Instagram’s Video Feature Could Be Its Advertising Downfall

Image: ABC News

Recently, Facebook announced that one of its new improvements for Instagram would be the addition of a video function. The video update would allow users to film a 15 second video with what I would like to call a “hipster filter.” Yesterday, the mobile app update became available on both iPhone and Android devices. Naturally, I downloaded it.

I have yet to film using this new feature, but my Instagram feed immediately began filling up with random videos. I like to think Facebook mainly did this to compete against Twitter’s Vine. A while ago, Twitter announced that Vine would become available for Android users via the Goolge Playstore. Within the first few days, Vine received more downloads than Instagram. My theory is that most Android users already had the Instagram app and were curious to try out the newly added Vine app, not necessarily because it’s a better app – they’re both good for different reasons.

I’m sure Facebook has had the video function in the works long before the addition of the Vine Android app, but its release date might prove to be a factor for downfall. The Vine app allows brands to showcase their company in a creative gif-like manner within the span of six seconds. Instagram video, on the other hand, allows a 15 second video. Now, when I initially saw this time frame, I thought it would be incredibly difficult for brands to think of a creative way to use it. Brands have been transitioning towards a more concise, outside of the box advertising, how could they possibly fill a whole 15 seconds?

After having coffee with a social media coordinator this morning, we both realized that 15 seconds is about the same duration as your average television ad. So, my question is, how will Instagram regulate the free ad time corporate Instagrams will begin to use? Will Instagram begin charging for video advertisements? How would they even regulate ads?

What initially seemed like a cool update for regular users will surely cause some advertising punches to Instagram corporate. Brands, on the other hand, will most likely rejoice for the free advertising outlet they can explore. But this also means that brands have to start generating their creative juices again because users are Instgram are not going to appreciate watching the same 15 second TV ad while they browse through the sea of food porn and outfits of the day.


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