Is YouTube’s Business Model Broken? What about Vine or Instagram?

Is YouTube’s Business Model Broken? What about Vine or Instagram?

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In last week’s column, “If Your Video Content Is Truly Compelling, Keep Calm and Go Long,” I presented three examples of long-form videos that were hugely successful on YouTube.  Hopefully, this debunks the myth that you can’t have a successful video if it’s over 15 minutes in length.

That column also included the breaking news that Jim Louderback, the CEO of Revision3, would be filming an episode of his highly popular downLOADED  – the show where opinionated geek and tech pundits gather around to discuss issues and news impacting technology and its users – during lunch at the inaugural Video Marketing Summit, which was held in conjunction with the 5th Annual Video Commerce Summit.

If you weren’t at last week’s Video Summit in San Francisco, then you can watch that episode of downLOADED, which is now entitled, “Is YouTube’s Business Model Broken?” It was published Sunday, July 28, 2013, on the Tech Feed channel on YouTube. And it’s 29 minutes and 52 seconds long.

Now, I’ll let you be the judge of whether this video content is really unique, truly compelling, especially entertaining and remarkably informative. But as one of the “opinionated geek and tech pundits” who was asked “to discuss issues and news impacting technology and its users,” I can tell you that you have to bring your A game to make a successful half-hour long show – live in front of the Video Summit attendees as well as in front of two cameras with no chance for retakes.

I know I’m biased, but I think it was an incredible show. Paul Colligan, YouTube Expert, Director of Content Marketing for and CEO of, definitely brought his A Game. And I marvel at how Louderback is able to perform flawlessly week after week. I can’t always say the same.

But, guess what? You’ve also got to bring your A game to create a unique six-second looping video for Vine, a compelling 15-second video for Instagram, and an entertaining or informative video that is shorter than 15 minutes for YouTube.

Making short-form videos that are hugely successful requires just as much talent and skill as making long-form videos that are hugely successful. However, it probably requires different creative talents and editing skills.

So, as I said last week, it’s “horses for courses,” which means that it is important to choose suitable people for particular activities because everyone has different skills. And, if you adapt this idiom for videos, then you’d select different solutions to engage customers in different ways, based on your marketing objective.

And internet marketers and video content producers will want to figure out which horse is best suited for which course.

Video Horse Race on Twitter

While I was prepping for the pre-Summit YouTube Marketing Best Practices workshop last week, the Socialbakers blog posted some new data about the video horse race on Twitter. Socialbakers is a social media analytics platform that allows brands to measure, compare, and contrast the success of their social media campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.

Socialbakers said, “After Instagram announced that it will expand its static-images-sharing community with 15 second videos as a response to Twitter´s 6 second looping Vine, marketers unleashed a discussion about which option they should adopt for their brands and which will monetize best – YouTube videos or newcomers Vine or Instagram?”

Socialbakers added, “It has been about a month since Instagram stepped into the game (June 20th 2013), so we decided to have a look at the popularity of YouTube, Vine, and Instagram amongst marketers on Twitter. Which video sharing platform dominated the newsfeeds from June 19th – July 19th 2013?”

Socialbakers pulled the data from 1,141 brand profiles on Twitter, looking at 5,933 tweets from June 19th – July 19th 2013.

As you can see below, most profile admins preferred to tweet YouTube videos during the studied time frame. Of course, YouTube had a running start thanks to its inception in 2005. It is also worth mentioning the fact that 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month. The 100 million+ Vine user base takes second place after YouTube and Video on Instagram’s fan base has only started to reach Facebook´s 1 bi­llion+ user audience.

Socialbakers 1

When it comes to engagement, YouTube videos (0.0355%) is the frontrunner, followed by Vine (0.0206%) and Instagram (0.0111%). Surprisingly though, Vine videos were retweeted slightly more than YouTube videos, which could be due to their looping nature and the fact that they are so easy to produce and consume.

Socialbakers 2

Another recent study by Socialbakers had already revealed that Vine is catching up on engagement with YouTube. Video on Instagram, which offers 13 filters, editing features, a tap to focus feature, anti-shake technology, and the option to choose a cover frame that should appear in the newsfeed as a preview of the produced video, may be the “dark horse” in the race today, but it should see its popularity continue to rise in the backstretch.

Socialbakers 3

The great news is that you can embed all three video sharing platforms on your website or blog.

So, the horse race in making short-form videos is barely out of the gate. On Twitter, YouTube is the front runner, but Vine and Video on Instagram are also likely to end up in the money. And it will be interesting to see if the relative rankings are different on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, and other social media.

There are lots of courses, so different horses can win, place, or show.


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