When Twitter launched its new video service, Vine, in late January 2013, it looked as if the world had been hit with another outlet for the attention-deficit Internet age of online viewers. Vine is an app for creating and sharing six-second videos attached to Tweets, and Tweets are already 140 characters or less. If Twitter was seen as an abbreviation of Facebook when it first launched, Vine could easily be seen as an abbreviation of YouTube.
Soon after the release of Vine, many brands and businesses naturally asked themselves, “How can we monetize this?” Due to size limitations, adding pre-roll ads before the video was out of the question. After all, how long could an ad be before a six-second video? However, a banner ad positioned below or above the video would suffice. Although Vine videos run for only six seconds, when posted in a tweet, they run in a loop. Therefore, a display ad can stay static as the video plays.
With this new opportunity for ad placements attached to these six-second videos, businesses should be cautioned to consider the potential risk of having a brand logo appearing with an inappropriate video. One screenshot could turn into a viral sensation, or even worse, an ever-lasting meme.
Aside from the obvious hyper-short commercials brands or businesses can make with their own Vine account, the app gives the potential for a new level of celebrity endorsement or product placement. Imagine this: Tiger Woods posts a video right before teeing up at Augusta for the Masters Tournament, wearing his Nike hat, leaning on his Nike driver and sending a Vine post out to his fans. Or imagine Justin Bieber posting a Vine video from backstage at his most recent concert, sporting his favorite pair of Adidas NEO shoes.
While the product placement possibilities for major brands are endless, Vine can especially work well on a smaller scale for local businesses. A popular lunch spot business can post a quick video of the soup of the day showing it being prepared, which is more appetizing than just a written description. A local grocery store or farmer’s market can post a quick video showing the produce of the day. Clothing outlets can post videos of clothing items on sale. Basically, businesses can post videos that help their customers feel like they’ve visited the establishment, which then entices them to stop by in person.
Granted, as with all social media use, a possibility exists for consumer complaints to be posted about a business establishment. With Vine, these consumer posts can be handled just as businesses currently handle negative reviews or angry customer complaints via Twitter.
Just over two months after being released by Twitter, the Vine app was in the top “free” spot in Apple’s app store. It looks like Vine is in solid demand by consumers. It’s going to be interesting to see how brands and businesses creatively use the medium. It will be even more interesting to see what initial blunders result as they gain experience with its capabilities and limitations.