Attention spans are shrinking. In 2000 the average attention span of an average internet user stood at 12 seconds, fast forward thirteen years later and that figure has dropped to just 8 seconds (which according to some estimations is less than that of a goldfish). To internet marketers and advertisers, these statistics highlight just how easy it is to lose a potential customer or disengage a follower from your brand. The window of opportunity to land the hook and reel the viewer in has diminished drastically in a relatively short period of time.
The Twitter Archetype
Perhaps no other platform sums up our appetite for condensed and quickly consumable content in the internet age more than Twitter. With video content on the web being uploaded at an exponential rate, it was no surprise when Twitter announced in October 2012 that it had acquired Vine; the six second video sharing platform. The rest has been history, with Vine going from strength to strength in under a year, as the market for six second video exploded, mirroring the success of Twitter’s original micro blogging platform.
But telling a story in six seconds was always going to be something that troubled marketers. Without the ability to establish a beginning, a middle and an end, there was no way to create context, and with no context there was the risk that the message could get lost.
Before long though it soon became apparent that Vine’s strength lay not in its ability to tell a story as such, but in its capacity to comment, react and compliment pre-existing narratives whether they be cultural or constructed. This was Twitter for the video making generation.
Many savvy marketers quickly came to recognise the paradoxical brilliance of Vine actually lay in its imposed constrictiveness, which was engendering a whole new breed of creativity amongst amateur Vine movie makers. Chief amongst them were people like Zach King and Ian Padgham of Origiful. With only 6 seconds to say something or make an impression, these new magicians of the medium would soon be highly sought after as they’re Vines started to go viral.
Minutes and Moments. The top down approach to video marketing is undoubtedly becoming a thing of the past, with dialogue replacing monologue and pre-existing online communities and groupings becoming pivotal to brand engagement levels and the ultimate success of your campaign. GE nailed it, so did Samsung. Both looked to the interests their core community and both showed rather than told.
“The opportunity for marketers is that we now have these minutes and moments with target audiences, which we didn’t used to have,” says Jon Mowat, MD at video marketing company Hurricane Media. “We have those moments on the train or on the bus or when they’re just talking to friends to get our marketing messages across to them. But they’re very short.” Mowat sees the rise of Vine as inextricably linked to the death of traditional linear brand narratives in video marketing, which tell a single story, from beginning to middle to end, on a single medium. The rise of Vine and other marketing platforms across social media, mean that these constraints are no longer there, allowing marketers to use Vine to comment on cultural tropes, popular amongst a company’s target demographics, or form vignettes on a theme established over a wider video marketing campaign.
A Vintage Year for Vine?
The buzz around Vine is racking up. Many events and industry insiders are taking the time to discuss Vine in the wider context of video marketing. What for the future of Vine? Pete Durant, Social Media Director at Manning Gottlieb OMD, said: “[Vine] will continue to blossom in to well-used tools in a marketer’s arsenal but 2014 will be an exploratory year. Barrier to production is still high because production of a quality video still requires the thought, storyboarding and creative ability to make it both look good and tell a story.”
There seems to be a drive to keep Vine about sharing, animator Ian Padgham (aka Origiful) had this to say : “The new currency of the webernets is “sharing” in all its various forms… People want short, fast, original media that they can consume rapidly and then share just as fast. Vine provides this.”
The introduction of Vine Messages (VMs) could potentially add a whole new social dimension to the platform, but how marketers will exploit this space is far from certain. Like so many internet success stories, there is the perennial question about revenue generation and whether or not to allowing advertising in, but despite all this, 2014 may well prove to be a vintage year for vine.