The App market is a competitive and over-saturated place, so when an app does manage to break through into the popular public domain, it is expected that it won’t stay on top for long. Replicants of popular apps are sweeping the internet and you only have to look at the ever more Facebook-like Myspace to realise imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery; it can often be the best way to make a profit. Brand loyalty in the digital age is a rarity and if users realise they can get a better deal elsewhere, they’ll often jump ship. The latest case of this social media mutiny; Instagram’s new Vine-like feature.
Instagram has occupied the picture sharing market in a way that no other app has. Offering sharing options that guarantee existence on multiple social media platforms, a user-friendly interface and playing a large part in the resurgence of ‘vintage’ photography, it is rare to find a person or company without Valencia tinted photos of what they ate for lunch yesterday. This dominance over the photo app market unwittingly left open space in the market for a video sharing app, which Vine quickly occupied, offering the simple editing option of stop and start filming with a maximum of six seconds per video. As with all apps, once celebrities got on board with it, Vine fast became one of the top 3 apps used in America, and happily maintained this position… until mid-June this year.
When Instagram announced it would be updating its app to include a video feature it instantly rang warning bells for Twitter, which owns the Vine app. With 130 million users and 45 million photos uploaded per day, Instagram’s database is far superior, and predictably within a week of the video feature’s launch there were 50% more Instagram links recognized on the web (1,562,022) in comparison to Vine’s (935,109).
So what is it that is driving users towards Instagram and diverting them away from Vine?
Whilst Instagram offers both photo and video sharing, Vine still only offers the latter, although it has unveiled desperate attempts to keep up with new features such as ‘re-vining’ (in keeping with the ‘re-tweeting’ feature in Twitter) and offering protected posts.
It is also worth questioning whether Instagram will be the Facebook of the app world; with several imitators (yes we’re looking at you you Google +) and a loyal clientele who, be it through sheer laziness or appreciation for the interface, will be sticking with Instagram as they already feel it is the app for them.
It is this kind of brand loyalty and technical ability to manage several related features across different platforms that see’s Instagram winning this app war, and demonstrating to us all the multi-platform presence needed to succeed in our digital world.