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Why brands need to stop pushing products on Vine

While brands including Target, GE and Urban Outfitters are nailing creating compelling Vine content, the majority of marketers? attempts with the video application remain stuck on pushing products.

Twitter-owned Vine made a significant splash in the marketing world when it launched a little over a year ago as a platform for marketers to push the limits of creative video within six seconds. As the momentum grows around short mobile video content, the need for moving away from content that solely promotes sales is becoming more important in 360-degree digital campaigns.

?Unless a brand hits a home run, Vine as a single medium isn?t going to drive long-term engagement or brand lift,? said Amir Haque, partner and chief strategist at Tiny Rebellion, Santa Monica, CA.

?As part of a marketing ecosystem, I think it rounds out the offering,? he said. ?Each social platform has become specific in its creative style, so the sum total allows for an overall brand lift.

?Awareness is the win with Vine. And it starts with amazing creative.? 

Leading by example
What makes the handful of brands running clever Vine campaigns unique is that the focus is about sharing a specific moment.

For example, Target launched a campaign in April called #unPOPtheBox, which mailed out cardboard boxes of products to its followers.

The boxes included a random mix of items, and the consumers who received the boxes were prompted to post a Vine video within 24 hours of receiving the box with the hashtag #unPoptheBox showing how they are using the products.

The gist of the campaign was to show the various ways that the products are used by individuals instead of pushing a generic brand message towards all of the brand?s followers.

Major League Baseball and the National Football League are also putting out some interesting video content that gives sports fans a behind-the-scenes look at players and games.

In February, the NFL leveraged Vine to show off sports journalist Rich Eisen?s annual 40-yard run. 

Mr. Eisen?s sprint clocked in at 5.98 seconds ? the same length as a Vine video ? and generated 316 ?likes? and 168 revines, making it one of the sports organization?s videos with the most interaction. NFL?s Vine account has more than 70,000 followers.

MLB also regularly posts Vine videos that play up baseball themes. On March 28, MLB posted a black-and-white video of a baseball game with copy that read, ?America?s pastime is ready for another historic season.? The clip generated 586 ?likes? and 397 revines. 

GE is another example of a marketer that seems to be getting it right on Vine to show off quick science experiments and other pieces of short content that consumers may be interested in.

A video posted a little more than a week ago promoting a campaign called #SpringBreakIt showed off a new laboratory experiment highlighting how everyday objects such as pencils and cans break down by each material.

Urban Outfitters on the other hand uses its Vine account to both promote products and give employees a chance to connect with fans.

One recent video shows how a camera filter attachment hooks onto a smartphone to distort photos with a fisheye effect, for example.

Other recent videos were taken by employees at the recent 2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, CA, which resembles the same kinds of videos the brand?s followers are taking.

?Brands looking for success on Vine should think beyond the walls of the Vine platform alone,? said Eddie Tomalin, digital marketing manager at Unruly, London.

?Brands who simply post and pray will not generate the high levels of engagement, which are widely associated with well-executed Vine campaigns of the past,? he said.

Plan for the long term
As marketers look to embrace short-form mobile video more, Vine, Instagram and other third-party mobile video platforms are all increasingly being used by marketers in multichannel campaigns.

According to data from Unruly, nine Vine links are shared per second on Twitter, suggesting that the platform is expanding its own app.

Additionally, the total number of unique Instagram videos shared on Twitter was 176,016, as of a study released in October. This number is equivalent to 10 percent of YouTube videos shared on the social site over the same amount of time.

At the same time that the growth in short video content opens up new creative opportunities for brands, there are still significant challenges in building long-term engagement. 

Quick hits of brand awareness and product discovery will not translate into long-term engagement for brands without a solid media strategy in place to complement the video, per Marko Muellner, vice president of marketing at ShopIgniter, Portland, OR.

?A Vine video, even posted to a Facebook or Twitter community of millions, won?t drive brand lift or long-term engagement on its own,? Mr. Muellner said.

?Sure, develop a set of great Vine videos, but if you don?t have a media plan to reach high-value audiences and you?re not clear on what key conversion objectives you want your content to compel, then you shouldn't expect much brand or business value,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York