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Vine Creators Hope Users Will Take a “Byte” Out of New App

By Iris Hearn

Vine Creators Hope Users Will Take a “Byte” Out of New App

Much to my sadness, it’s been three years since the short-form video app Vine was shut down.

Despite the app being dead, it was far from forgotten.

In fact, it was somewhat immortalized by fans, who sought to keep the content alive in any way they could.

Someone even created an actual book you can buy on Amazon just filled with popular Vine references:


So, when Vine founder Dom Hofmann announced late last year that he was working on a second version of Vine, people were immediately excited to hear more.

This week, we finally got some long-awaited answers on the status of the relaunch: Vine 2.0, being called Byte, has begun testing the new app in a closed beta group.

If you can’t tell already, I’m an avid Vine fan, so I’m looking forward to seeing if Byte lives up to the hype (and doesn’t suffer the same fate as Vine #RIP).

What We Know About Byte

Upon announcing the beta, Dom Hofmann shared an exclusive first look at the beta version on Twitter:  

As you can see, there are clear differences right-off-the-bat from the original Vine.

Instead of the squared-video display, Byte opts for full-screen vertical style videos, as they’ve become a more popular form of quick-video content consumption.

It appears they’re still keeping the same video format of short, auto-looped clips, but it’s unclear if they’re sticking with Vine’s original six-second limit or expanding.  

At this point, it’s been confirmed they’re sticking with their original reverse chronological timeline order, a feature that has been frequently requested by Instagram and Facebook users instead of algorithms.

According to Byte’s community forum, the team will slowly add and subtract different features throughout the beta test to get a better sense of how isolated features are perceived by testers.

Currently, beta testers have access to the following features:

  • the sign-up process
  • global timeline
  • posting from the in-app camera
  • liking
  • commenting
  • and loop counts

Afterward, Byte will pause the test, fix any bugs identified, and then roll out additional app features:

  • Profiles
  • Uploading and trimming video from your camera roll
  • Activity
  • Following
  • Explore
  • Additional TBD features

It seems Byte’s team is hyper-aware of how many people are anticipating the launch, and want’s to make sure the app is the best it can be before releasing it to the public.

Will Byte Be Successful for Content Creators?

Vine was great, but there were reasons that it was shut down.

The platform didn’t effectively support content creators in the same way other platforms like YouTube does, and it didn’t offer advertising options that were competitive with what else was on the market.

So, despite Vine having a loyal fan base, the app struggled to monetize that popularity to generate revenue.

Byte is seeking to do it differently this time around.

Hofmann told TechCrunch that his priority is “to do right by creators so they’ll be lined up to give Byte a shot when it officially launches even if they can get more views elsewhere.”

Additionally, Byte has another roadblock in the way that wasn't around in the Vine-era: TikTok.

TikTok, formerly, is an app that also offers short, looped videos, and has grown rapidly over the past year.

In just a short time, TikTok has accumulated 500 million active users, over 3 million more than Vine had at its peak.

With this already established competition on the market, Byte will have to work hard to differentiate themselves from TikTok in order to be successful.

One way they can do this is with their creators.

Many well-known Viners do not post to TikTok, and instead moved to platforms like YouTube or Twitter to share content.

If Byte can successfully bring back some of the creators that got their start on Vine, they’d be able to attract a slightly older audience segment than TikTok currently occupies.

However, that also comes back to providing creators the incentives to post on the Byte instead of platforms they have established followings with that they can make more money off of.

Additionally, if Byte is able to capture the same comedy-focused content as Vine had, that can be another differentiator to TikTok’s content, which is largely made of  lip-syncing videos (which I don’t quite understand why so many people like? But I digress..)

Bottom line is: It’s beyond exciting to see Vine being rebooted, but there are some real hurdles standing in the way for Byte.

But, I’m still hopeful that Byte’s awareness to these hurdles, and careful attention in the beta test, will be able to restore Vine to its former glory for the modern social media landscape.

What About for Marketers?

While it’s still too early to tell exactly what Byte will offer to marketers, it’s safe to say that if successful, Byte can help capture a demographic of slightly older millennials that may not be using TikTok, but would find Byte’s content appealing.

Ad capabilities have yet to be announced, but we can assume the platform will have to develop a way for brands to advertise in a way that is as simple and targeted as other comparable social platforms if they’re going to generate the revenue to stay afloat.

If your brand is finding its ads on TikTok or Snapchat, for instance, not attracting the desired age group, it’s possible that you may be able to better target that segment on a platform like Byte.

Once the app has their public launch, we’ll know more about who’s using it, what ad types they’re offering, and if it’s worth it for brands to invest in.

How To Get In Byte Beta

Byte sent out the first 100 closed Beta invites this week, but they stated they’ll be sending out more soon.

It’s not clear how users are being selected - but while you can’t “apply”, you can sign up to receive email updates on the Byte website.

Either you’ll be selected randomly from that group, or get notified when the app is going to launch publicly.

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Published on April 29, 2019

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