So it’s the end of the Vine for Twitter’s six-second video app. Last week, Twitter announced it would discontinue Vine, an app once much loved by teens.
Vine’s popularity peaked in the months after its official launch in January 2013. Within a couple of years its teenage fans were moving on to other video platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.
I can’t recall the last time Vine was suggested or even mentioned as a media strategy for a brand. And with Twitter developing its own native video offering, Vine is even less relevant. But the rise and fall of this quirky creative platform offers some interesting lessons.
Vine was revolutionary from day one. It was an instant hit that conjured up a new form of creativity by imposing the constraint that videos could last no more than six seconds.
Vine was a gift for cunning stunts, slapstick antics, visual jokes and catchphrases. A new galaxy of teenage social media influencers was born.
Brands joined in the creative melee, smitten by this craze for the new "snackable" content. There have been some great Vines from brands. From Volkswagen US "Shark Week" Vines to Sainsbury’s "Apples and Pears," these branded Vines didn’t always get many views, but they allowed creatives to make great use of the medium.
It is also worth checking out Burberry’s Vine page to see what can be achieved—its scarves Vine got over a million loops.
I worked with a number of forward-thinking brands to deliver Vines, including SEAT, Unilever and Sony. The big problem was that the teenagers moved on but Vine didn’t. It failed to develop its original game-changing six-second idea.
Vine could have continued to shake things up as a platform for influencers and content creators and as an outlet for creatives operating outside the mainstream.
But Vine struggled to monetize its offer. For brands, there are easier options with broader consumer reach. The lesson is that innovation is about more than the initial game-changing moment. Once you’ve broken the mold, you have to keep shaping what comes next to stay ahead.
Almost every social platform is now focusing on video and adapting quickly as video viewing comes to dominate digital media.
The rise of Snapchat, which has rebranded itself as Snap Inc., a camera company, has been swift. Instagram supports video and Facebook has made strides into 360 video and livestreaming—just this week launching face filters for Facebook Live.
Vine remained true to its initial proposition as an entertainment medium but failed to keep pace with other innovations. Once all the easy six-second gags had been told, it had nowhere else to go. As a result, it has lost users in droves.
From 2012 to 2014, mobile video views increased by 400% and this rise will continue as mobile networks perform better and become more cost effective. Vine will not be the only casualty in the coming months in this new video landscape.
It’s worth keeping an eye on how rival platforms apply the lessons of Vine’s demise. They’ll recognize the importance of staying ahead of the market through continual innovation and reinvention.
And Vine’s six-second rule has taught brands the importance of being succinct, impactful and spontaneous and of taking creative risks at a fast pace. Hopefully, brands will apply this approach across their creative output.
Vine may be gone, but the seeds it planted will continue to grow across the media landscape.
—Susie Clark is managing director of Things Unlimited.