Business Technology

Friday 19 September 2014

The six-second hit that makes Vine good for business

Sarah Stack

Published 20/03/2014 | 02:30

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Vine: short video sharing service

You've heard of, and probably use, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But what about Vine?

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The short video sharing service is the latest online marketing tool being tested by some Irish companies as a way of attracting new customers.

A six-second video clip on a loop sounds more of an annoyance than the ideal way to pitch a business, but some swear the Twitter-owned app is the perfect way to target their audience.

One businesswoman can't understand why so few firms use Vine in Ireland and thinks companies are missing out.

"It's so easy to use. You record a clip and upload," said Natasha Lynch, who runs grinds college Essential French in Cork.

"The whole thing is just six seconds long, which is the attention span of our target market. Kids don't have time to be watching long YouTube clips, they want it all in seconds."

Lynch and her pupils regularly upload quirky videos focusing on French phrases which are shared among friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter and across Munster and the country.

"Kids might need help in French, see our quirky Tweets or Vine and they are sold on us as somewhere to study," she said.

"But parents will do their own groundwork and go online to see we've achieved the highest number of A grades nationally for years and the parents are sold. We need to hit both markets."

The tech-savvy teacher admits it's her pupils who keep her up to date on the latest trends and between Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Snapchat she boasts 12,000 followers or friends.

But does Vine bring in more business?

"We have so many things going on between the four platforms that I couldn't pinpoint which one is bringing us business," she said. "But I would be scared to remove one."

It's not just Irish firms that are trying this out. Lots of well-established brands across the world, including Asos, Bacardi and Dove, are making a go of the video service.

Big firms like US clothes store Pendleton Menswear and Cadbury in the UK have also mastered the app down to a fine art, according to communications expert Damien Mulley.

"Cadbury has created video recipes in six seconds as to how to make a brown loaf or hot chocolate or a rocky road with a cream egg or with a Cadbury product," he said. "It's clever stuff. "I just re-vined one of its clips and shared it to Twitter where it got retweeted 50 times. The reach of that is 100,000 profiles."

Sales soared at retailer Pendleton when its video showed a model twirling around wearing a different shirt every half a second – showing its collection of traditional check shirts in seconds.

"RTE Archives use it well too," said Mulley. "They go over archives every day, like 'Reeling in the Years' in six seconds."

Founded in 2012, Vine was later acquired by Twitter for an estimated $30m.

Within three months of going live in January 2013 it was the most-downloaded free app within the iOS App Store.

While membership is relatively small, integration with Twitter could see it exploding like its social media competitors. It is already popular among teens in the US, where people are getting in the region of 80,000 re-Vines.

But more than a year after it was launched to the growing world of social media, less than 3pc of the Irish population have jumped on board, giving the impression it's simply not worth joining.

"Vine itself is used by hardly anyone," said Mulley. "But the big value is that those clips can be catapulted to Facebook or Twitter and watched without disturbing the timeline."

Mulley estimates that people consume five pieces of content every two to three seconds while scanning a timeline and – as Vine won't interrupt that flow – people will be quicker to re-vine, re-tweet or share.

"As a marketing tool it's very clever," he added. "You have a short space to get someone's attention and it's so short it won't interrupt the flow.

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