By Nick Westergaard on January 28, 2013

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Twitter’s New Vine App Redefines Video Content in Six Seconds

twitter vine app

Last Thursday Twitter introduced Vine, an engaging new way to create and share concise mobile video content. Actually, Twitter announced their acquisition of Vine Labs and their signature app. Like all things Twitter, Vine is defined by its brevity. What does this mean for Twitter, content marketing, and, most importantly, your brand?

Through a simple and almost Instagram-like interface, Vine allows users to quickly shoot and compile video clips into a six-second looping piece of digital content that can be shared on Vine as well as pushed to social giants Facebook and Twitter. Beyond social sharing, the content is given an extended shelf-life by saving to your iPhone’s camera roll — the app is iOS only for now, like Instagram in its early days.

The above Instagram comparisons continue when you consider the impact of Vine and Twitter’s push to acquire and launch this service on a larger scale. Facebook’s own acquisition of Instagram last year illustrated the increased demand for engaging mobile content that could be seamlessly shared across social platforms.

As Twitter works to redefine their own experience, going from a “wild west” open API with wide-ranging clients to a more closed and controlled environment, creating engaging in-stream content is mission critical. It’s especially true as Twitter recently shut down in-stream viewing of Instagram photos. While Twitter photo filters may be a hollow knock-off, Vine could be a step in the right direction and may redefine content creation along the way.

Here are a few reasons why Vine could be important and why your brand should take note:

Accessible Tools

Recent studies from Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute have shown that marketers’ chief content concern is creating enough content. As we struggle to feed our hungry online consumers, quick and easy tools that facilitate on-the-go content creation like both Instagram and Vine can be a huge help.

Actionable Storytelling

On-the-go tools like Vine also help content creators develop an action-focused mindset. Part of the appeal of Vine is the ability to quickly create and publish content, as opposed to laboriously over-thinking and over-producing. With the increasing demand, marketers not only need tools, they need a new approach to bringing their brand stories to life with increasing speed. Vine’s vignette format offers a quick storytelling solution with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

While Urban Outfitters was among the first brands on Vine with a dog video that seemed to fulfill the stereotype that too much online content is merely “cat videos,” many brands have already found ways to bring their stories to life on Vine. For example, NBC used their six seconds to take you back stage at their 30 Rock studios.

Where as The Gap took a quick trip down memory lane with a look at past advertisements.

And, of course, Red Vines licorice couldn’t let the name synergies between their product and the new network go unmentioned.

Speaking of action, as the resulting content runs on a loop, this adds movement to any social stream or website on which it appears. You almost have to look at a Vine loop.

Aligned with the Brand

In thinking of the brand implications, it’s also worth mentioning again the parallels between Twitter/Vine and Facebook/Instagram. The birth of Facebook’s brand came from offering students on college campuses the ability to share photos with each other. When another network came along that threatened this defining characteristic, they bought it.

Like Twitter’s own brand DNA, Vine is defined by brevity. While six seconds and 140 characters are definitely restraints, they enable users and brands alike to quickly compose thoughts and content that fit into these parameters. Just as Twitter allows quick and easy conversations that fill its fast-moving stream, Vine should push users to add more content as well.

Almost There

Vine does have some limitations. Not surprisingly, Twitter integration is cleaner through hashtag support and sharing. As there’s no delineation in account/profile types it’s easy to connect your Vine account to your brand’s Twitter account. However, videos can only be pushed to Facebook profiles and not business pages like most brands use.

Features are also a little light. Outside of shooting, switching scenes, and shooting some more, there’s very little you can do in terms of effects. You can’t use the front-facing camera for selfie fun or zoom in and out.

Again, it’s still very early. What is clear is that Vine provides users with fun, engaging content while offering brands an innovative and fast solution for creating it.

What do you think of Vine? Should businesses care? What kind of brand story can you tell in six seconds?


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is Chief Brand Strategist and founder of Brand Driven Digital, where he helps build better brands online. In addition to his agency work, he teaches social media marketing at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business and is the co-host of The Work Talk Show podcast. More about Nick.