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Facebook is trying to crush Vine before it’s too late

Published Jun 17th, 2013 2:40PM EDT
Instagram Video Analysis

Facebook will reportedly be adding Vine-like, short video clips to its Instagram service later this month. This follows an important cross-over moment — earlier in June, Vine surpassed Instagram in Twitter shares. But perhaps even more worryingly, Vine has become the fastest growing top iOS app in America measured by engagement. According to Onavo Insights, Vine has tripled its monthly engagement  to 10.7% of all iPhone owners in just a few months. Instagram remains far ahead with 35.5%, but it’s engagement growth has slowed to a crawl.

This could be a pivotal moment in the obscure and potentially highly annoying art of posting seven-second stop motion video clips of people re-enacting the Siege of Gondor on their coffee tables. A Facebook/Instagram entry would inevitably mean an avalanche of media coverage, boosting the public awareness of this type of app.

Vine is hot in America and a small group of countries with highly developed hipster communities, including New Zealand and Norway. But its global reach is narrow compared to Instagram’s universal appeal. The rapid Vine-cloning of Instagram might give it a shot at popularizing the short-form video in many major markets before the true pioneer has the chance to do so. Alternatively, this move could boost Vine as it elevates its status in the global tech media.

In either case, this is going to be a fascinating race — and it may turn out to be a substantial boon for Twitter, which benefits from new forms of content feeding its endless hunger for novelty.

After launching mobile game company SpringToys tragically early in 2000, Tero Kuittinen spent eight years doing equity research at firms including Alliance Capital and Opstock. He is currently an analyst and VP of North American sales at mobile diagnostics and expense management Alekstra, and has contributed to, Forbes and Business 2.0 Magazine in addition to BGR.