Video on Instagram was launched with a good deal of fanfare a year ago on June 20, 2013. But its first birthday came and went on Friday without much celebration. Heck, there wasn’t even a single Instavid of Kevin Systrom, the co-founder of Instagram, blowing out a lonely candle on a cupcake embedded in a solitary post on the Instagram blog. Meanwhile, the stats over on the Instagram press page proudly proclaim that 200 million active Instagram users have shared 20 billion photos, but they’re strangely silent about the number of videos shared in the last year. So, what’s going on? Why is Instagram treating videos like a feature that few users are using to “capture and share the world’s moments” on their iPhones or Android devices?
Brands Doing Well With Instavids Due to Lack of Competition?
Four months ago, William Miller, a social media analyst at Socialbakers, wrote a post entitled, “How Instagram Killed Vine for Marketers.” Did Miller get things backwards, or is Instagram just trying to avoid looking like it’s dancing on a competitor’s grave?
Frankly, I’ve also made some assumptions that now need to be questioned. When Unruly announced last October that 40 percent of the 1,000 most shared Instagram videos the previous month had come from brands, I assumed that short-form video was eating YouTube’s lunch. It never occurred to me that 80 different brands – including Samsung, Nike, BMW, Disney, General Electric and Red Bull – were doing relatively well with Instavids because they were facing a virtual dearth of competition from active Instagrammers, who were sharing far more photos than videos.
Instagram Videos vs Vine vs YouTube
Fortunately, there’s a way for internet marketers and video content producers to get an apples-to-apples-to-apples comparison of the number of shares that YouTube, Vine, and Instagram videos have gotten over the past 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, 365 days, and all time: The Viral Video Chart powered by Unruly. It ranks videos based on the amount of times the content has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and in the blogosphere. Unruly built and launched the Viral Video Chart in 2006. Ranking videos by number of shares rather than views, the chart quickly established itself as the definitive source for video sharing data around the globe. Will.I.Am has described Unruly’s Viral Video Chart as “the billboard hot 100 of the Internet generation”.
The Unruly Viral Video Chart has tracked 430 billion video views since 2006 and tracks 24 million shares a day. It is the largest historical data set of video sharing behavior on the social web. It tracks trending videos in real time using proprietary Unruly blog-scanning methodology, Facebook’s APIs and the Twitter fire hose. Top brands use the unique data set to benchmark the social success of their own video campaigns and creative mavens and media partners use the data to spot video content trends.
Top YouTube Videos of Last 365 Days
To get a benchmark, internet marketers and video content producers should look at the top 20 YouTube videos over the last 365 days. At the top of the chart is “Pharrell Williams - Happy (Official Music Video) ”with close to 21.2 million shares in the last 365 days. If you tally up the shares that all of the top 20 videos have accumulated in the last 365 days, then you get almost 238.2 million.
Top 20 Vines of Last 365 Days
Next, internet marketers and video content producers should look at the top 20 Vine videos over the last 365 days. The Unruly Vines Chart also ranks Vine videos based on the amount of times the content has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and in the blogosphere. At the top of the chart is “This is what it looks like to hit a big league curveball ... off a pitching machine. #DbacksST,” which has close to 1.8 million shares in the last 365 days. If you tally up the shares that all of the top 20 Vine videos have accumulated in the last 365 days, then you get more than 20.6 million.
Top 20 Instavids of Last 365 Days
Finally, internet marketers and video content producers should look at the top 20 Instagram videos over the last 365 days. This chart also ranks Instagram videos based on the amount of times the content has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and in the blogosphere. At the top of the chart is “justinbieber's video on Instagram,” which has more than 240,000 shares in last 365 days. If you tally up the shares that all of the top 20 Instagram videos have accumulated in the last 365 days, then you get more than 3.4 million.
YouTube Win Most Social Shares at 91%
If you then add up the shares of the top 20 videos from all three charts, then you get a total of 262.2 million shares. This means the top 20 YouTube videos got 90.8 percent to the total shares, Vine videos got 7.9 percent, and Instagram videos got 1.3 percent.
Why are Instavids Getting Fewer Shares?
So, why are Instavids getting far fewer shares than Vines or YouTube videos? Maybe way too many Instavids look like 15-second TV commercials. And, as we’re beginning to learn, people don’t share re-purposed TV spots with friends, siblings, parents, or colleagues as often as they share original video content that is unique, compelling, and entertaining or informative. Yes, I understand that “shares” aren’t the only metric that matters. But, in the world of content marketing, shares are the currency of social success and a must-have key performance indicator (KPI) for any authentically social campaign. For leading brand marketers, discovering how to create and distribute highly shareable content, repeatedly and at scale, is now at the top of the chief marketing officer’s (CMO’s) wish list.
Based on the data in the Unruly charts, the folks at Vine might want to respond to Miller by tweeting Mark Twain’s famous quotation, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” And based on the same data, the folks at YouTube might want to respond to my mistaken assumption by quoting Winston Churchill’s famous comment, “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”
As atonement for my sins, I plan to re-read Page 86 of The YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands 20 times. It says, “Remember:
- 500 years of YouTube videos watched on Facebook/day.
- 700 YouTube videos shared on Twitter/minute.”