Free iOS app Vine, which allows users to share short GIF-style video clips on the service’s own news feed and with other social networks, launched on 24 January. It was already the tenth most downloaded free iOS app in the UK at the time of writing (29 January), according to analytics service App Annie.
UK brands including Asos, Southampton FC, Tate, Betfair and Topshop are amongst the companies that have experimented with the app to date. However, many of the use cases so far – which have included stop-gap animation, speed drawing or simple six-second shots – have been one-offs and the creative is less slick than their other above the line creative output.
Animal welfare charity Dogs Trust has posted two Vine videos to date and is monitoring their effectiveness via a call to action text donation code in one video and a link to a digital job ad in another.
Laurier Nicas Alder, the charity’s digital marketing officer, says Dogs Trust wanted to post its message out while people were still talking about the app in its early days but recognises while its brand had the opportunity to be flexible, many others will need to take time to talk about how they will work Vine into their wider social media strategies.
As well as some early PR for being a front-runner, an advantage for brands trialling Vine now is that there are no limitations on editing and post-production that exist when producing other video because the film is shot inside the app, according to Martin Belam, founder of digital consultancy Emblem and former user experience lead at The Guardian.
He adds: “It should be impossible to blow a £50,000 budget on a viral that doesn’t actually go viral. The fact that it had to be done in-app lends an authenticity to it because the brand has access to exactly the same technology as the consumer.”
Vine adds an extra layer of storytelling to Twitter, which previous 140-character tweets sometimes restricts. Kristin Brewe, chair of the IAB’s social media council warns individuals will likely be very protective of this highly shared community.
“[Vine users and Twitter followers] would likely welcome something from a brand that spoke to their interests, but not so much a cutaway of a TV ad focusing on the last seconds of call-to-action,” she adds.
Paul Armstrong, head of social at Mindshare, it will not be long before creative shops even start working on mini episodic content – although he advises brands, as with all new services, to carefully review the terms of service, objectives and copyright law before launching straight into Vine campaigns.
Vine also offers an opportunity to extend user engagement on Twitter into user generated content (UGC). Birmingham City FC created a Vine on 25 January featuring many of its players answering a question and invited its followers to tweet what they thought the question was, for example.
Amy Kean, head of consumer innovation at Havas Media, says Vine could give UGC a revival: “Vine should make UGC a lot more appealing and accessible. In the past, the idea of shooting your own video and going to the trouble of uploading it on a dedicated website – like P&G brand Pantene’s “upload your swoosh” – seemed so laborious and often content you upload to a Facebook app can get easily lost.”
Early adopter brands did face being associated – if only by juxtaposition – with more explicit user generated content however, as Vine quickly became a hub for pornographic videos.
It has caused embarrassment for Twitter which was forced to apologise to users on 28 January after a hardcore video, tagged #porn and #nsfwvine, appeared as an “editor’s pick” on its homepage.
The influx of x-rated clips prompted Twitter to go on to ban searches for explicit content on the app and deleting users who posted pornographic content on the all-ages service.