Vine losing its hold on audiences has been news ever since the company was acquired by Twitter a few years ago. The story got much starker now as the Wall Street Journal and others report that Vine creators and brands are moving on to greener pastures on Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube. In fact, Digiday claims that half of the platform’s top creators are simply slipping away to set up shop on platforms where the users and brands alike are congregating.
The six-second video platform may not like it but an increasing number of its most famous users are noting that their content is available elsewhere right on their profiles. Top Viner Zach King uses his profile to note his Snapchat account, which has far more recent content than his presence on Vine.
Video analytics platform Tubular Labs has been reporting on challenges at Vine for the last year. Of the 40 key brands that they monitor for social media marketing activity, only 4 percent of content was posted onto the short-video platform. By comparison, 64 percent went to YouTube, 24 percent to Facebook and 8 percent to Instagram. Tubular also notes that this is accompanied by a 29 percent drop in posts from the Top 10 Viners in the past year.
Vine’s Loss Means Gains For Snapchat, Facebook And Even Periscope
Vine falling out of favor with marketers is not surprising. With its failure to grow a larger user base and lack of the kind of powerful targeting and engagement metrics found on Facebook, YouTube and other platforms, it is hard for marketers to justify the expense of producing content exclusively for the platform.
If users still found Vine compelling, the marketers might look past the metrics issues. The problem is that users have so many ways to experience Vine-like videos. Less than a year after Vine’s six-second video format rolled out, Instagram offered up similar features with arguably better controls. Soon, Facebook and Snapchat had similar functionality as well. All of these alternatives have better tools for brands to pay for amplification and posting, allowing them to take the reins on content distribution. Vine’s only option is for brands to work with the creators on the platform.
YouTube has continued to grow massively and the explosion of live streaming apps (including Twitter-owned Periscope) rose to prominence. In fact, Periscope, which Twitter acquired in March 2015 as rival live-streamer Meerkat was on the rise, seems to be getting more attention from its parent than Vine. Twitter just announced that Periscope functionality is being folded into the 140 character microblogging tool with a “live” button linking to Periscope.
While Vine may still contains branded content, most of what you see is featuring more videos that seem packaged for reuse later on other channels where the same influencer may have a larger audience. This is both the strength and the challenge of an app that has such a singular vision. While the limits of having only six seconds to express oneself provided ample opportunity for creativity when the app launched, it also means that others could capitalize on the format along with other offerings. Both Facebook and Snapchat keep growing in their functionality and expanding what they do. While Vine still relies on the ingenuity of its creators, Snapchat includes so many features that support low-effort creativity like 3D stickers, the ability to draw on images and geofilters that it feels more like a creator’s platform. Snapchat is full of content that is exclusive to its experience.
Vine Might Need To Pay Influencers
Vine could potentially buy their way out of the situation. Buzzfeed noted that some of Vine’s top stars approached the company to request compensation to create content exclusively for the platform. While social networks have been building their business on user-generated content for years, both YouTube and Facebook now have methods for paying creators for content. YouTube Red was launched as a paid service that built compensation for creators into its business model. Facebook has been making significant gains in drawing influencers and younger users back to their network with a focus on new technology to support live streaming and increasingly creator-friendly options. While Twitter has not signed the deal to get Vine’s creators paid, it seems like influencers are holding the content cards in this situation and the audiences will follow wherever they set up shop.
Photo credit: Zach King