RIP Vine: what went wrong?

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The six-second video-sharing app is dead, long live the video-sharing app.

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In an age where the attention span of the average internet user is short and campaigns live or die by how quickly they can make their point, it feels out of step that Vine - an app where users create and share six-second clips - should sink into the internet ocean so soon. 

Twitter, which owns the app, has announced that it is shutting down the Vine platform in a bid to reduce its workforce by nine per cent following a slowdown in the social network’s growth.

If Vine plays a key part in your content marketing, fear not, nothing will change right away. You’ll still be able to access and download your Vines for now and the site will be kept online as a lasting memorial to its six-second hilarities.

What did it achieve and why has it failed?

Launched on January 24, 2013, Vine quickly accumulated a passionate and creative following, due to how easily it let users film and post quick clips, almost exclusively tailored to generate maximum lols.

Since then, its 39 million or so videos have been watched more than 765 billion times and at its peak, 100 million people were watching its clips every month.

However, this has dipped to the tens of millions after larger social networks got in on the act and effectively stole Vine’s thunder.

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[Image credit: www.nbc.com]

Vine’s corporate website boasts that the app serves 1.5 billion video loops a day. Instagram, meanwhile, clocks 10 billion video views every day, which is up from eight million earlier in 2016.

Tumbleweed

It’s been no secret that Vine’s use has diminished since its heyday, but Twitter’s decision to lock out on new content seems strange. Other platforms have suffered more severe plummets from grace and survived (ahem, MySpace).

Many have been ringing the death knell on Vine for months though, one of them being Sarah Ware, chief executive of advertising firm Markerly, which focuses on social media campaigns. 

In comments to TheAtlantic.com in May, she claimed that Vine engagements had hit “an all-time low” and the platform’s most-followed accounts hadn’t posted anything all year. 

Out of the 1,000 top profiles, only 35 new videos had been uploaded in 2016 (as of May), and 12 of those were from the same account. 

Brand exodus

On a brand level, Coca Cola posted just one Vine in 2015 and McDonalds hasn’t Vined since January. Older data suggested that big brands had ditched Vine long ago in favour of live video streaming app Periscope, also owned by Twitter.

Between March and November 2015, the proportion of top brands on Twitter using Vine regularly dropped from 21 per cent to just 10. 

Meanwhile, Periscope’s use amongst Twitter’s biggest brands had snowballed from three per cent to 15 in these nine months, and it continues to enjoy mild success, passing 200 million broadcasts in March 2016. However, it could still go the same way as Vine, in light of Facebook’s live broadcasting feature.

 

Six seconds, one trick

One of Vine’s fatal errors was that it didn’t diversify. 

Instagram has faced a lot of flack for introducing certain features over time, most notably the ability to post videos and content that disappears after 24 hours. 

Vine and Snapchat are entitled to feel ripped off but Instagram’s constant development is why it continues to thrive. As a significant section of Vine users were using Instagram already, they simply ditched Vine without even realising.

Despite gunning for the same target audience - teens - Snapchat seems to have weathered the storm better than Vine and has held its own against Instagram. At time of writing, it is fourth in the overall free apps chart on iOS, ahead of Instagram in seventh and leagues away from Vine, which resides in the high 200s.

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[Image credit: PBS]

No cashflow

Another factor in Vine’s downfall was Twitter’s failure to monetise the platform. 

At its earnings call in April, Vine was barely mentioned but when it was, Twitter’s chief operating officer Adam Bain insisted that Vine was indeed being monetised because marketers were being allowed to “bring that canvas into Twitter and do targeting campaigns and measurement through the tools that we have available on the platform”.

Not quite the same, Adam.

What now?

It’s highly likely that any Vines you’ve seen recently were re-shared through Facebook, which says it all really.

If Vine did form part of your content marketing, not many people were seeing it. The app burnt fast and bright like many of the memes it pedalled, but there are various ways to push out short and snappy clips: Instagram, Facebook, whoa even YouTube (how have we reached the end without mentioned those guys?!). 

Vine has been severed and left to dry up and rot. Move along, people.

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[Image credit: imgur.com]

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