The year was 2012 and Vine was the app to watch. This TikTok precursor featured six-second videos played in continuous loops that ranged from inventive comedy to daring cinematic feats that captured our attention for just four short years.
This short form of video storytelling led to a rapid rise in a small crew of core creators whose fame didn’t die with Vine but rather translated onto other platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and eventually TikTok. Late-night talk shows, celebrities, and ordinary people all took to Vine to entertain and be entertained. Vine was a sleeper hit after being acquired by Twitter in 2013 and was one of the first short-form platforms and the only one to commit to a short window. Just six seconds for creators to be compelling – and if today’s nostalgic YouTube compilations are any indication – they’re still just as entertaining as they were nearly ten years ago.
Not only is Vine content fondly remembered, but it became the basis for short-form storytelling that still succeeds today. Facebook Stories, IG Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts have one thing in common – their success was a capitalization on a trend that Vine started.
But if Vine’s success became the cultural basis for such an array of platforms, showing the benefits of video content yet another compelling way, what happened that it shuttered its app just as quickly as it began?
For a facet of that answer, we look to modern influencers and content creators who are monetizing on Vine’s very offspring. But what the likes of TikTok and YouTube succeed in is where Vine failed: monetization. Or rather, lack thereof, even for top creators. In addition, there were little to no advertising opportunities in addition to conflicts with parent company Twitter. It all became a perfect storm that stunted growth to the point of no return.
And then there was TikTok, whose launch at Vine’s sunset projected a more promising future from the start. TikTok saw Vine’s failing business plan and raised a similar concept but with tweaks that significantly impacted user experience.
Viral sounds posed an opportunity to grow users with audience-defined trends that skyrocketed creators to growth at warp speed – sometimes in as little as 24 hours, like with Keke Palmer’s iconic “I know it ain’t thee stallion” sound bite, which continues to inspire new videos uploaded every day. In addition to viral sounds making an impact, TikTok also stunts on Vine with a longer video length, a vertical video format, viral trending sounds, and a mind-reading algorithm that kept users on the app longer, just to name a few.
TikTok’s monetization opportunities for creators ensure that Vine is as good as a distant memory. There’s unending potential for more advertising growth and further sales opportunities from in-app shopping, for one. Plus, with a stronger overall business model, user experience, and now a saturated library of content, we’ve seen two different yet related case studies on what happens when an app succeeds or when it simply bleeds.
And success is certainly the inspiration for imitation, the sincerest form of flattery. TikTok’s growing empire has shaped how other platforms respond and capitalize on short-form video content. Instagram debuted Reels; YouTube drew in creators with YouTube Shorts. The opportunity among creators to share shortened content on these platforms has exploded, and it’s not going anywhere. As the market adapts, creators will likely see more opportunities to expand their content library with a stronger presence amongst the likes of long-form media.
Key points (what are those?)
- Vine’s business model became a cautionary tale for similar apps – but an inspiration for short-form storytelling
- Its video features are still unique among social platforms today due to the six-second time limit
- Vine’s lack of monetization for creators and advertising for brands cut off both a revenue stream and an opportunity to champion its creators
- Many Vine creators are now active on other platforms like YouTube and TikTok
- Check out our ultimate guide to influencer marketing on TikTok
- For brands that want to expand their creator strategy into short-form video, we can help you craft a winning method