A report by Twitter analytics service Topsy shows that Vines are now more commonly shared on Twitter than Instagram photos, which seems like it could mean Vine is on the road to surpassing Instagram as the media-sharing tools of the massess … unless you stop and think about the fact that Twitter owns Vine and basically the only way you get a wide audience for your Vine videos is posting them on Twitter, while Instagram has a thriving, passionate native community.
Marketing Land pointed out that shares from Vine.co overtook shares from Instagram on Twitter shortly after Vine released its app for Android. And while this is definitely a good sign for Vine, since it clearly shows that the photo-looping app is gaining traction, it doesn’t mean that Instagram’s popularity is waning – and it doesn’t mean that Vine is more popular.
After all, Instagram and Vine are both used a lot less than Facebook, and if you use Topsy’s analytics service to compare how often Facebook shares happen on Twitter, Facebook comes in behind both of the other services. That’s not because Facebook isn’t popular, it’s because people don’t need to share their Facebook posts on Twitter because the act of posting it on Facebook is sufficient.
Lots of people post their Instagram photos to Twitter, but Instagram’s native platform is both beloved and widely used, so people already feel like they’re widely disseminating their photos just by putting them on the original app. That’s not the case with Vine yet. It only has 13 million users to Instagram’s 100 million, so when people want all their friends to see what they made on Vine, the easiest way to do so is to post to Twitter.
Of course you can’t ignore the fact that Twitter also cut Instagram out of its embedding game: Now, you are pushed out of the Twitter stream if you want to see an Instagram photo that’s been shared there.
When Instagram’s community first starting blossoming, it was an independent app. Sure, you could cross-post to Twitter or Facebook, but the real fun was commenting within the app. Vine has always been Twitter’s baby, and while the app interface is easy-to-use and enjoyable, Vines still need Twitter in a way that Instagram photos never needed Facebook – or Twitter, or anything else for that matter.
So even though Topsy’s analytics are good and interesting, they aren’t exactly revelatory. It’s more an indication that Vine is keeping up the good work … and it doesn’t really say anything about Instagram’s lasting power.