A new battle in the war of social media networks

How will the social world react to Instagram’s free 15 second video sharing feature?

On Thursday, 20 June 2013, Facebook unveiled a new feature for its Instagram platform, which placed Facebook on the front foot in the war of winning social media content.  Since paying $1 billion to acquire the photo sharing site in April 2012, Facebook has kept its powder dry by only making a few cosmetic changes to the free service.  However, this week they moved up a gear by announcing that Instagram users will now be able to record up to 15 seconds worth of video on their smartphones, and share the content free of charge with the 100 million plus registered users of the application.

The move will certainly put a few noses out at Twitter and Google in their Californian HQs.  Twitter felt they had cornered the short video app market when they acquired Vine back in October 2012 (amazingly after just  three months since its creation) which enables users to record and share six second videos.  Google will almost certainly be locked in their famous Google Labs working on the ability to be able to record live video directly onto the YouTube platform which has majority of market share when it comes to video platforms.

The format of short video is very attractive to advertisers and allows them to deliver short, punchy campaigns that can be shared easily at virtually no cost.  Viral campaigns are always the ultimate goal for social media marketing campaigns and the introduction of the Instagram application strengthens the opportunity and ultimately audience for its messaging.

However, it isn’t all good news for brands looking to exploit social media channels.  Instant video means that there is no control over what people are saying (or recording) about a brand.  Just like positive brand messages and campaigns can quickly “go viral”, so too can negative sentiment-based video.  And with little protection for a brand owner in this area, knowing what people are saying about a company can be almost impossible to monitor. However brands can still ensure a brand protection strategy is built into their social media monitoring, for example, brands can monitor the text associated with uploaded videos.

Social Media monitoring is still in its infancy but progressing very quickly.  There doesn’t seem to be a week that passes by, without a new hot app being launched. And without the need to comply with standards seen in traditional forms of advertising, social media is a risky channel to market, but one that is worth the risk if implemented with a clear strategy.


Written by Stuart Fuller, Director of Commercial Operations and Communications

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