Friday Mar 01, 2013

Will You Wither on the Vine?

grapesNow that Vine, the video app acquired by Twitter in October 2012, has had time to apply some updates, reach proper levels of usage and absorb feedback, where might it wind up on the “Scale of Social Importance” for brands? (There is no such scale. I totally made it up.)

Vine takes the concept of restricting content exhibited in the Twitter character limit, and applies it to video. Vine videos don’t go beyond 6 seconds. They’re looped, meaning they automatically repeat, not unlike the animated GIFs so iconic of Tumblr. And they do begin playing automatically.

But the bottom line is, you have 6 seconds to thrill, entertain, amuse, inform, and communicate your message. The adoption of Vine videos further illustrates how the public has been telling us they want to consume content. They like video…and they like it to be easy to make, easy to watch, and easy to share. Vine speaks to all these things.

Which plops the ball right back in our court as brands. We have to decide if we’re going to play by the consumer’s rules and make the kind of content they like, on the platforms they like, or not.

If production costs are why your brand hasn’t gotten deep into generating video for your social channels, Vine takes away some of that argument. The audience isn’t necessarily looking for “slick” or big budget. They don’t expect George Clooney to appear in your Vine video. You simply record by holding down a button on your device, starting and stopping if you like, until your 6 seconds is up.

The end result looks like something like these examples of Vine video.

We’re still a ways from seeing if user-generated Vine videos can be monetized with ads from us marketers. An AdAge article poses the absurdity of putting a 15-second pre-roll in front of content that’s only 6 seconds. Frankly, there are those that argue such pre-rolls in front of 1:15 videos on YouTube exceed the proper limits of exasperation. But there they are.

Aside from UGC Vine video contests, that leaves brand-created videos holding the most “marketing usage of Vine” potential. Notice how every hot trend and advancement in social points in the same direction? Content and creativity is everything.

With that truth embraced, your awesome Vine videos can be shared to fans and followers on Vine, Facebook and Twitter. They can find additional exposure on a variety of different startups that focus on Vine video discovery and search-ability. These create environments of channel surfing on steroids, short-attention-span theatre.

The differentiator between success and failure for brands is the same as for rank and file users - imagination. Many Vine videos are awful, a complete waste of the viewer’s valuable 6 seconds. Co-founder of Viddy, JJ Aguhob, points out there’s a diminishing pool of quality content for an ever-expanding audience. That’s spells opportunity for your brand to be one of the more valued Vine video content providers.

The job is really the same as it’s always been on social - keep the content relevant, cool, and worthwhile. Vine is simply another new, albeit shorter, way to do that.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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