4 Reasons Why Vine Couldn’t Keep Up

Here’s a quick look at where Vine faltered, especially with regard to its once-loyal power users.

Social media platforms serve various users, from the everyday account holder to company investors and now talented content creators whose influential posts turn fad into phenomenon.

Keeping these invaluable influencers top of mind—for example, Instagram’s latest advertising update–is crucial for social platforms as their support and engagement can arguably become a make-or-break situation.

Here’s a quick look at where Vine faltered, especially with regard to its once-loyal power users.

Twitter acquired Vine in its infancy

After a failed first attempt, Twitter successfully acquired Vine for $30 million in October 2012–before the then-three-person video application startup had even publicly launched. While this acquisition garnered a ton of industry attention and optimism, the sale marked the beginning of Vine’s end, as it took a backseat within the Twitter conglomerate.

The competition took the lead

Soon after the acquisition, we saw a number of popular platform-building, video-sharing capabilities. By December 2012, Snapchat released video to its (then) 10 million-plus user base, and less than one year later, Instagram launched 15-second video sharing to its (then) 130 million monthly active users.

This widespread adoption of video not only rivaled Vine’s offering, but also continued to evolve to meet the needs of their respective users.

Viners were forced to jump ship

It was all doom and gloom–while its competitive set grew, Vine’s number of active users began to decline, as did its ranking in the app stores.

One of the key reasons behind this was Vine’s failure to listen to those who made the platform successful–the Viners. Let’s first consider what a Viner, or any successful content creator, requires:

Relevancy: It’s important for creators to follow the eyeballs by getting in front of the latest technology innovations. In order to stay relevant, they must follow the crowd.

Ability to enhance content: Once influencers are in front of the right audience, the platform(s) they utilize must also provide them with the freedom to create unique content that will make them stand out from the crowd.

Because Vine did not evolve its platform to support Viners, it forced its content creators to adopt new platforms. And those creators often struggled to grow audiences quickly since they were no longer the first movers on these new platforms.

To combat this decline, we would expect Vine to pay users to adopt its platform (like Facebook and Snapchat do), but this did not happen.

Vine fails to bear fruit

The final nail in the coffin was undoubtedly Twitter’s failure to turn Vine into dollars. Its acquisition of Niche, a New York-based influencer network, was considered a Hail Mary way to monetize Vine. But at that point, it was just too late–Niche was being asked to broker more deals on Instagram than Vine.

Coupled with its inability to monetize was the advertising industry’s growing mistrust of Vine’s reporting around loops.

We’ve seen creators voice a need for more monetization opportunities from social media platforms. Vine failed to meet that need, and that shortcoming contributed to its downfall.

Looking ahead, successful platforms will encourage opportunities, like product placements, in a way that promotes authenticity and relevance for both the influencers and their followers.

Claudia Page is vice president of product and partnerships at “people-powered marketing platform” Crowdtap.


Image of Vine courtesy of IB Photography/Shutterstock.