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It launched, like no other social network before it, with instructions on how to create the perfect steak tartare and very quickly, became all about spam, pornography and regulation. 

Vine is one of the raft of new launches from Twitter. It’s novel, it’s got some spammy teething problems and it’s already had its first #fail

But, assuming that all of this can be fixed (and this is social behemoth Twitter we’re talking about, so that’s a fair assumption) what does Vine mean for brands?

Vine is tapping into a lot of trends. It’s almost an instant creation of a gif, or looped video, and a richer experience than a photo. Videos and gifs share well, and integration across devices and Twitter clients will help on this front.

The potential for a good Vine going viral is amazing. (And when, as we’ve already learned, when something less great is created, it can spread too).

However, there are several elements that may impact on consumer uptake, ultimately, the major deciding factor for brand involvement. The first is the increased initial effort required to create a Vine.

It’s as simple as it can be – but it’s still more complex than simply snapping a photo. Vines will never replace photos for that instant hit; for capturing a moment. And while cameras are instantly accessible from the home screen of most phones for that fleeting moment, the Vine app isn’t.

With brands just having got their collective heads around video and images in social, it might be some time before there’s a critical mass of brands mastering Vines. However, brands have started experimenting – and even running ads using the technology.

In some ways, a short six-second sharable animation could be the perfect cross-platform ad format.

At the moment, outside of Vine, brands aren’t creating much in the way of gifs or gif-like images. Video or images tend to be what brands are finding works best. However, the creation of an integrated platform for these ‘halfway house’ items of media may provide an incentive to experiment in this space.

There’s certainly potential for very cool content, though it will take strong case studies of Vines working for brands before we see wide uptake

But as with most channels, businesses will need to sit back and work out if there’s anything in Vine that could work for them. Rather than racing in and throwing resources at a new app – any app, not just Vine – brands need to work out how it would fit in with their wider strategy; overall business and social media aims.

We’re now seeing some great uses of Pinterest by brands – but it took a critical mass of users and the chance to see how those users interacted with Pinterest before it became worthwhile for brands to invest time and money.

Vine may be the same. If content is generally low-quality, spammers take over and take up is low, then brands may decide it’s not for them.

Short moving images are the logical step between sharing pictures and sharing movies, with a low barrier to entry. It’s relatively easy to create something with a bit of a ‘wow’ factor on apps like Cinemagram – but Vine needs to find its purpose with consumers and brands.

There needs to be a compelling reason to share a Vine rather than just a photograph.

Steve Richards

Published 30 January, 2013 by Steve Richards

Steve Richards is MD of social media agency Yomego and a contributor to Econsultancy.

31 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

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Jennie Wood

It's very early days, but I do think Vine has great potential, for some of the reasons you've identified.

I'd question the concern over replacing still photos - instead I think this adds another social layer. Vine is ideal for quick, fun procedures - businesses could use to demonstrate how to do something, whether for practical application or for more creative and fun marketing purposes.

I like where this is all going, but I think wider adoption may take a while. Personally, I still default to Facebook and Twitter before giving this a thought.

almost 4 years ago

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