Instagram Video Doesn't Make Facebook a Better Investment, Yet

Alexander is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) recently made some changes to Instagram. The company introduced Instagram video, which basically allows the average user to make short fifteen second clips.

What went wrong?

I think that Jenna Wortham from The New York Times made a strong point:

The introduction of video sharing on Instagram feels like the latest indicator of that disconnect. Video is imperfect. It’s a lot harder to craft a perfect video of your outdoor picnic, of waves crashing at the beach. It takes a lot more thought to turn the everyday quotidian into the spectacular, regardless of the dozen filters, editing effects and smoothing software that Instagram’s new video feature offers.

I want to add further that. It's really difficult to be comfortable with who you are as a person on video versus camera. On camera, it's a lot easier to take still frame shots that are perfected versions of who I am. But with video, that becomes a lot more difficult. Because of this, I believe that initial viewership data may indicate that the new video feature may have alienated pre-existing users, while taking away the appeal of using Vine.

Usage of Instagram video is tepid

On the first day of Instagram Video, there were approximately 5 million video uploads, according to The New York Times. Over the course of 30 days, we can basically estimate that 150 million videos will be uploaded.

So, 150 million videos sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t, especially when considering the fact that Instagram has 100 million monthly active users. This means that the average Instagram user will upload around 1.5 videos per month. So, based on preliminary user engagement figures, Instagram video may not be monetized anytime soon. Not until the average Instagram user becomes more accustomed to taking videos of themselves. 

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Source: Huffington Post

On the bright side, Instagram has been able to take away the amount of link-sharing of Vine videos when compared to Instagram. Now, users are more inclined to take care of all of their social needs with the use of Instagram rather than alternating in between Vine and Instagram. Vine is owned by Twitter, so this is going to be a bit of a blow for the competing social network.

If winning is about beating the competition, then Instagram has won. But, if Instagram was about keeping the users engaged, well, maybe the company fell a little short of that, as only a small handful of people are willing to put themselves out there using video.

How to position

Investors should consider investing in Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO).

Google has a bright future ahead of it. The company’s success in Android, YouTube, Google AdWords, Google AdSense, and Google Maps puts its well ahead of the competition. Some are even speculating on the company’s monopoly position through its acquisition of Waze. I’ll have more on that later!

In the emerging markets, tablet devices are being seen as substitutes to traditional tower and laptop PCs. Search advertising is likely to trend higher, based on the fact that internet capable devices are projected to triple between 2010 and 2020. If that is the case, then the number of ad-sales, along with app-store purchases will grow exponentially. Google’s growth is predictable, whereas Facebook’s isn’t.

Yahoo! is another compelling investment opportunity as the company provided guidance that non-GAAP operating income will grow from $566 million to $1.1 billion in 2013. Basically, the amount of operating income is projected to double. This will be driven by falling costs. The company has growth potential as it plans to buy out Hulu in order to become a major player in video distribution.

The stock currently trades at a 7.4 earnings multiple, which is inflated because of the $4.6 billion gain on the sale of Alibaba. This is what gave earnings a serious boost, which is why investors should focus on the forward earnings multiple (earnings multiple based on earnings that are one year out). The company has a 20.1 forward earnings multiple. The earnings multiple is reasonable when considering the projected growth of the stock.


I believe that Facebook will grow Instagram Video into a success, but there are factors that are inhibiting it from being as successful as it could potentially be. This will weigh on the minds of investors going forward. That being the case, both Google and Yahoo! are likely to grow earnings at a consistent rate going forward.

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Alexander Cho has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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