Instagram for video – a competitor for Twitter's Vine that's capped at 15 seconds compared to Vine's six -- was officially revealed at a mysterious Facebook product announcement event today.
Like Vine, the product allows users to stitch together cuts of video. In a uniquely Instagram-esque twist, it also comes with 13 filters and a new video-stabilizing feature dubbed "Cinema" intended to make footage less wobbly.
It will be available to the app's 130 million monthly users on iOS and Android devices, and brands including Burberry and Lululemon were part of a launch group that already had video posted in the midst of the announcement.
Asked why his team had settled on a 15-second cap instead of six, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said they felt it struck the right balance between not too short, "which constrains your creativity," and not too long.
"It's that Goldilocks moment – it just feels right," he said.
Twitter launched its Vine app – the fruit of an acquisition – in January, and it's seen remarkable adoption since then, particularly among marketers who thronged to it early. (Among the more surprising brands on Vine was Lowe's, which made home-improvement videos using the app, including one showing how to strip a screw.)
When Twitter released an Android version of Vine earlier this month, the iOS app had 13 million users. But it has a formidable competitor now in Instagram video due to the sheer scale of the platform.
"They have the opportunity because of their scale to blow everyone else out of the water," said Ming Linsley, MEC's senior director of social media.
Instagram also has a coterie of huge global marketers like Nike (1.6 million followers) and Starbucks (1.3 million followers) that have cultivated a community on it over the past two years. It remains to be seen whether they'll simply upload their 15-second TV spots or develop unique creative, which was the case among those who posted video today.
Despite Instagram's obvious coordination with marketers who posted video in tandem with the launch, Mr. Systrom was emphatic that the product is first and foremost for users, not brands. He also said there's no current plan to generate revenue from video posts. (Instagram currently has no ad units.)
"This is really driven by consumer demand and not by business need," Mr. Systrom said. "On video, I don't think we designed it with any advertising in mind. We built it first for the user."
Here are some early brands experimenting: