Brands Tune Into Instagram Video Channel, But Keep It Vine-Short

When Instagram rolled out its 15-second videos only a couple of months ago, its greatest initial flaw was that it wasn’t Vine. At twice the video length, Instagram seemed to me an open invitation for brands to extend onto my phone one of the most tedious and familiar formats of the last century -- the 15-second spot. And indeed there is some of that going on. But I am glad to see that many marketers are taking these early reservations to heart and trying to be more creative. I have stuck with the NowThisNews video news channel, for instance, which is keeping a good flow of well-edited info bytes.

Social analytics company Simply Measured recently reported that a number of companies are already experimenting with Instagram video. In its survey of the top 100 brands, 26 were using Instagram video in August -- up from only 16 in July. The number of videos posted by these brands also more than doubled, from 42 to 86.

Reviewing some of the best postings for August, Simply Measured called out MTV’s use of real-time behind-the-scenes posts from the Video Music Awards. It reached an audience of 1.6 million and engaged 42,490 people. MTV has also been using the NowThisNews approach for its MTVNews franchise, by posting slide shows with headline overlays as news posts.

Nike did an impressive lighting quick montage of athletic prowess to illustrate its Just Do It tagline, which reached 2.1 million and engaged over 100,000 users. It sort of made me wish for a slow-mo button, though.

A cool Ralph Lauren video last month went backstage at the brand’s girls’ fashion to show how to make a “stable braid.” It was a great example of making the content valuable…and adorable to boot.

To be sure, brands are still scrambling to find the forms that really map well against the platform, but I noticed that a good many of them are not using all 15 seconds. It turns out that in the rapid-fire world of a scroll on a cell phone, 15 seconds is an eternity. If you don’t really have a story to tell, even visual pyrotechnics become tedious after seven or eight seconds. 

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