In the ring: Instagram, Vine, MixBit fight for share of the mobile video market

Twitter’s Vine, Facebook’s Instagram, and the newly announced MixBit are fighting it out for a piece of the short-form mobile video market. Vine now has a reported 40 million users, according to a recent CNET report. Instagram started out as a photo-sharing site and expanded its offerings with the June 2013 launch of Instagram videos. MixBit, by the founders of YouTube, recently launched with its own unique characteristics to mix it up with Vine and Instagram.

What are these tools?

Vine, Instagram, and MixBit are short-form mobile video-sharing apps for iOS and Android devices. The applications are designed for social sharing of content by consumers and increasingly by social-savvy brands that are incorporating video beyond YouTube/Vimeo into their armamentarium of social tools. Let’s compare the three apps:

Video App


Video Segments (seconds)




January 2013


Continuous looping


Twitter, Facebook, embedding


June 2013


13 filters,

touch to replay,

uploadable videos

Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare, email,


August 2013


(combinable up to an hour)

Edit and stitch clips

Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, MixBit website

Sources: Tale of the Tape: Instagram vs. Vine, YouTube Founders Challenge Vine and Instagram with New Video App

Why should you consider these tools?

These video tools are becoming another important social component for businesses looking to engage prospects and customers with inbound and outbound mobile visual assets. The tools provide a way for low-cost and creative visual content creation and distribution/sharing through social media channels.

How can you use them?

There are various opportunities to create content and engage with audiences through the use of short-form videos. Among the ideas that might be worth considering are the following:

  • Announce events.
  • Introduce new products (example: Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 Vine campaign).
  • Answer questions about your products or services.
  • Share interesting applications for your products or services (example: Lowe’s Fix in Six distributed on the company’s Tumblr account).
  • Encourage user-generated content with contests (example: What Matters Most, John Lewis Insurance campaign).
  • Share behind-the-scenes operations — manufacturing, customer service, product design.
  • Highlight a charitable or socially responsible activity.
  • Connect videos to some sort of offer or coupon.
  • Curate third-party visual content for your own content streams.

Who is using these tools?

These tools are used by a range of companies, from consumer powerhouses like J.C. Penney, lululemon, Ford, Maybelline, Threadless, Target, and VW to lesser-known brands (at least to me) like Red Vines licorice. Here are some examples of how they are using short-form video.


Let’s look at an example of a brand that’s using Instagram: lululemon, the popular Canadian active-wear lifestyle company founded in 1998. The brand has an active and popular Instagram account with more than 987 posts and 306,773 followers as of this writing.

Lululemon is using its Instagram videos to showcase specific products, as can be seen in the following clip for its summer Tech Mesh Tights.

It’s also using Instagram for higher-production-value videos like this one, which features clips from around the world and was part of a campaign promoted on social media with the hashtag #justmymat.

In case you think Instagram is only for retailers and consumer products, take a look at this application from Intel showcasing a creative way to carry a laptop.


According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, people using Vine (i.e., Viners) “tend to be 15- to 30-year-olds who have perfected the art of telling a good story in the shortest amount of time possible.”

Brands using Vine recognize that a six-second video allows them to tantalize viewers in a way that longer YouTube videos can’t. For an example, let’s look at a brand that’s using Vine — the American Licorice Company Red Vines brand, which has an active social media strategy. The company has created Vine videos like the one embedded below showcasing how Red Vines becomes GrapeVines, a product-line extension.

Here’s an example of GE using Vine for a short scientific explanation:

To find brands using Vine, you can look at the aggregator site Brands on Vine, which showcases a wide range of Vine videos.




Here’s an example of a seven-minute, 32-second video compilation using MixBit that promotes an Irish musical event on Aug. 17 in Cork, Ireland. It is a good example of how clips were pulled together using the stitching characteristic inherent in the MixBit tool.

The ways for marketers to engage with customers with a video lagniappe, sans the purchase, will continue to evolve as new features are added to the tools in this crowded space and as content creators continue to stretch the limits of how to share meaningful visual messages in six, 15, or 16 seconds online. For astute digital marketers, it will be critical that these tools be considered as part of their social media mix.

To find out more about the latest trends in e-business and marketing, you can follow me on Twitter @theWebChef or Google+. You can also find me on Pinterest and follow my Pinterest Board for information on these short-form video tools.

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