Kevin Systrom had barely finished showing off Instagram’s new video features when several brands started posting their own clips. Lululemon was one of the first out of the gate with a video showing a woman doing yoga in different locations. Burberry and Charity: water posted videos as well.
Systrom, the co-founder of Instagram, pitched the option to record videos as a way for casual users to capture “moments” of their lives in a new way. But as with most product announcements these days from Facebook — Instagram’s parent company — Systrom seemed to be speaking directly to marketers. He repeatedly emphasized that the feature would be available to Instagram’s 130 million users “on day one,”a testament to its reach compared to other video-sharing services. He also revealed that Instagram videos could be up to 15-seconds long.
“The timing of 15 seconds is very interesting. They know that advertisers have a historical comfort level with purchasing 15-second spots,” Rachel Tipograph, director of global digital and social media for Gap, told Mashable in an interview. “I don’t think that number was random.”
Tipograph’s team started working on their first Gap video on Instagram as soon as the update rolled out to users and she expects to publish two videos every week going forward. The reason, she says, is less about Instagram than Facebook. She has already heard from Instagram that videos shared on Instagram will appear in the Facebook feed just like photos do.
“The way to get engagement with Facebook is large imagery,” she says. “The fact that Instagram videos are going to publish to Facebook in the same way a photo does means we are going to see huge engagement. I’m really excited about that.”
The Gap currently has nearly 4.5 million followers on Facebook and another 130,000 on Instagram, meaning there is already a huge built-in audience for the videos it creates on the platform. By comparison, the company has just about 6,000 followers on Vine because it — like everyone else — had to build up that following from scratch when Twitter launched the app earlier this year.
Tipograph says Gap has no plans to stop or reduce how often it posts to Vine, mainly because the company has found that tweets with Vine videos get six to eight times the level of engagement of tweets without. But other brands we spoke with weren’t quite so sure.
Kate Spade’s chief marketing officer, Mary Beech, emphasized that the company likes to have a presence on every major platform, but admitted that the “greatest challenge” with Vine has been building a new community from scratch. The company’s Vine account currently has about 13,000 followers while its Instagram account has more than 350,000.
“We are definitely going to have to sit down and decide the best way to move forward,” Beech told Mashable. “We will prioritize based on following and also based on what the medium allows us to do.”
Robert Michael Murray, VP of social media for National Geographic, was a bit more explicit. He told us his team has been somewhat confounded by Vine so far and may be more likely to double down on Instagram, where it is already one of the most popular brands.
“It’s not that we are trying to exclude one over the other,” Murray said. “It’s just the fact that we will probably have a little more traction in the beginning on Instagram, to be honest, but that doesn’t mean we are not looking at Vine.”
“Vine,” he continued, “We are still trying to figure out what is it for: Is it behind the scenes, is it pieces? What is it?”