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Vine outshines Instagram for branded short-form video opportunities

Savvy marketers have latched onto mobile short-form video this year, showing a preference for Twitter?s Vine platform despite Facebook?s launch of Video on Instagram several months ago. However, as Instagram video continues to improve, its significantly larger user base could start to attract more brands.

While short-form mobile video is still a relatively new format, the strong adoption rate by users is not going unnoticed by marketers. Early-adopters such as Dunkin?s Donuts, Honda and Trident are reaping the benefits in the form of enhanced awareness and excitement while those sitting on the fence are missing out on a key opportunity.

?As soon as Instagram video was announced, the Internet at large seemed to write Vine's obituary that very day,? said Harley Block, senior vice president of marketing and brand development at Rokkan, New York.?

However, since that announcement, Vine usage has actually increased.

?This is the result of some of the early hiccups Instagram had with video, particularly with slow load times and problematic uploads, but the fallout has been a subtle migration of users back to Vine where the stream tends to be a little smoother, the videos shorter and on constant loops, etc.,? he said.

?That said, Instagram has the unbeatable power of scale, and they are working to get video right and have already improved greatly since launch. Those efforts coupled with the fact that 15 second videos are now being neatly packaged for brands tells us Instagram will eventually win that battle.?

Dunk on mobile
One brand embracing Vine is Dunkin? Donuts, which launched its presence this year with a contest asking fans to show how Dunkin? Donuts Iced Coffee put a spring in their step.

The contest generated a number of creative Vines showcasing how Dunkin? Donuts Iced Coffee keeps people going during their busy days, prompting the company to come back for more over the past few months.

For example, Dunkin? Donuts recently launched the #DunkinReplay campaign featuring a Vine billboard ad during ESPN's Monday Night Countdown to promote the upcoming #DunkinReplay Vine.

During Monday Night Football, Dunkin' Donuts and agency Hill Holliday have a team on standby to re-create a marquee play on Vine using Dunkin' Donuts menu items.

The Vine is also shared on Twitter.

?Since the campaign first aired in the beginning of September, we've experienced great feedback and have been able to participate in the Monday Night Football social conversation stream in a timely, fun and relevant way,? said Scott Hudler, vice president of global consumer engagement for Dunkin' Brands, Canton, MA.

?If our fans are having a busy day and turn to Vine for a quick pick-me-up, we hope that a six-second Vine from Dunkin? will make them smile and keep them going,? he said. ?We also see a strong opportunity with the real-time capabilities of Vine and our ability to quickly record and share video with our community.?

Six-second stories
For its Vine strategy, Dunkin? Donuts focuses on being creative rather than trying to drive sales. For example, it leverages Vine?s stop-motion capabilities to create six-second story vignettes.

?Our Vine content is fun, creative and allows our fans to see Dunkin' in new ways,? Mr. Hudler said.

?We've found that being willing to try new things has resulted in a high level of engagement, such as a Vine where we blew ?donut bubbles? that floated up into the sky, or the exploding munchkin ?fireworks? we created for the fourth of July,? he said.

?Given that we've been able to experiment and try different types of Vines, we've steered away from just streaming six seconds straight.?

Creative storytelling
In general, Vine, with its six-second limitation, is pushing brands to be creative in their storytelling.

Some marketers are discovering that simply repurposing YouTube content does not work as viewers are looking for content that has been created specifically for the platform.

?The huge number of consumers adopting short-form video apps such as Vine, Instagram and SnapChat have certainly sent ripples across the marketing industry,? said Eddie Tomalin, digital marketing manager at Unruly, New York.

?Many have identified the value of short-form content but are still weighing up how to incorporate the medium into their broader marketing plans,? he said.

?Marketers who are willing to embrace these new formats are certainly reaping the rewards, while more traditional marketers will inevitably have to play catch-up.?

Retro masterpieces
Stop motion animation is one strategy marketers are finding works for them on Vine.

Another is leveraging Vine to provide a sneak peek of a new clothing line or a movie trailer.

?Though the technique has existed since the early days of cinema, stop-motion film has had its own mini-Renaissance due to Vine?s exploding popularity,? Mr. Tomalin said. ?The app?s intuitive controls and easily-digested length make it easier than ever to make your own retro masterpiece.

One example of a strong Vine campaign is General Electric?s six-second science fair from this summer.

The strategy featured content created by the company as well as users about how science works.

?They just absolutely killed it,? Rokkan?s Mr. Block said.

?A brand you would probably least expect to be doing amazing things on Vine found a relevant way to have some fun and get people involved, all while delivering messaging crucial to their charge and allowed them to learn more about people interacting with them in the meantime,? he said.

Honda is another example that stands out for its innovative approach to real-time marketing using Vine. This summer, the brand responded to tweets that included the #wantnewcar hashtag with live Vine videos encouraging users to get rid of their old car and buy a new Honda.

?Any brands still wondering whether they should include Vine in their marketing strategies should take note of Honda?s success,? Unruly?s Mr. Tomalin said.

?This short video activity attracted lot of attention across the Web, driving 1,000 new followers to their Twitter account and more than 2,200 mentions of the brand,? he said. ?Not a bad return for a few clever six-second Vine clips.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York