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First Published on Digital Sport

Owned by Twitter and released less than two years ago, mobile storytelling platform Vine has so far been one of the great success stories of the social media revolution. Its rise has been meteoric in that time and few – if any – Internet users will not have stopped to watch one of the platform’s 1 billion daily loops. Suffice to say, Vine has changed the way marketing teams think of the medium of video.

The loop count is Vine’s view metric, which tells you how many times a piece of branded content has been seen, comparable to the view count on YouTube. In contrast to that platform a Vine video has the capacity to replay ad infinitum, rather like an audible animated GIF image. When done right this gives vines the capacity to keep a viewer watching to try to work out how a seamless transition has been achieved. This is one of the key USP’s when contrasted with Instagram’s 15-second videos which play only once.

With an ever-increasing user desire for easily digestible content on social platforms, brands are now continually looking for new and exciting methods to tell their story in 6-seconds. Recently we looked at the ways sports teams can use Vine to cut through and reach a large sports fan audience on Twitter, where the platform is native.

We spoke with Michael Litman, who is the founder of Brandsonvine, the industry leaders in data and analysis of short-form brand storytelling and also the founder of new specialist micro-content agency Burst, to find out a bit more about Vine.

We’re seeing many clubs across different sports using Vine to reach out to fans. Which sports in your opinion are utilising Vine most effectively?

In terms of US sports basketball and baseball have teams that consistently feature in the top 10 of our weekly global brand charts.  Brands like the NBA, the MLB, the Los Angeles Lakers, and Nascar have risen up the rankings and become forces on Vine over the last year.

We’re talking pretty huge numbers too; in September the MLB had 4.5 million loops across their content, Nascar had 4.4m and the LA Lakers 1.8m, not to mention that frontrunners the NBA saw more than all three put together with a whopping 16.5 million loops. This shows Vine is still growing exponentially as brands add it to their content marketing arsenal.

There is clearly a developing trend towards short-form videos, but with each platform requiring its own individual attention, how does content on Vine differ from say Instagram?

We’re seeing that with each platform requires a different execution. The audience profiles differ from Vine to Instagram to Snapchat and brands need to make sure that their content feels native to each platform instead of adopting a one-size fits all approach. This does come down to scope and budget however and we have seen some successes on a budget with adopting videos we have produced for Vine and the brand then natively uploading them to the likes of Facebook and Instagram also so they play directly within their respective streams.

Instagram are said to be rolling out ads in the UK ‘within weeks’ and Snapchat may not be too far behind so it’s a case of watch this space.

Vine in contrast is more of a creative, playful, rough around the edges sandbox, while Instagram requires a greater degree of polish and that gives them both very distinct personalities which may mean that one platform is more suited to a particular brand than the other.

With social media being used by all age groups, is there a particularly active demographic group on Vine?

Vine and Snapchat share a very similar audience profiling of a younger demographic from teens to students to 18-24 and upwards. On one hand, Vine is like the YouTube for the emerging mobile first generation of today and Snapchat is the place you can share experiences with friends privately, without having to worry about who else might see it. The beauty of Snapchat is its ephemeral nature – the content is here one minute and gone the next, so it encourages you to be in the moment to experience it.

It’s surprisingly powerful how you have to keep your finger held on the screen to watch content on Snapchat and advertisers will love it because all engagements can be tracked through active participation.

How does this impact both the long and short-term strategy of sports clubs on Vine?

In the short term brands are taking a continually test-and-learn approach to their micro-content strategy in order to understand better what works with their audience. As the market matures and brands become more used to adding micro-content to their long-term strategy, I’m sure we’ll see more magazine and radio style formats emerging where you will come to expect series of content each week.

With the Los Angeles Dodgers the only sports club in the top 10 brands on Vine (in terms of loops), what can clubs looking to lead the way learn from other top brands on Vine?

We’ve just launched our Brand Vine Chart and as you can see, sports entities make up the majority of the top 10 so my advice would be to look a little further down the table of the all time loops and you’ll discover some of the more hidden gems.

For example, Liverpool FC saw the biggest increase by putting out the team line-up in a Vine video before the match – this will have been the first place sports fans will have seen who is in the starting 11, in an interesting and engaging way.

Also check out the likes of Nike Football, Chelsea FC, Southampton FC, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund for examples of clubs that are getting it right.

By Luca Massaro, Managing Director and Founder of We Play, specialists in connecting sports brands and social media. 


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