Last month, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) released another app to add to its growing portfolio. Hyperlapse -- which lets users create time-lapse videos -- is quite the uni-tasker. There's no sharing functionality within the app: no feed, no friends, just the the one function. Users are able to save their creations to their phone and given the option to upload the video to Facebook or Instagram.
Time-lapse videos are fairly popular on Vine, Twitter's (NYSE:TWTR) 6-second video app. Time-lapse Vines are technically difficult to produce despite the app's built-in start-stop capabilities. Hyperlapse makes shooting time-lapse videos accessible to anyone with an iPhone. The app is currently only available for iOS.
Sure, Facebook could have integrated Hyperlapse's functionality into Instagram, but there are a couple reasons it didn't: One with the user in mind, and the other with its own interests in mind.
Putting user experience first
Facebook made waves this summer when it forced users of the messaging function of its flagship app to download the Facebook Messenger app. Management argued that separating the functionality of the apps made for a better user experience in both apps. The company found that people reply 20% faster on Facebook Messenger compared to within the Facebook app -- probably because they're not distracted by pictures of puppies in their Newsfeed.
Hyperlapse could be integrated into Instagram, but the user experience wouldn't be as good. Hyperlapse is incredibly simple: Just tap to start shooting, tap to stop, select how much you want to speed up the video, and save. After saving, users are presented the option to share their video on Instagram or Facebook.
Not to mention, Hyperlapse is running a video stabilization algorithm in the background. While its algorithm -- which uses the iPhone's gyroscope -- seems incredibly efficient, it can't be bogged down by Instagram's other features. Keeping the app separate ensures a smooth experience and smooth video.
Another "forced" download
Facebook seems intent on dominating your smartphones app launcher. If Facebook accounts for a higher percentage of the apps on your screen, the odds are higher you'll click on one of them. That's one reason Facebook split off Messenger earlier this year, and it's why Hyperlapse is a standalone app.
Dominating mindshare is the name of the game for Facebook, which makes money from advertisements. The more its users are engaged with its products, the more advertising opportunities it has.
With Hyperlapse, Facebook is taking it a step further. Hyperlapse is intentionally limited as a standalone app, but it makes sharing videos on Facebook or Instagram extremely easy (sharing on other services is possible, too).
When a user uploads a Hyperlapse video to one of its video sharing platforms, it automatically markets the Hyperlapse app by incorporating "#hyperlapse" into the tag (the user can elect to remove it). Facebook and Instagram users will see the Hyperlapse videos, and some will download the app. Once a user downloads Hyperlapse, it's in his or her app launcher, constantly reminding him or her of its existence. Eventually, the person record and upload another video. It's a virtuous cycle.
The strategy is even better than what Facebook did with Instagram. When Facebook bought the photo app two years ago, it overhauled how Instagram photos, or Instagrams, get shared across social media.
On Twitter, Instagram creates a link, but doesn't display the photo within users' timelines. This results in Twitter sending traffic to Instagram instead of the other way around. On Facebook, Instagrams are displayed within Newsfeeds, increasing engagement on its biggest revenue generator.
A big push for video
Facebook has been increasing its efforts in video lately. Facebook reported this week that since June there has been an average of more than 1 billion video views on Facebook every day. Hyperlapse is an effort for Facebook to increase that number.
Video provides Facebook with another avenue for growth, as video ads carry a premium over still images and text. Facebook is still in the early stages of video. If the Hyperlapse strategy I outlined in this article pays off, it would give Facebook a strong push in its video business.
Adam Levy has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and Twitter. 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.