Insta-cinegram

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Instagram announced today that it’s launching video functionality. According to their blog post, when you go to take a photo you will see a movie camera icon. You can record videos from 3 to 15 seconds long, which is longer than what Twitter-owned Vine offers at 6 seconds maximum. Instagram also added 13 filter options specifically for videos. Another great feature is that you can choose a frame to set as the “cover photo” for the video, which is what will display in the Instagram feed.

The video recording functionality seems to operate the same as Vine, though, where holding your finger on the record button allows you to film, and removing your finger allows you to pause until you are ready for the next segment. Unlike sharing photos on Instagram, but similar to uploading videos to Vine, you cannot add a video that already exists on your device on Instagram.

Currently the video recording functionality is open only to iPhone users operating a 3GS device or newer running iOS 5.0 or later, and Android users running Android 4.1 or later. At this point, there is no mention of analytics, but I bet Instagram will soon offer that to brand accounts on the platform.

What do you think of this announcement? Will you be using Instagram to share videos?

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Facebook Joins the #HashtagParty

Better late than never. Last week, Facebook announced the implementation of hashtags into the social network. Facebook is now recognizing the usefulness of hashtags in organizing and discovering content. As with other changes Facebook has implemented in the past, the change is being rolled out to Facebook users over the course of the next few weeks. With Facebook hashtags, you can:

  • Search for a specific hashtag from the search bar
  • Click on hashtags in posts that originate other services, such as Twitter and Instagram (services linked directly to your Facebook account)
  • Compose posts directly from the hashtag feed and search results

 Here, you see a hashtag feed for the #Bruins hashtag at the end of their (winning!) Stanley Cup playoff game tonight:

bruins fb hashtag

I was able to open this by clicking on the hashttag I posted on my Timeline, but I can also pull up a feed from the search bar which allows me to “Say something about #Bruins…”

say something about #Bruins

According to Facebook, Here is what marketers need to know:

  • If you are already using hashtags in an advertising campaign through other channels, you can amplify these campaigns by including your hashtags in Facebook advertising. The same creative best practices on Facebook still apply – compelling copy and photography that is in the brand voice works best.
  • Any hashtags that you use on other platforms that are connected to your Facebook Page will be automatically clickable and searchable on Facebook.
  • Like other Facebook marketing tools, hashtags allow you to join and drive the conversations happening about your business. We recommend you search for and view real-time public conversations and test strategies to drive those conversations using hashtags.
  • Hashtags do not impact your distribution or engagement in News Feed on either desktop or mobile. We recommend you continue to focus on your existing campaigns to drive your most important business objectives.

Facebook has long allowed the targeting of ads and promoted posts to people with specific interests by placing a hashtag in front of the word, e.g. #Gardening. The platform will likely create a new ad product from this rollout, but will also gain a wealth of intelligence about topic trends. Although some #hashtag-haters will be annoyed, I think Facebook is smart to capitalize on the behavior that’s already occurring across the social space, and that many other platforms have embraced. What do you think?