As smartphones advance and wireless networks improve, mobile video is growing. Alongside music streaming services like Spotify, mobile video accounts for the largest chunk of wireless traffic in the U.S. YouTube has been the world’s most popular video-sharing service for years and social networks like Vine and Instagram rule for video microblogging. When pitted against each other, they have different strengths and weakness in the battle of the ultimate mobile video platform.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is what gives mobile video its appeal. Anyone with a smartphone can record a video, give it a quick edit, and upload it to the Web in a matter of minutes. All three platforms have easy upload features, but some make it a little painless than others. YouTube, for example, has a quick-capture feature but requires a secondary app called “YouTube Capture” to complete the task.

Vine lets users record video by simply holding a thumb down on the screen to record and releasing to pause. It’s the easiest to use but the most limited, because there are no editing features and existing videos stored in the phone’s library can’t be uploaded. Instagram has the same basic record and pause features as Vine, as well as an existing video upload feature. You can also apply the same Instagram filters available for pictures.


Winner: Instagram


Vine, Instagram and YouTube are all wildly popular platforms, but still separated by millions of users. According to the New York Time, Vine hit 13 million users in June, which is impressive considering the app is less than a year old. Instagram on the other hand, boasts 100 million users, reported by its blog. That’s almost eight times more than its younger cousin.


Photo by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

But all of these seemingly impressive statistics are completely dwarfed by YouTube. More than 1 billion unique visitors watch a YouTube video each month with 100 hours of video being uploaded each minute. You can even use iFunia free Youtube Download for Mac to download videos to your Mac or portable mobile device. It’s a beast that puts Vine and Instagram in an entire league below it.

Winner: YouTube


There are two ways to profit from videos on the Web: direct and indirect revenue. Direct revenue means a person actually gets paid when a person watches a video or subscribes to a channel. An example of indirect revenue could be an increase in sales due to the success of an ad campaign. One is more measurable than the other, but it’s easy to see where marketers put the most effort.

YouTubers can make money directly from its service. There’s a reason why posters are always asking viewers to subscribe to the channel. The more subscriptions a channel yields, the more money its owner makes. According to SocialTimes, some “channel partners” make up to $100,000 per year.

Vine and Instagram operate differently. Uploaders can’t profit directly from their videos, so dollars and cents are measured indirectly through an increase in sales. There is some marketing presence on Instagram, but while it carries the most overall popularity between the two networks, Vine has found its niche with digital marketers.

This Vine post from Lenovo is an example of how companies use short videos to preview and tease new products ready to launch. Brands ranging from Lowe’s to Urban Outfitters use Vine to give viewers quick peeks and helpful tips. It is so popular that sites like Brands on Vine showcase the business end of the platform.

Winners: YouTube and Vine

Fun Factor

Dollars and cents are great for business, but the majority of viewers look for entertainment above all else when browsing these videos. YouTube’s desktop platform might be one of the most addictive on the Internet, but its mobile app doesn’t give the same freedom of exploration. Instagram and Vine have the same types of social feeds, but there is something a little more fun about Vine’s short, six-second window and endless looping. Accounts like “BatDad” give Vine all the humor and flair wanted for an app that simply entertains

Winner: Vine

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