Don’t get us wrong, we love Vine but there’s no denying the story of the platform has turned out to be a bittersweet one. When it was released it was the the little (multi-million dollar) app that no-one thought would work, then it blossomed into a ultra-popular platform thanks almost solely to the sheer creativity of its users (the app itself has barely changed). But then something else happened: people started to leave – and by ‘people’ we mean a lot of people. Digiday notes that “after analyzing 9,725 Vine users with more than 15,000 followers…52 percent of them have exited the platform since Jan. 1”. That’s a lot of people in not much time at all.
This bio from popular Viner Elton Castee says it all
Why People Are Leaving, Reason 1: The App Itself
The first reason for why people are leaving the app is blindingly obvious: the app is extremely limited. The simplicity of Vine is obviously in many ways it’s main selling point, but there’s no denying that it’s a selling point that comes at a price. When faced with committing to an app that only allows you post 6 second videos, it’s hardly a surprise that creators are jumping ship to other platforms like Facebook and YouTube (and now even Amazon), which allow them to produce much more varied content: long form videos, livestreams, seven second clips etc. There is also the problem that the short video format is something that is also being done (and arguably done better) by the ever-popular app Snapchat. Snapchat’s recent innovations with regard to 3D filters, stickers and geotags – not to mention is huge popularity among users – makes it the more obvious choice of the two for creators. Just look at the bio of Nash Grier’s second vine account:
Why People Are Leaving, Reason 2: It’s All About The Money
Jessie J once sang that it’s ‘not about the money, money money’ but conversely Puff Daddy once mused that ‘it’s all about the Benjamins’ (referring, of course, to the $100 bill). It’s hard to know which of these philosophers was truly right but it’s safe to say that in entertainment, as in any business, you’re not going to do well if you can’t pull in the big bucks. This is one of the biggest problems for Vine. First, Vine does not have dedicated ads in the app as Twitter, Facebook and other platforms do. This is nice for the user but not for the creator, who has to deal with companies directly in order to produce sponsored content. Secondly, creators and companies wishing to advertise are once again hampered by the limitations of the platform. If you want to see a masterclass in WTF’ery, just watch any Vine that tries to cram a joke and an ad into six seconds: it’s pretty much always an incoherent mess.
What’s Next For Vine?
With YouTube stronger than ever and Facebook emerging as the next big video website (even though video on Facebook is still a mess in some ways), it looks like Vine is going to have to do something revolutionary in order to attract new stars – or even get it’s current stars to stay. The obvious move is to invest in the app and provide cool new features (like Snapchat) and to somehow make it viable for it’s creators to make money. But there is also the morbid fact that the greatest limitation of this six second video app may well be … that it’s a six second video app.