In the early days of the internet, before blazing speeds and YouTube became a staple in our lives, GIFs were rather popular, especially among younger people. I remember that people would mail cartoon GIFs to each other, use them as avtaars, and even clip and share their favorite scenes from movies and serials in this format. As far as I know, the latter two are still popular uses of GIFs today.
Twitter's acquisition and integration of the short video sharing service, Vine, was a shrewd move which suddenly bought the GIF back into focus. Not that usage of the format had died, but it got a fresh lease of life. Vine offered a fresh way to create and share content, which showcased one's own creativity, skill and point of view. Editing a six second clip requires some degree of mastery and creativity. Early data indicates that while it is a niche mobile app, it has gained tremendous engagement in terms of time spent. One can imagine that young people would be immediately interested in it.
Seeing the popularity of Vine, Facebook reacted by launching Instagram Video recently, promoting the same short-video sharing facility on the world's largest social network with one critical difference - it allows 15 second clips, while Vine limits you to 6 seconds. It has immediately gained traction, as most brands have large fanbases on Facebook and already use Instagram to increase audience engagement. Top brands have used Instagram video including Ford, MTV, Intel, Disney, Nike and Starbucks.
Meanwhile, GIFs seem to be poised to enter pop culture. Britney Spears has used GIFs to create the teasers for new video Ooh La La, the OST for the Smurfs movie. And meanwhile, a French photographer has created a short movie BXBY based on GIFs, which we featured in this week's newsletter.
We believe that the GIF or short video has a bright future in India, land of 2G connectivity, expensive mobile data and creative youth. Even if Vine is a niche phenomenon, Instagram Video is not, and its availability on Facebook makes it a prime audience engagement platform.
We will leave you with some interesting examples of brands using Instagram Video. What are your thoughts on how your brand can use this feature innovatively?