I'm an Instagram user. Not a heavy user or anything, just your average user who'll snap a picture of a nice, rare steak or my dog - if he's being particularly cute or something. I have about 100 followers and I follow about 100 people. It's an auxiliary social network for me. That's not a rag on Instagram, mind you - just an honest description of how I use the service.
So I had a few beers at a ballgame last night and I come home, grab another and plop down on my back patio. It's a nice night - a little hot for my tastes but I deal with it. As it sometimes happens, I find myself casually flipping through my phone without really remembering why I picked it up - Twitter, Facebook, reddit, and yes, Instagram.
And what do you know - I'm greeted with a brand new video from one of my buddies. A video! I'd almost forgotten that Facebook had just unveiled the "game-changing" Video for Instagram earlier in the day.
So I watch it. It's been filtered into black and white. A couple-second shot of a beer here, and couple-second shot of a burger there. It's not Scorsese, let's leave it at that.
The video stopped, and the first and only thought that ran through my head was this:
"Good lord that was long."
And it was long. 15 seconds, to be exact. And it felt like all of those 15 seconds. I decided not to click to play the video again.
I watched another one. Same result. It was just tedious.
You see, 15 seconds of video flies by when it's beautifully produced - or at least mildly interesting. But when that 15 seconds of video consists of some guy recording long, static shots of his dinner - well, it drags. On and on and on and on. Even 6 seconds on Vine can feel long when the content is particularly amateurish.
At 15 seconds, Instagram's max video length is an astounding 9 seconds longer than Vine's max video length. For the mathematically challenged, that means that an Instagram video consists of 2.5 Vine videos. Why in the world would Zuckerberg, Systrom, and crew make Instagram videos so...long?
As Quartz points out, 15 seconds is a great video length - for an ad. Facebook has been readying video ads for the news feed for months - but Instagram, well, Instagram is just a better, convenient choice right now. It's mobile, it's "artsy," and it's the perfect place to slip in advertising that doesn't feel like advertising.
Let's face it: you know that with and little love and care, an Instagram Video ad could be just as enjoyable as your friend's sepia-toned spaghetti shots.
So, why 15 seconds? Why such a long, long, long 15 seconds? We'll, it's not for the users - at least not this user.
Any thoughts? Do you think 15 seconds for an Instagram video simply feels too long?