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The King of Social Video: Vine or Instagram?

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Mobile video accounts for more than half of all wireless traffic in the U.S. That’s the latest from the Cisco Visual Networking Index, and it says video captures a larger slice of the pie each year. There isn’t a social network that doesn’t have its hand in mobile video in some way. Facebook paid a clean $1 billion for the wildly popular Instagram while Twitter started its own service: Vine.

One boasts more than 100 millions users. The other carries a more humble 13 million. Based on those numbers alone, it seems obvious that Instagram is clearly the superior service for social video sharing, but when stacked against the still-impressive Vine, the race is much tighter.

Ease of Use: Vine

Regarding a video capture app, Vine is simplistic. Users open the app, hold a thumb on the screen to record and capture a quick six seconds of video before sending out to the world. Because Vine is video-only, where Instagram is also a photography app, there are no extra steps to reach the video recording function.

Editing and Effects: Instagram

Simplicity goes both ways. Vine is easy to use but also limited. Once a video is captured, there are no editing or filter options. Instagram users can apply the same photo filters to videos and even upload existing videos from the phone’s library. It also gives users a full 15 seconds to record and share video instead of Vine’s six. The extra time and features make Instagram a more visually improved video app.

Marketability: Vine

Businesses have presence on both networks, but there’s an extra variable with Vine that makes it friendlier to marketers. A look through sites like Brands on Vine shows just how involved companies are with advertising with the niche video service. This video from Lenovo shows, Vine is a popular way to tease new products and services with a short six-second preview. As an added bonus, the constant looping of Vine’s videos make it likely the viewer watches it more than once.

Shareability: Tie

Are you an avid Facebooker? Instagram pictures and videos show directly in Facebook news feeds but are limited to just a link on Twitter. Vine, on the other hand, plays natively inside the Twitter app but isn’t as Facebook-friendly as Instagram. The fact that Facebook owns Instagram and Twitter owns Vine makes each video service more compatible with its father social network, so this one’s all about preference.

Fun Factor: Vine

Instagram is interesting but Vine is simply fun. Accounts like “King Bach” (above) are nothing but hilarious videos that are somehow funnier because they loop endlessly. Instagram accounts don’t have the same consistency when it comes to funny videos, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely void of them.

So when looking at the final tally, it seems like Vine is the clear winner, right? The truth is there’s no reason why you should limit yourself to one app or the other. Both contain fun features and are great social video networks in their own way. Download both and go nuts.