In the past weeks the social media landscape has seen one of the biggest head-to-head battles in a long time, with the showdown between Vine and Instagram Videos taking on the proportions of a legendary heavyweight fight. Both platforms have had tremendous success in the short-format video wars and the jury is still out on which platform is going to be the big winner.

In January of 2013, Twitter’s “Vine” mobile application was launched and quickly grabbed social cred, gaining 10 million users in only three months (by comparison, it took Instagram a year to reach that number)1. Vine’s six-second looping stop motion videos were captivating users and creating new opportunities for brands to engage with customers. Why did people gravitate to Vine so quickly for video content (Vine’s level of engagement has almost equaled YouTube’s in just over six months of being on the market2 )? The unique format challenges content producers to be relevant and entertaining in 6 seconds or less. Think of it as the Haiku of the social media world – it’s a new mini art form that’s sweeping the social landscape. Unlike YouTube, where a user potentially has to wait for an advertisement before viewing content, the short looping videos are easily viewed and shared without the perceived time commitment associated with clicking a YouTube link. Honda has responded to customers tweets using real-time Vine videos. The campaign encourages users to swap their old car for a Honda.

On June 20, Facebook-owned Instagram launched its competing short video capabilities, causing a sharp drop in Vine sharing (on June 15 nearly 3 million Vine links were shared, but on June 26 a couple days after the release of Instagram video 900,000 links were shared3). With all of this chaos surrounding these emerging social media platforms the question remains: how effective are they for brands to include in their digital marketing strategy?

Brands are engaging customers with Vine videos highlighting their product lines, the behind the scenes work that goes into making the product or service, and quirky looping short stories. Instagram has built upon Vine’s idea but has added a few more bells and whistles to hopefully make it a more desirable platform for brands. Instead of the 6 second looping video, Instagram videos can be up to 15 seconds in length and also comes equipped with pre-set artistic filters, allowing users to tell a richer story. Whether brands choose Vine or Instagram Videos, either way, these “snapshots” add more dynamism and storytelling potential than a picture and require less commitment than a YouTube video. The filmmakers for the new Steve Jobs biopic debuted a new trailer exclusively on Instagram video.

Vine and Instagram both boast a creative way to engage users in ways that other social platforms cannot and both are great supplements to the traditional social strategies. Unlike Instagram videos, Vine videos can be shared directly in a tweet. In order to post an Instagram photo or video on Twitter a user must provide a click through link. Even though the introduction of Instagram Video has caused Vine sharing to drop off considerably, Twitter’s sharing capability continues to support Vine as a great option for brands.

Vine and Instagram are in a perpetual game of one-upsmanship to keep users engaged. Through the addition of Vine’s capture widget for Andriod phones or being able to embed Instagram posts on the web, in the end this competition will only benefit the brands that use them. Both platforms are vehicles for companies to show a deeper side of their brand. For B2B companies Vine and Instagram can be specifically useful for putting a face on your company. Showing company culture or what goes into making your company successful can be imaginative fun ways to showcase your brand.