RIP Vine, My Old Friend

6 seconds. That’s all Vine was: 6 seconds of humor, glory, sadness, short stories, moments, memories, creativity, or laughter. Vine was started in June of 2012, and I absolutely loved it. I discovered Vine during my junior year of high school, and from then on out, I was hooked. I never made Vines, but my old lacrosse teammates and I would spend hours after practice watching the creative, funny, and stupid stuff that Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 7.15.18 PM.pngpeople would put out there on this app. When I first came to BC, Vine was the initial way I bonded with my freshman year roommate; I had never met someone else that found it as funny as I did. My best friend and I would direct message each other funny Vines instead of texting, and we always saw the best of Vine before they went viral on Instagram and Twitter.

I was one of the few people that used Vine almost daily, so I never actually believed the rumors that Twitter, who owned Vine, would actually shut it down. January 17, 2017 was a tragic day. I always knew that the concept of Vine was being “copied”, and then improved, by apps like Snapchat and Instagram, and even Twitter itself, so Vine shutting down wasn’t a huge surprise to me. However, I always wondered what killed Vine, and I found quite a few answers while doing some research:

1. Vine Moved too Slow

The creators of Vine were too slow moving to truly differentiate the app. Instead of allowing users to determine the length of their videos, Vine insisted on only allowing users to create 6 second clips. Meanwhile, Snapchat allowed its users to create videos up to 10 seconds in length, and would allow multiple videos and/or pictures to be posted under its MyStory feature, making it easier for users to share their content. When Instagram allowed videos to be posted, their users could post content up to 15 seconds in length. Eventually, Instagram increased video time to a full minute. By the time Vine decided to be flexible with the timing of its content, its users had moved on.Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 7.20.14 PM.png

2. Vine Wasn’t Attractive to Advertisers

In order for a social media company to generate cash flow, their ideas need to be attractive to both users and advertisers. Advertisers likely thought that six second was just a little too short to get a strong, clear message out to their audience. In 2015, Vine had 200 million monthly active users,  but only 10% of the top brands on Twitter were present on Vine. Vine only reached 14% of the United States’ digital population…which isn’t exactly an advertiser’s dream. Companies couldn’t truly capitalize on any advertising done via Vine, and passed the app over. Other social media apps, such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, are much more attractive to advertisers.

3. Twitter Doesn’t Have the Money

Twitter lost $116.5 million last quarter, and their stock price has plummeted. Twitter has been struggling with finding somebody to buy them, and Vine wasn’t helping the cause. Vine wasn’t producing any advertising revenue, and Twitter simply couldn’t afford to Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 7.25.24 PM.pngpay the staff of Vine. Twitter has had a tough time winning more advertising money in the face of disappointing user growth. Declining advertising revenue and lackluster growth were a recipe of disaster for Vine, as Twitter needed to make a business move that would most benefit their company as a whole.

4. Even the Vine Stars Jumped Ship

Companies and brands used to pay Vine stars directly to advertise for them. However, after Snapchat and Instagram grew to have hundreds of millions of users, both the Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 7.18.51 PM.pngadvertisers and the paid promoters jumped ship. Vine was their starting point, but once they gained a lot of followers and traction, they were offered more money to advertise and work with other social media apps. Compared to Vine, other social media video platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube offered more creativity and a larger audience, and therefore, a great opportunity to make money.

Will other Social Media Apps face the same fate?

As a millennial, Vine’s fate was honestly unsurprising. I was one of the few people who continued to use the app after its downward spiral, and even then, I mostly found myself re-watching the older Vines that I used to like. When Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat introduced video streaming and creation, there was no need for Vine. Instagram became a “one-stop shop.” Personally, I don’t think that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat will face the fate that Vine did because they all are able to generate revenue from advertisements, have large users bases, and have established themselves as the dominant social media applications and websites. However, newer social media applications, such as HouseParty, will have to avoid the mistakes Vine made. They need to be able to generate advertisement revenue, differentiate their product offering, and keep up with the ever-changing, always moving digital age.Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 7.26.21 PM.png

RIP Vine, My Old Friend! You’ll be missed by me, but not by most. (Tragic.)

9 comments

  1. Awesome post! I was never an avid Vine user, but I actually thought the best part was the short 6 second length. For some reason a 6 second Vine felt like a significantly smaller time investment than a whole 10 second Snapchat story. I wonder if Twitter had been able to invest more in Vine whether they would have been able to get more advertisers to use the platform. Do you know if the number of users was still growing when they shut it down or whether it had already plateaued?

    1. Great question! Unfortunately, Vine’s user base wasn’t growing, which was another contributing factor for Vine’s eventual death. With no users, no top executives, and no revenue, it’s “social media suicide” to try and continue! Twitter itself was struggling with profitability at the time, and was not able to financially support Vine or its staff.

  2. Great post! This is the first time that I hear about Vine. I like your analysis from different aspects which are very thorough and comprehensive. As an innovator, it is very sad that Vine didn’t survive. However, every industry needs an innovator to move forward and offer a revolutionary product. I believe Twitter even other companies have been taught by Vine’s failure and tried to achieve new things.

  3. Great Post! I actually forgot about Vine. I was never a fan of the app, but I remember my friends used to spend hours trying to make funny Vines. I think it makes sense that the app did not survive. It was a fad. It was not sustainable. It was something people were interested in for a couple of months, but people soon forgot about it. I think that the main reason people forgot about this app was that it was not personal. It did not allow people to see real insight to people’s lives. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter allow people to connect with their friends and celebrities to gain insight into their everyday lives.

  4. Love this post! I was also an avid user of Vine and similarly felt like I was the last person in college to still watch those 6 second videos of genius. I was not surprised that Vine declined as it did given that Instagram and Snapchat offer similar platforms for creative expression, but there is nothing quite like scrolling through a feed of strictly Vines. I loved how Vines catered to our increasingly shorter attention spans and could make me ROFL for hours. Much more so than Snapchat and Instagram, Vine bonded my friends and me together–whether that was sharing Vines with each other or spending way too much time creating 6 seconds of content that would hopefully (fingers crossed) make us “Vine famous.” From the bottom of my heart, RIP, Vine.

  5. Nice post! I think all of us have some sort of nostalgia for Vine, whether it was creating content or just looking at clips with friends. I think it would have been interesting to see how Vine would have done if it wasn’t tied to the sinking ship of Twitter. This reminds me of our discussion on Facebook, and how they were able to go from their base product to expanding into a company that is so much more than just a News Feed. This is something that Vine was never able to do. I also think that we, as users, often forget about the importance that advertisers play in the success of the app. While an app such as Snapchat hasn’t necessarily differed greatly from it’s base product that it had when it came out, it has made room for advertisers within it’s product, and this has helped with its financial success

  6. My friends and I used to LOVE sending Vine videos back and forth… but the sad part is most of the time we tagged each other in them on Facebook. I think Vine struggled to be truly unique and so it was easy for other platforms to have the same content. I never thought about your point about advertisers not being attracted to Vine, but it makes a lot of sense for why ultimately it was unable to be successful–those would be really short advertisements to make an impact.

  7. Nice post. Just before Vine collapsed, the Vine “influencers” came to them and offered to generate content exclusively for Vine for some absurd amount of money, which I thought was ridiculous.

  8. When I used Vine back in high school and the early part of college, I was surprised to see that the platform was not being used extensively for advertising. Much like early Snapchat, Vine wasn’t really the go-to place for advertising. Like you mention, without this, Vine simply couldn’t sustain itself. Free-to-use platforms are great for users, but for the company, they need that financial safety net to keep them alive.

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