Video Apps: The Future of Social Media Marketing

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Pic: Mr T in DC

It’s pretty clear the future of social media is increasingly involving video – but what does that mean for content marketing?

Now is the time for your brand to find its feet in video marketing in order to be ready for the onset of web consumers moving towards social video. And with Instagram’s announcement today that it can now facilitate video sharing as well as photos, users don’t even have to change their media consumption habits to be a part of the video onslaught.

As far as must-have apps go, there’s no clear leader at this stage. (Doesn’t it hark back to the days when xanga, livejournal and myspace were all competing to dominate social blogging? Cute.) But with dozens of apps, where should you start?

Analysts have been jumping to call out Instagram’s move towards monetisation ever since it was bought over by Facebook. Their announcement overnight that it will now facilitate video may just be a harbinger of sponsored advertising posts in the future of the world’s most popular photo sharing app. Users can film three to 15 seconds of footage, add one of 13 filters, cut out unwanted clips and add image stabilisation. It’s going to kill something, but will Vine or Tout bear the brunt of Instagram’s weight?

Vine

Twitter has pushed its own Vine app as the best option for easily consumed, six-second gif-like clips that feature both video and audio. Predictably, it doesn’t play nice with Facebook, with no sharing or integration options, including finding Facebook friends that use Vine. It’s all too simple to come to the conclusion that Vine will be steamrolled by Instagram’s new video capacity, but it’s just as likely that long-time Instagram users may get annoyed by video in their feeds.

Cinemagram

Cinemagram is unique in that it allows users to freeze some parts of the image to spectacular effect. It’s the most visually compelling of the smaller-format video apps, but its audience isn’t as strong, with its market share amongst American iPhone users nearly halving to 0.69% between November 2012 and April this year.

Lightt

Vine is a huge threat to this similar sharing platform, especially since Vine’s twitter integration makes it more user-friendly. Lightt allows longer videos – up to ten seconds – but is that too much for the micro-sized attention span of smartphone consumers?

Keek

Users can post videos up to 36 seconds, and much like Instagram, can follow, share and respond to others’ posts. Celebrity endorsement and more than $30 million in funding have given Keek an enviable boost to its reach – and its investors would have been pleased to note that it built up 45 million users by June 2013. (In comparison, Vine only had 13 million users at the same point.) And while some other platforms are only just now reaching Android, Keek is already available on iOS, Android, Blackberry, and desktop, with rumours of a Windows Phone app in the works as well.

Tout

This app owes it hype largely to one of its key investors: Shaquille O’Neal. Without audio, Tout seems similar to Vine, but with 15-second videos instead of looping gifs. It claimed to have 23 million users last year, but current statistics seem to be unavailable. When our founder Woj reviewed it early last year, he predicted that it wouldn’t last the test of time. But with America’s ABC News, BBC Tech, and the Wall Street Journal broadcasting exclusive content via the app, so far it seems there’s plenty of life in Tout yet.

Viddy

Where Keek has the Kardashians on board, Viddy has Justin Bieber. It’s a clean-cut system that shares the 15-second format with Tout, allowing users to add filters and music to clips. Despite its clean design, key downfalls include an inability to record audio, and to import videos from a phone’s camera roll. And though it boasted 31 million active users in May 2012, that number has since dramatically imploded: just 660,000 people are now active on the app.

Mobli

As a photo and video platform, Mobli is trying to knock Instagram off its pedestal with a #mylastinstagram campaign. It’s trying so hard that it flew a plane over Facebook’s headquarters in March flying a banner announcing the launch of mylastinstagram.com. With the support of David Arquette and Paris Hilton, and the investment of Leonardo Dicaprio, it may just succeed. Apart from also allowing you to post photos, Mobli’s differentiating feature is the way it spreads your reach by feeding posts into channels by subject. But last year it only had 2 million users, putting it eons behind the leaders of the pack.

What’s best for marketing?

In terms of brand usage, Tout and Vine have so far seen the largest takeup by brands and news outlets. They both have clean user interfaces, and their users seem to support a culture of quality content. But because neither app can take existing videos from a smartphone’s camera roll, their capacity for marketing can be limited.

For sharing across the web, Cinemagram’s fascinating format is more likely to go viral – but the app is similar enough to Vine for it to be at risk of being steamrolled by Twitter.

Time will tell, but for the moment, there’s no harm in getting your brand ready for the wave of micro-videos that will define the next era in social networking.

Can’t get enough of gifs? Check out GIF-iti, street art that can only be viewed completely online:

GIF-iti by street artist INSA.

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