Vine’s 15 minutes (or rather six seconds) of fame are up.
The Twitter-owned 6-second video messaging app is gone, vanishing from conversations about digital engagement, advertising or content marketing for brands. It wasn’t always like this. Back in 2014, Vine was seen as the video content marketing platform for brands. 38% of brands were using Vine for brand marketing or advertising, while 60% were using or considering using Vine influencers to promote branded content. However, the number of brands using Vine has plummeted to 10% in 2015, and the downward trend continued until Vine’s termination in October 2016.
Vine’s Golden Age
When Vine was acquired by Twitter in 2012, it was freed from the tyranny of having to constantly prove user growth to satisfy the demands of any VC overlords. With no push for a mass audience, there was no incentive to create solutions for advertisers, or even brands who wanted to promote their own content, for example, by paying to get it featured in the recommended Vines feed. This freed up the Vine developer team to do what it did best, which was catering to its weird, obsessive and extremely loyal community of users. All the innovation on the platform was done to make the experience better solely for creators and their audience.
Why Vine Died
A big reason was competition from other apps. It seems that everything Vine could do, some other platform could do better. Instagram has a bigger audience, with a similar video platform that makes it much easier to discover relevant content, and, it’s also done away with limits on video length. YouTube continues to be the place to post (and advertise) longer, in-depth video, especially for B2B firms. Snapchat owns the field when it comes to personal communication through video, which is what Vine was originally envisioned as. Twitter turned it’s focused to building the live-video platform Periscope, as its signature investment in video.
Vine continued to chug along, catering to its die-hard community of quirky video creators and the teens who adored them. The new breed of Internet “celebrities” it gave birth to continued to churn out highly entertaining content every day, even if that content ended up spread across multiple social media platforms.
But it was apparent that the platform just was not what it used to be. With so many other platforms offering better chances for ad money and the lure of younger, hipper audiences, it’s no surprise that Vine creators weren’t posting as often, or creating as much exclusive content for the platform.
From an advertising perspective, Vine didn’t offer any display or native ad options for brands looking to promote their content. The only money it made was through Niche, the agency Twitter acquired in 2015 to broker deals between companies and Vine celebrities who would create custom content to promote brands. However, even this revenue dried up, as brands began to question the real impact of social media influencers, especially when compared to the exorbitant amounts of money they’d been throwing at them.
In the end, Vine simply did not differentiate itself from the competition fast enough. The longer, more flexible video capabilities on Instagram and Snapchat, as well as the optimized advertising features like promotion on Instagram’s “Explore” tab, proved unmatchable by Vine.
Ultimately, the best way to think back on Vine is as a channel for entertainment, nothing more, nothing less. The best way to think of Vine comes from General Manager Hannah Donovan in an interview with Variety; As Donovan put it, “At the end of the day, Vine [was] not a tool. It [was] a toy.”
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