Vine: Six-second videos, but long-lasting brand value

At the beginning of the year, brands seemed to use Vine often, but after SXSW in March, the six-second app became overlooked and replaced by shiny new objects.

With buzz-worthy new social media and video apps launching every month, brands should beware of forgetting about services from a few years ago that still hold enormous engagement power.

Last weekend, HTC continued its Vine campaign around the European soccer Champions League, quickly recreating goals from the matches using its smartphones as players. As of Thursday, the six-second video depicting Barcelona’s winning goal in last weekend’s final had been viewed on loop more than 320,000 times.

In the last year, I’ve noticed several other really creative branded Vine videos, like Lowe’s ongoing #FixInSix series that shows consumers how to do quick home improvements. But, more recently, I’ve seen fewer brands using the platform, and that could be a missed opportunity.

Vine, which Twitter bought at the end of 2012 and launched in January 2013, reportedly sees 1.5 billion video plays a day as of this year, up from 1 billion in the fall of 2014. The app’s increasing popularity is encouraging Twitter to invest further in related technologies, with the social network recently buying Niche, a company that facilitates advertising deals between brands and social media influencers on Vine.

And let’s face it, Twitter needs to find more ways to monetize its platforms, as shown by the recent departure of CEO Dick Costolo amid demands to boost revenue.  

While Vine, like many other apps and real-time platforms, may not provide measureable results (yet) about how views and comments affect the bottom-line, it still allows brands to flex their creative muscles and reach large audiences, and it’s affordable and doesn’t take much time.

Partnering with social media influencers on Vine who have millions of loyal followers is also a great way for brands to reach new consumers or specific audience segments, like high school or college students. In January, Vine launched a separate version for children. It seems like Vine staffers select all of the appropriate content, such as Sesame Street and Disney, at the moment, but eventually, brands may be able to post their own kid-friendly videos.

Lowe’s effort is notable (and it has a bronze Cannes Lion from 2014 to prove it) because it’s fun and offers genuinely useful information. Don’t get me wrong – I love six-second Vines of kittens, but learning something in less than a minute is also great.

Lowe’s Vine award-winning videos were created by ad agency BBDO and produced by Vine artist Meagan Cignoli, but this doesn’t mean PR and social firms or in-house comms teams can’t bring Vine-making into their own wheelhouse.

It will be interesting to see how much Vine features in this year’s winning campaigns at Cannes.

Vines should be authentic, entertaining, and eye-catching enough to make someone want to loop the video multiple times and engage with the brand, and since PR pros already know how to effectively connect with target audiences, it’s a natural fit.

Plus, so many PR firms now have their own content, video, and digital hubs, such as FleishmanHillard’s FH ContentWorks, Edelman Digital, Burson-Marsteller’s StudioB, and Ketchum’s StoryWorks, so they now have the resources to throw at short-form video.

At the beginning of the year, brands seemed to use Vine often, but after SXSW in March, the six-second app became overlooked and replaced by shiny new objects.

New social apps such as Meerkat and Periscope are definitely worth experimenting with, but brands and agencies should also keep in mind the enduring value of established and still popular services like Vine.

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