For the latest news and trends on top YouTubers, Instagrammers, Facebook stars (formerly Viners), bloggers, & Snapchatters, subscribe to our industry digest newsletter!
Twitter has officially announced it’s ending a tumultuous 3-year run with social video platform, Vine (for context, Twitter has been around for a decade). The social media app responsible for launching many of today’s most popular social media stars enabled its users to easily create 6-second looping videos shareable with a Tweet or across other social channels.
While news of Vine’s death may be hard for some to bear, its decline was predictable (Twitter is slated to lay off nearly 10% of its employees post Q3 earnings) and in many cases inevitable (as our post “Have We Seen The End Of Vine?” demonstrates from early this year). Facing tough competition and growth (the same type of explosive user growth Vine experienced in its heyday) from Snapchat, Instagram, and now Facebook, Vine struggled to keep top content creators (and therefore their audiences) from jumping ship.
Today, Twitter/Vine shared the following on their Medium blog:
Though Vine was founded in summer 2012, the company was shortly acquired by Twitter for $30M prior to its formal launch at the start of 2013. Vine quickly found breakout success as one of the first movers to gain traction in the mobile video market (in the span of a few short months, Vine became the number one downloaded free app in the U.S. App Store). Its desktop version, Vine.co, saw site traffic rise over 4,500% in less than half a year.
For certain users, Vine had very utilitarian uses: sports enthusiasts leveraged the short-form video platform to capture favorite game day moments and create memorable sports memes (New York Times). Many creatives also used Vine to showcase their visual effects from stop motion animation to magical effects. NYT also mentions how Vine enabled many users to capture spontaneous events long before Periscope, Snapchat, or even Facebook Live began to dominate the scene as the go-to social media apps for livestreaming video.
At the height of its popularity, Vine spawned dozens of social media influencers (commonly referred to as Vine stars or Viners) who had mastered the art of crafting highly-shareable short-form content. These “Vines” or 6-second looping clips were often comedic in nature and would creatively showcase the Vine stars physical talents, wit, or sarcasm along with entertaining collaborations with other top Viners.
Related Post: The Top 10 Biggest Vine Influencers & Stars
With rampant sharing and viewing of these clips, many of Vine’s most popular stars saw their follower count climb into the millions. Some of Vine’s most famous stars include:
With millions of followers each on Vine (and sometimes more on other social media platforms), many of its top social media stars experienced lucrative careers working with brands to create sponsored Vine marketing campaigns. Vine and its homegrown crop of social media influencers were seemingly unstoppable with many starring in movies, launching music careers, and/or starting businesses with their newfound fame. New influencer marketing companies like Niche.co (acquired by Twitter for nearly $50M) formed to help manage digital talent.
Related Post: What Is Influencer Marketing?
At one point, Vine was ahead of the competition that ultimately ended its run (mainly because Vine was indeed ahead of its time and there was little competition). However, there are a number of key factors that led to its death.
Unlike many of its competitors, Vine lacked native advertising options. While marketers could still advertise on Vine audiences through sponsored posts with top Vine stars, the lack of native advertising options did not help Vine become profitable—tech reporter Mike Isaac of the New York Times postulates “Vine was dead weight.” In an age where audiences are forgoing TV for online and social media entertainment, Vine’s competitors offered increasingly more native advertising options with advanced audience targeting and comprehensive engagement metrics.
When Vine first launched, a 6-second video on infinite loop captured audiences’ attention. However, within the summer of Vine’s first year, Instagram (with its larger, more-established userbase) launched its own social video feature with 15-second videos effectively offering substantial direct competition to the fledging upstart. Increasingly more social media apps and networks offered video capabilities exceeding Vine’s including Snapchat which appealed to users with disappearing content.
With lesser functionality and a restrictive video format, many of Vine’s top creators eventually migrated to other platforms and arguably found more success. Prior to today’s announcement, Vine made headlines over the summer when several of its top stars expressed frustration at the video platform’s lack of fair or proper compensation (WSJ, BuzzFeed, AOL).
via Rus Yusupov, founder of Vine