By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)
TechCrunch reports that Instagram will be getting video support as of June 20th. Of course, this is huge news for the entire mobile video world. The first app that will be affected by this news, assuming it’s true, is of course Vine. Vine is a video sharing app owned by Twitter that enables users to share six second video clips, the same way Twitter enables short text of 140 characters.
Vine, at least from the market’s perspective has been received with open arms and people seem to love it. As for the user experience of Vine, that is a completely different story, and that is where Zuckerberg and Instagram can and should jump in.
Here are the points that Zuckerberg should focus on if Instagram is indeed going to support video:
Speed: Remember How you Got Here!
Did you ever think about why Facebook spent a billion dollars (ok, a little less after the stock price decrease) on a simple photo-sharing app with a whopping zero dollars and cents in revenue? The answer? Clearly, it was the users that Facebook was buying. Facebook needs to own photo sharing, and no one was anywhere even near its dominance in this space. No one except Instagram, that is. But let’s take a step back. How did Instagram get so popular in the first place?
Was it the first app to facilitate simple mobile photo sharing? Absolutely not. Was it the most advanced? Negative. So what? The answer is once again, execution. Instagram was more polished than its competitors from day one. It was faster, more intuitive, and much more focused.
One of the best features of Instagram till today is the speed at which you can upload pictures. Why is it so fast? For two reasons. One, it uploads your picture in the background so when you are ready to press Send, the picture is already uploaded. Another “feature” is that it lowers the resolution of the image. Yes, I am calling that a feature because while it might not appeal to pro photographers, most people will take speed and ease of use over a few more pixels any day. Instagram flies and it always has.
You know what does not fly? Vine. It crawls. It I had to name one Vine shortcoming that is preventing me from using it, it is absolutely the loading times of videos. Now clearly, videos are not like pictures and there are always gong to be longer loading times, but if Instagram brings its philosophy of speed, polish, and execution to the mobile video sharing space, Vine better get to work or close up shop!
Cross Platform Integration: Kiss and Make up!
Have you shared a Vine video on Facebook lately? How many comments did it get? Not very many, right? The reason? Vine is Twitter and Twitter doesn’t like Facebook. The same is true for the way Instagram shares on Twitter. It removes tags at what seems to be random times, and other weird issues. Zuck has an opportunity here to bury the hatchet and think about his users first, and his business relationship with Twitter second.
If Instagram works well with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms, it will bring something huge to the table. In fact, that is the same something that brought Instagram to where it is today. It went viral because the team added features that helped it go viral, such as cross-platform sharing.
Think, Zuckerberg. You may be coming late to this space, but if you do this one thing right, Vine will fall way behind almost instantly.
Discovery: Show me who your Friends are…
One of the biggest problems of the digital world today is discovery. There is so much content, how do you find the best? There are so many apps, how do you discover the relevant ones? The same is true for people on the various platforms. The first question everyone asks when joining Twitter is “Who do I follow?” Twitter has no real solution for this. Facebook does.
Vine has the same problem. I join vine, now what? Where do I start? Find my Twitter followers who are on Vine? Just because I follow someone on Twitter does not mean I want to see his videos of his cat 60,000 times a day.
Facebook, once again, has a huge opportunity here. Leverage my Facebook social graph, which is still the most relevant of the three big platforms if you want to know who I am, and tell me who to follow on Instagram video.
Bring me relevant people and I will find relevant videos. Relevant videos mean more time spent in the app. More time spent in the app means less time in Vine and eventually Vine goes “buh bye” from my phone.
The Bottom Line
While everyone agrees that mobile video is the next huge opportunity, the market is still wide open and the leading player offers me six second videos that take what seems like six MINUTES to load. Zuck, you can do better!