Matt Hammerton: Social media video platform withered on the vine

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After spending somewhere in the region of $30 million four years ago, Twitter has announced that at some point in the next few months, Vine, the six-second video recording and sharing tool will be shut down.

So why did it fail? Well, maybe it was due to the time limit, there’s not much you can do in six seconds. People did try though, just not enough.

In terms of social media users, Vine’s community was relatively small. The app did attract a number of highly creative users though, and they put a lot of effort into producing interesting, funny or quirky six-second shorts but while the user base was inventive; it wasn’t sufficiently large enough to make Vine viable.

The people responsible for Vine’s development after its sale to Twitter have also failed to find a way to monetise the platform. Another nail in the coffin and a pretty significant one.

Vine went live in 2013, and there’s no doubt it became very popular in a relatively short time. Lots of big brands jumped on the bandwagon and produced regular short films to engage and entertain their audiences. But over the years, they’ve stopped doing so with such gusto as new platforms have developed easier ways to share longer videos.

Facebook has also had a role to play in Vine’s demise. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 and a year later introduced 15-second video clips to the photo-sharing app.

SnapChat didn’t go as far as Instagram but allowing people to send each other 10 second videos definitely reduced Vine’s popularity even more.

Both SnapChat and Instagram boast far more users than Vine and publishers need audiences. If people aren’t using a platform, then brands, advertisers and marketers will not spend time and money producing content. So, as other social media channels and apps allowed longer videos, easier publishing and more users, the writing was on the wall for Vine.

So, what does this mean for video? Is it the beginning of the end? In short, no, it’s just the start.

Video will be an integral form of content across social media for a long time to come.

Instagram now allows you to share up to a minute of video. Facebook has introduced Facebook Live, which as the name suggests, lets users stream live video. Periscope, the live video streaming service owned by Twitter, has over 10 million users. We are watching more and more video content on our devices. We’re filming and sharing more video than ever before because it’s so easy to do now.

Videos are a very easy way for people to digest information and as long people are watching videos on social media, marketing teams will continue to produce them. Not many of them will be a six-second loop though.