6 Vine Predictions For 2014 – What Does The Short-Form Future Hold?

So, what does the future hold? 

On a birthday it’s always fun to look back, but when you’re one of the hottest video apps on the planet it’s really all about the future.

The signs certainly look promising. Much to no one’s surprise, Vine was one of the top apps downloaded on smartphones in 2013. In fact, last year saw a host of video-based social media apps scrapping for recognition in a rapidly-growing marketplace, with new players, including ephemeral content apps Snapchat, Keek and MixBit.

With these new video offerings gaining market traction, video sharing on mobile is rocketing. In fact, according to a recent study from Cisco, two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic is expected to come from video by 2017. And mobile video will increase 16-fold between 2012 and 2017.

But how will Vine make the most of this?

Unruly has has had its finger on the Vine pulse since day one and, along with a whole host of our Vine friends we’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the past 12 months, we’ve put together some predictions for the future.

Whether it’s a monetization strategy in the form of native in-feed ads, e- or m-commerce or expanded content discovery, there’s no doubt Vine will have something up its sleeve to surprise its 40+ million active user base in the months to come.

1. Vine will become instrumental for brands looking to capitalize on real-time video marketing opportunities at tent pole events 

2014 is the year of sporting events. From the Super Bowl to the Winter Olympics and then the World Cup in Brazil, the opportunity for advertisers to follow the fans and engage in a global conversation is ripe. Our research has proven time and time again that the brands who win at massive tentpole events are those who tease the crowds in the run-up to the big game. And what better way to tease them than using a platform designed for real-time marketing.

But it’s not just about the lead-up to the sporting event. It’s also about being responsive when the action’s happening.

Brands should already be preparing how they would respond to events on and off the field. Naked fan streaks on the Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro? Have a cheeky response. Super Bowl gets snowed off? Be prepared to brave the elements. Underdog wins Olympic gold? Get ready to celebrate their success.

By pre-empting scenarios, brands can be sure they’re quick of the mark in the storytelling battle. First to the party normally does best in these situations. For example, last year Oreo capitalized on the floodlights going down at Super Bowl 2013 by sending out an ad that became the talk of the game. A quick bit of thinking drove huge engagement in a time when brands are paying some $4million for 30 seconds of consumer attention.

Pete Durant, Social Media Director at Manning Gottlieb OMD, said: One of 2014’s biggest social trends is making visual content nimble and normal. Matching that of which consumers produce and are acclimatised to, brands must have quick turn-around times & accept that they do not need polished visuals – it is all about the message it conveys. Vine and Instagram will continue to blossom in to well-used tools in a marketer’s arsenal but 2014 will be an exploratory year. Barrier to production is still high because production of a quality video still requires the thought, storyboarding and creative ability to make it both look good and tell a story.

“This is a skills gap for most people (not everyone has a videographer) so will continue to be one for exploration next year.” 

2. New success metrics will be key to commercial growth 

We expect to see more granular metrics being added to the platform in 2014. At the moment, the app focuses purely on ‘shares’ – which is a measure that is essential when assessing the virality of content.

But don’t just take our word for it.

“The new currency of the webernets is “sharing” in all its various forms… People want short, fast, original media that they can consume rapidly and then share just as fast. Vine provides this,” said Ian Padgham.

But we can expect to see views being added as a benchmark for success in 2014. This makes sense as more brands invest in supplementing their Vine launches with paid media, which will in turn drive more shares.  

Can’t get enough of Vine? To celebrate its epic success to date, we’ve created a showreel of the best Vines from the app’s first year.

3. Vine will look for additional avenues to increase content 

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It’s been a hot topic from day one with Vine. How do I host content? Why can’t I upload my video here? As every update comes and goes, the uploading question is always thrown up. Instagram Video allows it, why doesn’t Vine?

Well, first off, the platforms, although at first glance very similar, actually offer considerably different environments for content to be consumed. Instagram is a photo sharing service with video added on, while Vine is pure video. They attract different audiences.

