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The Big Lesson Marketers Can Learn from the Rise and Fall of Vine

By Carina Duffy

The Big Lesson Marketers Can Learn from the Rise and Fall of Vine

The 6-second video-based social media channel that brought us such gems as Bat Dad and King Bach is closing its (metaphorical) doors. Yes, sadly, soon Vine will be no more.

The rise and fall of the platform was swift, and there is a big lesson we can all learn from it.

I’m not going to lie to you - I never had the Vine app. And now, you’re probably thinking, “ Wow Carina, so glad you’re writing this article about Vine,” but stay with me.

While I never actually had the Vine app, I fell in love with Vines and Vine compilations that floated around Twitter and Facebook .

Having only six seconds to make a statement or make people laugh brought out some incredible creativity in Vine’s early adopters, and launched many to almost instant fame.

The Rise of Vine

Vine first came on the social media scene in 2012, and within a few months was quickly acquired by Twitter, before officially launching its app in January 2013.

It was simple. Six-second videos that play on a loop. That was it -- and it caught on like wildfire.

Full disclosure: at this point I tried to find some old Vines to put here and ended up just watching Vine compilations for 20 minutes. It was worth it. Here’s some great ones.

By June 2013, the platform had 3.6 million unique users (eventually growing to over 200 million by 2015). In October 2013, Statista declared Vine the fast growing app in the world , beating out even giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

While the platform was simple, it was groundbreaking. Before the inception of Vine YouTube and Vimeo were the norm for video. These videos tended to be produced and edited, but Vine introduced a real-time, microscopic video that hadn’t been done before.

At this point, marketers started to take notice of the unique opportunities the platform provided, and also the unique challenges that this new form of entertainment presented.

From Airbnb to Lowes to Honda to Oreo, big brands started to utilize Vine , trying to take advantage of the short attention spans of its young user-ship.

Some brands even started paying popular Viners to do product placements in their videos, since Vine doesn’t have a native advertising feature.

It seemed like Vine was going to be the next big trend in social media, and it was, but as we know now, it didn’t last long.

The Fall of Vine

Around the same time that Vine was gaining popularity, so were some not-so-little apps called Snapchat and Instagram.

While there were some distinguishing factors of each, they all shared the same core functionality as Vine, the ability to record and share short, real-time videos.

So, why is Vine the one shutting down?

The download rankings for Vine started steadily decreasing in 2016, and in Q3 downloads of the app dropped a massive 50%.

There are lots of theories about why Vine has decreased in popularity while Snapchat and Instagram have only increased, and while there are many factors that contributed to Vine’s demise, the biggest factor that sticks out to me is simply this - Vine just couldn’t keep up.

They innovated, but as they say, they rested on their laurels.

Which leads us to the big lesson we can learn from the rise and fall of Vine:

Adapt, Adapt, Adapt

From business practices to app development, there are more than likely a lot of lessons we could learn from Vine’s downfall, but let’s focus on the lesson it can teach us marketers.

The downfall of Vine seems to have come from it’s inability to adapt to changes in the social media landscape .

Throughout its existence, Vine never had a major update, except for adding a view count and music looping. While its competitors (with larger, more established audiences) were gunning for their space in the market, there were no major features added to Vine in its over 4 years of app life.

It seems like the creators were sticking to the “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” mentality.

The app grew in popularity partly because it was so simple. There weren’t a lot of features to mess with, however, apps like Instagram and Snapchat have constantly released new features as they’ve grown in popularity.

They’ve adapted to the changing landscape of what people find entertaining and engaging and gave people what they wanted.

Vine plateaued and slowly, what people found appealing in it, they began to find in other platforms.

Change With Your Audience

As marketers, we need to learn how to keep our ear to the ground when it comes to our industries and customers and be ready to grow and pivot.

Whatever industry or market you’re in, trends and buyer personas can change rapidly, but when you’re expecting change, you can adapt to it much easier.

Learn to monitor your industry and be ready to adapt your strategies to be at the forefront, instead of playing catch-up all the time.

Great marketers are always trying to figure out what the next big thing is, and what will be the be-all-end-all of marketing strategies. The problem is, when we find them, we often think that this is it and become complacent.

We as marketers need to be agile in our approach to marketing trends. We need to realize that what’s effective one day may be completely ineffective the next, and that’s okay.

Don’t get trapped thinking you’ve figured it all out because you’ve had some success, and forget that success comes through a steady stream of testing, learning, and implementing.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

Some of my favorite Vines were created by two brothers - Logan and Jake Paul. These brothers utilized the platform to create hilarious videos with their friends, and quickly rose to being one of the top 10 influencers on Vine with over 3 million followers.

Here are some of my favorites: 


One of the things I respect about them the most is that they have adapted so well to the changing social media landscape .

As Vine’s popularity started to wane and other platforms gained popularity, they shifted their efforts to Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.

They didn’t change much about what they were doing, but they adapted to their audience’s changing interests and met them where they were “hanging out.”

Today, they both have separate social media careers and are flourishing. In fact, in a recent segment, 60-minutes reported that Logan made $200,000 in one day doing a product placement for Dunkin Donuts.

If he had stuck to Vine, his career would be dying with the app, but he pivoted.

What do you think was Vine’s greatest downfall? Or what lessons do you think we marketers should learn from it’s demise? Comment below and let us know!

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Published on November 8, 2016

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