Vine is dying. Recent reports show that over 50% of the power users on Vine have already begun to abandon the platform. But why, following Vine’s explosive growth, has its user base started to move on? It’s all a combination of marketing failures, redundant user experience, and a critical lack of innovation.
Peering through the Vines
Released in 2012, Vine hit explosive growth soon after due to its unique atmosphere and youthful customer base. Vine combined the best parts of both YouTube and Twitter: short snippets of visually interesting content. Comedians, musicians, magicians, and other entertainers flocked to Vine as a way to court their own fan base. Vines proved to be highly shareable in a way that no other social media platform could compete with — they delivered quality content without any investment of time. Further, the seemingly outlandish concept (a few short seconds of video) actually forced Vine producers to be even more creative.
But All Good Things…
In response to Vine, other social media platforms made it easier to share videos. Previously, videos were cumbersome to share and often difficult to play. By integrating video more seamlessly into their platforms, other broader social media platforms began to court video production. But it wasn’t until Vine started searching for advertiser dollars that many Viners began to leave — primarily to YouTube. Vine suffered from the same problem Twitter did: a lack of monetization. Though it had a tremendous number of users, content, and activity, it had no clear path to profit. This is an area in which many social media platforms faltered.
Twitter addressed this issue through promoted tweets and other marketing products. And Vine followed suit — but, unfortunately, the more youthful demographic of Vine quickly rebelled. Sponsored Vines turned off both video producers and the users that followed them. What could be fairly easily ignored on a text-based platform such as Twitter was discovered to be hopelessly obtrusive in an audio and video format. It’s a lesson that needed to be learned: users are still almost universally resilient to direct marketing.
What’s Next for Vine?
Vine may be dying, but that doesn’t mean that it’s beyond redemption. Vine still has a fairly stale platform and a strong user base. The core problem now appears to be the difficulty that Viners have in monetizing their own videos, which makes it difficult for them (and their followers) to accept promoted advertising. Viners have more success monetizing their YouTube channels, even though the format may be significantly different. If Vine can find a way to provide for better creator monetization while reducing the visibility of advertiser-provided content, it may be able to bounce back among its core demographic.