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Vine and Instagram: a new path to brand engagement?

Daniel Cawrey / July 10, 2013


When the world first heard of Vine, the social video service that lets users post six-second videos to the Internet, not many brands could see the potential in its app. But much to marketers’ surprise, it’s started to make a noticeable impact on their business.

With consumers more savvy about evading advertising than ever before, it’s important for companies to find new ways to get their message across. Here’s how a few brands have successfully gained a new audience through these quick video snippets:

No-budget movies

Major film studios may have millions to blow on summer blockbuster promotions, but the theaters that screen them work with a much smaller budget. To get more bang for their buck, the Regal Entertainment Group has embraced the viral potential of social media by transforming their biggest openings into clever stop-motion Vine videos.

To further increase their reach, Regal has partnered with Coca-Cola and American Licorice Co. to help bolster their ticket and concession sales. American Licorice Co. has already posted over 20 Vines for their Red Vines licorice, which are seeing click-through rates of as high as 3%. That may sound like a small sliver of the Vine pie, but with over 13 million iPhone users alone, that’s a pretty substantial audience.

Transitioning from YouTube

A six-second video is a lot different than a 30-second commercial or a several-minute product demonstration, but some major brands are already making great use of a phone’s tiny time frame.

PlayStation hit a grand slam with their Vine campaign for MLB 13: The Show by modernizing the baseball card. Blitz Agency, the masterminds behind PlayStation’s social media efforts, replaced the traditionally stagnant mug shots with six-second highlight reels of star players. Physical card swapping may be a thing of the past, but social sharing skyrocketed once these virtual cards hit Vine.

Vine has also given Lowe’s a new medium for sharing home improvement tips. Lowe’s CMO Tom Lamb says, “What consumer behavior is forcing us to do is learn to be incredibly concise.” Lamb and BBDO New York have taken this astute insight and turned it into the most helpful and efficient Vine channel on your smartphone.

Vine’s got some competition

Just as brands were beginning to get cozy with Vine, another major social media player decided to throw their hat in the ring. Popular Facebook property Instagram sent Vine shares into a nosedive by offering comparable video capabilities to their extensive user base. Vine posts dropped a whopping 40% on the day Instagram released their video-enabling update, and major fashion brands like Lululemon, Gap and Burberry were quick to validate the new 15-second format.

The problem with Vine, according to Kate Spade’s CMO, Mary Beech, is the need to create a new fan base. Although they’ve managed to obtain a respectable 13,000 Vine followers, that number pales in comparison to the 350,000+ people who already follow Kate Spade’s Instagram feed.

That’s bad news for Vine, but it shouldn’t make much of a difference to brands looking to boost their social media presence. As a matter of fact, this mobile video schism could actually extend your brand’s reach. Since both platforms work in essentially the same way, companies can easily share the same content through Vine and Instagram. To corner the social video market, post your Vines to Twitter and your Instagrams to Facebook. And remember, brevity is the soul of wit.