In fact, in the early days, Vine’s unique selling point for content creators was its limitations. Back in July when I first caught up with Pinot, he found Vine’s restrictions the reason behind its immediate success.

He said:“Add too many features, and the magic will be lost. In my opinion, for every additional filter, a layer of creativity is removed, making content creators lazy and inevitably lowering the quality of content.”

But maybe the times are changing. Maybe we’re ready for the new and unknown.  

Meagan Cignoli, who made a serious name for herself on Vine in 2013, said: “I think Vine will continue to evolve and add additional features to improve the user’s ability to shoot, edit and store content within the app. I welcome these additions. The beauty of Vine is that the video is six seconds and loops. I hope that that continues, but the rest is people getting creative within those bounds and working outside the box.”

When I chatted to Pinot last week, he agreed:At the beginning, people (or commercial brands) used Vine primarily as video support for their bigger social media campaign. But now they’re looking at interactivity on the platform –  like driving some collaboration between users. Video on Vine is becoming an engagement tool. Not just regular commercial content in loop.”

 4. Music will be a key differentiator in the calibre of content on Vine in 2014

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Recently it’s been harder and harder to tell the difference between music videos and online video ads. It’s a trend we have named ‘trackvertising’. In other words, a combination of advert and music video, both commercial properties, but combined to generate a combined impact and inevitably larger reach.  

The focus on music execution will certainly be one area for brands and content creators alike to master on Vine. For those juggling stop-motion and audio, it’s not easy, but the tools will no doubt be considered in future iterations of the app.

Cignoli added: “The more people become open to uploads, the more you will see the use of music. I will often take my Vine videos over to Instagram – but first I add music! I definitely like them better with music and I know advertisers do as well. I think the ability to add music would be very nice. Perhaps that can be something that Vine develops to keep people from needing to upload.”

But it’s not just all about the music. As Ian Padgham rightly points out: Artists and brands will need to innovate and adapt to avoid burn out because there is a risk of people getting bored with the same old posts very quickly. But the ball is definitely in Vine’s court going into the next 12 months.”

5. In 2014 brands will become even more visual

If a picture says a thousand words, then a video says a million. OK, it’s a saying we’ve all heard a million of times, but for one very good reason – because it’s true. As attention spans shrink, the requirement for highly engaging content dramatically increases. Enter Vine, both engaging, short in length and truly mobile – is this the perfect recipe for marketers? Well, we certainly think it is.

It always takes time for brands to catch onto trends, video or other. But they’ve had a year to sit back and soak up the action. Thousands have now joined, many have prospered, but many have misfired, getting caught up in the swell of the trend but not seizing upon its full potential.

Smaller brands, including Oreo, Trident and Urban Outfitters, have been quick off the mark, now it’s time for the bigger guys to catch up. 

6. Vine will become an integral part of video strategies across the globe, capturing an even bigger slice of the budgeting pie 

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There’s no sign of the dust settling on Vine. The platform is too hot for brands to ignore as it continues to take the micro-content marketing world by storm. Brands only need to make and share one to realise this isn’t a fad and there’s a wealth of potential available from the video landscape outside of YouTube.

No longer will Vine be an after-thought to broader marketing strategies. It’s rapidly becoming a key component to reach audiences in their native environments on platforms where they’re watching and sharing video.

“Last year Vine budgets were experimental, with the focus on creative innovation and a playful, sandbox approach to the brand new medium. This year, with short-form content on the marketing plan and mobile reach on marketers’ minds,  we’ll see Vine hit the media plans as well, with more brands using paid distribution to amplify their best Vine content beyond Vine’s native app and audience,” said Unruly COO Sarah Wood.

Whatever your thoughts on Vine, one thing is for sure: it’s not going anywhere. Thousands of apps may gain initial traction with viral adoption, but never manage to retain users. Vine isn’t one of these kind of apps.

Next time you’re looking to access a new audience, make a engaging splash or respond in real-time – reach for Vine.

Want to stay ahead of the competition? Keep up to date with brands’ activity on Vine with Unruly’s weekly round-up of the hottest branded Vines of the week over on the Unruly blog.