: Instagram vs Vine
Although they may both be competing for the title of top video app, Instagram and Vine actually offer significantly different features. While the former was immediately available on both iOS and Android, and has a maximum recording time of 15 seconds, the latter only became available on Android this month and puts a 6 second limit on its clips. Instagram’s longer videos have been met with a mixture of praise and criticism, with cynics pointing out that 15 seconds can seem like a terribly long time when you’re being bored into submission. Further contrasts can be drawn between shooting styles; with Vine offering a tap-anywhere-to-record mode while its counterpart incorporates a large red recording button and a tap-to-focus feature. Some professional photographers have vehemently defended Vine as a high-quality tool and criticised Instagram’s filter features, which are likely to be the main source of its popularity. Nevertheless, the 13 new video-processing filters may serve to make some posts more watchable, just as they have previously turned millions of mediocre stills into hipster-friendly art snaps. Vine has also hinted that it will be implementing new editing features, presumably to compete with the effortless interface of its rival, but will have to come up with something pretty swish if it wants to keep its professional fans.
The Best of Both Apps
The only way to judge the quality and potential success of an app is to see it in action. To that end, we’ve picked the five most interesting posts we could find on Instagram and Vine, so you can decide which creates the most watchable, sharable content. Feel free to pass judgement in the comments section and, if you’ve seen something even better on either app, add your own links. Unfortunately, you will need to click on the title above each Vine snapshot to watch the video.
Vine #5: Tour of My Home
Vine #4: No Sunny Side
Vine #3: All Colour Everything
Vine #2: You’re a Wizard, Harry
Vine #1: The Paper Man’s Escape
Instagram #5: Kobe Bryant Walks Again
Instagram #4: Paris Hilton Impersonates a Christmas Tree
Instagram #3: Channing Tatum Dances
Instagram #2: Yoga World
Instagram #1: Madonna Gets Freaky
Posted by Rosie Tallant on 27th June, 2013