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“Come out Vine, the jig is up! Put your hands where I can see them and nobody will get hurt”.

William Miller has recently published a blog post on Socialbakers.com entitled How Instagram Killed Vine for Marketers. In his post Miller, like so many social media grim-reapers before him, has declared the death of Vine with a singular swipe of his scythe.

I enjoy this kind of speculation. Especially when it comes to trends in digital marketing or even technology in general. 

From an objective point of view, it’s fascinating to observe the positivity drawn by a new platform in its start-up days, through to the vague grumbles it attracts once it’s past the early majority stage. 

Then you know it won’t be long before the race begins to be the first to announce the ‘death’ of that particular platform. We set them up to knock them down.

Thanks to the fast-paced world of digital, this race gets shorter and shorter with every passing year. 

Facebook had been around for 10 whole years before the gleefully macabre cries rang out announcing its death. I can’t believe it didn’t happen sooner. It took Myspace half that time to drop out of public favour.

Is there any credence to Facebook's demise? I dissected the ‘death’ of Facebook and generally found it was a load of contradictory hogwash. A slowing down of new adopters is understandable when anything reaches such mass penetration, but be in no doubt, Facebook is still the daddy of social media.

Is there any credence to the purported ‘death’ of Vine? 

Here is the graph from Socialbakers:

This gathers data from three months between November 2013 to January 2014.

According to the data, Instagram is not only beating Vine for branded Twitter content, it’s also beating Vine four to one. 28% of brands currently use Instagram for content, while only 7% use Vine.

Vine has only just celebrated its first birthday any talk of its demise seems markedly premature and for that fact alone it sets my ‘bullshit alarm’ ringing. 

Here are some stats in defence of Vine, including contradictory evidence to the above:

  • In its 12 months of existence, 38% of all retailers have adopted Vine as a platform according to GlobalWebIndex, as opposed to the 7% reported above.
  • Vine grew 403% between Q1 and Q3 in 2013 and was the fastest growing app of 2013.
  • In August 2013, Vine had 40m users, tripling its base since June 2013, according to Marketing Land.
  • From June 19 to July 19, Vine videos got .0206% average engagement rate and an average of 20 retweets, while Instagram videos got .0111% average engagement rate and an average of 7 retweets.

Unfortunately all of the stats above come from the same month that Instagram introduced its own video format, or before. Socialbakers’ data is the most recent data I can find.

Instagram video is a 15 second long format that provides all of the filters that Instagram users love along with a selection of editing tools. Subsequent updates to Vine have introduced similar tools, however with Instagram’s 130m users already signed up to the platform, the argument for fleeing across to Vine seems to make less sense.

Am I a fool for defending Vine?

In my own experience I have to admit a certain bias towards Vine, which will probably colour everything I’ve written above. I’ve been writing a monthly round up of the best branded Vines since last year, and I’ve also started doing the same for Instagram Video: 11 of the best branded Instagram videos

I generally find branded Instagram videos to be as slick as full budget adverts, possibly because they are in fact just edited down versions of those ads. Branded Vines are deliberately lo-fi, because there is no point in spending a lot of money on something that’s only six seconds long. This encourages a huge amount of inventiveness, humour and charm, even from the most serious of corporate brands.

Here’s one of the latest from Ford:

Ford is a regular Instagram user, but it reserves its video output to Vine. It uses Instagram to post the kind of well-shot, slick photography you would expect from the motor company. 

Personally I don’t care about cars at all and I have absolutely no love for the Ford brand, however since Ford took to Vine and began uploading a series of funny, low budget videos, I suddenly have a lot more affection for it.

Vine has encouraged Ford to become a brand with character, charm and imagination. It’s not just Ford either, other big brands are also achieving the same results. Coca-Cola, Samsung, Visa, even GE.

It would be a huge shame to lose such a ‘grounding’ platform, especially now that brands are finally starting to see that it’s engagement and personalisation that makes a brand relatable and therefore attractive. As I said above though, this all seems unnecessarily premature and I don’t think I have to break out the ‘save Vine’ placards just yet. 

For more on the battle between Instagram and Vine, check out Fight Club: Instagram’s 15 second video vs. Vine’s six seconds.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 27 February, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (5)

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Glenn David

Ohh, I wish to know which platform came first? Was it Vine or Instagram in video sharing?

about 2 years ago

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Maryrose Lyons, Founder at Brightspark Consulting

Look - Vine is Blur. Instagram Video is Take That.
nuff said.

about 2 years ago

Lenka Istvanova

Lenka Istvanova, Marketing Project Manager at Freestak

Not sure here Chris. I don't know but I don't like Vine or to be honest I downloaded it straightaway when it was out. I used for one video and that's was it. I think Instagram is definitely better but probably some major brands wouldn't agree with me.
Let's see what's going to happen...

about 2 years ago

Hannah Rainford

Hannah Rainford, Social Media Manager at Jellyfish Online Marketing

When brands look to add a new social channel to their mix, they might consider whether to use Instagram or Vine. When weighing up the pros and cons list, they'll opt for Instagram as it allows for videos and photos. It's a no brainer.

Those brands that take to Vine will add it as an addition to Instagram, rather than instead of. They'll do so by making sure that Instagram and Vine have differing objectives.

Take the Ford example - Ford have opted for arty pictures of their vehicles past and present, and they've harnessed the Vine audience love for comedy sketches or wit.

Am I Instagram or Vine? I'm both, but that's because I see them for the different platforms and audiences that they cater for. But for brands who are time-savvy, they'll opt for Instagram.

about 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Maryrose Lyons, Founder at Brightspark Consulting

@hannah Sound comment, well made.

about 2 years ago

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