Vine: A Review of Twitter's New Social Video App
The social video space has seen its fair share of flavor-of-the-month services and apps but, so far, nobody has figured out how to do it right. A few weeks ago, Twitter launched Vine, its new social video app. While the dust has settled (and the initial buzz has died down), the app is clearly taking off.
The easiest way to think about Vine is as the "Instagram of video." Vine allows users to create six-second, looping videos to share in-app and on Facebook and Twitter. It's simple, intuitive, and, most importantly, it's fun.
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) February 4, 2013
So, how exactly does it work? And should your brand be on Vine? Let's take a look with our review of Vine.
To record a video, you must first hit the video icon in the top right corner to enter the record mode. You can then record video by touching your finger to the screen. Removing your finger from the screen pauses the recording. The video is not complete until six full seconds have been recorded.
For now, videos cannot be created from existing videos, so all content has to be shot within the app. Each shot records audio, as well.
After you have created your video, you can then share it through Vine, Twitter, or Facebook. You can include a caption and include hashtags, which show up natively in Twitter and are searchable in Vine itself.
You can explore Vine in a few ways. First, you can search for users or tags in the search box. They can view "Editor's Picks" and "Popular Now" streams, and, below that, you can view popular tags that have accompanying icons.
Brand Setup on Vine
Signing up for a brand or personal Vine account is fairly straightforward. One can either log in through Twitter or sign up using an email address. Brands should use their official Twitter handle to sign in, as this makes the brand easier to search for in-app while also enabling the "share via Twitter" function.
If a brand name has been taken, Vine has an email account set up for copyright infringement to be reported. At this point, Vine does not have an official process or time period involved for claiming names that have already been taken by users. The service also does not have a "verified" program, although this feature is likely coming.
— Dove (@Dove) January 25, 2013
Brands on Vine
Several brands have already taken to Vine to experiment with content. Because videos have to be taken on an iPhone, shot within the app, and in sequence, there's an inherent limit to the production value that a video can have.
Many branded videos to date include hand-drawn signs, simple product demonstrations, and behind-the-scenes footage. As the app matures and becomes available for other mobile platforms like Android, Vine will no doubt become more feature-rich (similar to how Instagram evolved), but for now, brands have focused on simplicity.
The real opportunity for brands on Vine right now is to use it as a new way to create engaging content. Despite the hype (and Twitter's backing), the user base is relatively small, so from a "community" standpoint, Vine isn’t worth focusing on yet. But from a content perspective, it's all there, and the seamless Twitter integration makes Vine content easy to share.
Ways to Use Vine as a Brand
Product reveals and teasers. Taco Bell recently used Vine to unveil its new Cool Ranch Doritos Taco Loco
— TACO BELL (@TacoBell) February 13, 2013
How-to / visual tutorials and before-and-after examples.
— Bacardi UK (@BacardiUK) February 17, 2013
Stare for 6 seconds. Tell us what you see. vine.co/v/bnz71IztXj9
— General Electric (@generalelectric) February 4, 2013
Twitter promotions, contests and giveaways based around branded or user-generated Vine content. Using promoted Tweets, brands can expand the reach of the content.
— Kleenex (@Kleenex_UK) February 18, 2013
Behind the scenes videos of events and daily ongoings of a business.
Strengths and Shortcomings
Given its relative infancy, Vine has several shortcomings, but its core strengths will certainly help drive adoption.
- Engaging Content: Vine is another tool in a brand's content belt and a new form of engaging content beyond text, links, and photos.
- Ease of Use/Low Barrier: Video creation has a higher barrier to participation than photographs, from a user and brand perspective. Vine makes it dead simple to record and share videos.
- Twitter Integration: Vine is the de facto "official video service." Finding users to follow by connecting a Twitter account is easy. When shared via Twitter, videos are embedded in tweets as Media Cards that can be embedded in web pages.
- Not Available on Android: Vine is only available for iOS at the moment. Twitter insists that it’s working on bringing Vine to other platforms, but for now, a significant percentage of smartphone users are shut out from creating Vine videos.
- Lack of Editing and Saving: Vine videos can only be created within the application, and can't be saved or edited before posting. This presents a practical challenge because, in order to post a Vine video, an individual has to be logged into a brand’s account on his or her iPhone and shoot all video on-site (compared to, say, Instagram, in which brands can upload pre-existing photos or photos taken on professional cameras). Additionally, this presents a challenge for brands that require approvals of content before posting.
- Facebook Integration: This one is big. With Vine being a Twitter product, user experience and integration with Facebook may be a challenge for the network to overcome. The Facebook “Find people” function was built into the original app, but Facebook promptly cut off Vine's access, placing a major roadblock to finding friends. To make matters worse, Facebook’s limits on the news feed and open graph actions mean that Vine videos can’t be viewed natively, instead showing up as a link that a user has to click through.
- Pornography and Spam: The app was temporarily removed from the App Store due to spam and pornography flooding the application. Vine has since updated the age rating to 17 or older, and users now have the ability to block a user’s content from the app feed.
- Infancy of Application: With the application being in its infancy (less than a month old), there are bugs and application errors for brands to contend with. There is also a lack of user data and insights for brands to evaluate the service.
- No Web-Based User Profiles: When a Vine is shared, the link displays a user’s profile picture, but there isn’t a place for audiences to view that user’s profile or additional content on the web.
- Lack of Management Tools for Brand Security: Currently there aren't management tools for brands on Vine, meaning that a user has to log in to a brand’s account using his or her phone, thus opening the door to security risks (and human error).
Vine has already established itself as one of the leaders, if not the leader, in social video. With Twitter’s backing and continual iteration, Vine is clearly an app for brands to keep an eye on. The simplicity of Vine is perfect to encourage consumers to adopt the app, but might prevent some brands from going all-in on Vine.
Vine is a great tool for video content creation to syndicate on Twitter. If and when additional functionality – like uploading pre-existing video, and management and analytic tools – becomes available for brands, Vine could turn become a true community platform. For now, it's time to watch Vine grow.
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