This week, the social world was rocked by Twitter’s announcement that it will be shutting down the Vine app. Stunning, because it still has 200MM monthly users. And, sad, because it substantially shifted the way we think about short form content creation.
That said, the transition will be slow. First, vine.co will continue to live on as a six second video library. Second, and maybe most importantly, the way Vine worded their announcement leaves much open to interpretation: “…we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app.” No mention of Twitter’s intentions for its Vine employees and Vine, the company. So, does Twitter have something up its sleeves? Maybe.
We know Twitter has been refocusing on live video and entertainment, reframing the way users view the platform and the way brands think about it as a part of their media mix. Partnerships with the NFL, livestreams of the 2016 Presidential Debates, even new broadcasts with Bloomberg and Cheddar point toward a much larger shift for the platform that could indicate Twitter’s intention to incorporate Vine’s core functionality into its own. Thereby allowing the same creation to take place, just in a different place. Only time will tell.
So, what should your brand do in reaction to the announcement?
- SAVE EVERYTHING. Twitter won’t make any fast and furious moves because they know creators and brands alike have invested quite a bit of energy into their existing content. But, if you haven’t already, save everything. Just in case. Save your profile information, save the videos themselves and save the captions you wrote as well. It’s video that can probably be used again, maybe even on another platform.
- NEVER FORGET WHAT MADE VINE GREAT. Vine changed the way we think about “snackable” content, debunking the myth that :30 and :60 seconds were a requirement to entertain and inform. So, remember that all you need is six seconds (and maybe even less) to capture someone’s attention and engage. Apply this thinking to some of the videos you create moving forward, because the principle is true across most social networks.
- LOOP DAT DOOP. Aside from the shift from what’s now considered “long-form” video, Vine also taught us to loop. Some things are so exciting that we just need to see it again and again, to either admire its genius or figure out what its genius is. Either way, the barrier to inspire users to hit the replay button themselves is much too strong to overcome, so consider making videos that loop for other channels. And then riff off of the looping technology to help form interesting creative.
- BE STRATEGIC. This may seem obvious, but think before you repost your Vines elsewhere. Be strategic about where you post and when you post your old Vine videos. You might naturally want to post everything on Instagram this minute, but that could be off. Maybe your Vine would be better served as a Snap ad or a Twitter GIF. Yes, you probably should consider posting your hotdog Vine on Twitter during the MLB World Series. But, you may want to wait to post that vine you created about skiing until later this year or early next. Context is everything, so try as hard as you can to keep your anxiety at bay and plot out what content you’d like to reuse and how to reuse it in a meaningful way for your audience.
- CONTINUE TO INNOVATE. One of the things that was so special about Vine was the crowdswell of support it received early on and the brilliant ways these creators approached the medium. From comedy, to stop motion, to magic, to artistry, and memes, Vine inspired the inspiring. Even though the mobile app may be going away, its mantra to innovate must remain, and it’s up to us to ensure it does.
Only time will tell what Twitter’s next move will be, but let’s have a six second moment of silence to honor the creativity of the app that made short-form video even more snackable.
Originally published on theDose.
Their latest product releases—including an innovative new mobile image search functionality upgrade and their launch of Promoted Video ads—showcases Pinterest’s renewed interest in drawing attention to the platform. But, what’s even more interesting is the “more search than social” evolution they’ve pivoted to.
It’s no secret that Pinterest has remained hyper-focused on separating themselves from other social networks. (We’ve known of their shift toward a more search-oriented experience for some time.) But the platform’s investment in their search experience has never been so prevalent. And considering that Google alum Gunnard Johnson was recently named Head of Measurement & Insights (adding to the list of other former Google employees) Pinterest is now concentrating on perfecting search.
And they’ve clearly thought through how to brand their pivot, so as not to pigeonhole themselves. Their use of the word “discovery” instead of “search” is clever because it highlights the user at the center—seeking out and suddenly happening upon—both sought out and contextually relevant results. And their use of self descriptors, like “catalog of ideas” and “database of taste” sets them apart from both social platforms and search platforms. They seem content on resting somewhere in the middle for now.
But Pinterest’s desire to stay in the gray can be confusing for brands simply trying to navigate, and succeed, on the platform.So, what exactly puts Pinterst in the gray areas between search and social?
1. Self-Discovery & Personalization – Via “personalized recommendations that feel qualitatively different from other services,” Pinterest is able to help users uncover their own tastes, one pin at a time. For example, recommended pins are able to consider all facets of your style (not just one specific pin) to help determine what you’ll want/need next. This makes Pinterest a different user experience than other platforms, but also shows how data-rich it is from an advertising perspective.
2. Actionable Nature – Pinterest has created the ability for “passive searching” to suddenly become active. In a nutshell, the platform is able to seamlessly move a user from casually perusing a fashion influencer’s boards, to finding a look they love, to drilling down to the specific blazer they want to buy, to buying it. In fact, 70% of users who find pins take some sort of action. This is the driving force behind Pinterest’s MPS (Motivating Potential Score) – it’s higher than any other social network, because users who see something go and do. That’s powerful.
3. Long Shelf Life – Like traditional search, but unlike social networks, Pin content is relevant much longer than a tweet or post. The content itself is hosted in a repository that was made for this very reason—to be able to keep things around that you don’t want to forget. This has given way to what I’m calling the “Two-Four Rule,” because 25% of all pinning on Pinterest happens 2-4 months before an event or holiday. Usually people in social are searching for immediate or near-term gratification and the same is true with traditional search. But Pinterest seems to lack the expected expiration date because they have cracked the “intent” code, capitalizing on signals early in the consumer journey.
4. Category-Based Search – In conjunction with its planning nature, the search terms we actually type in via Pinterest are very different from those we use on Google. We search more broadly on Pinterest, using categories as cues – things like “DIY”, “Wedding”, “Home Décor”. This allows us to discover new things and be inspired. On Google, our search gets very specific – “red chair mid century mod” which helps us to narrow down our choices, but Pinterest is about just the opposite: broadening our horizons.
5. Co-Screening – When we think about co-screening (watching some form of TV while on our mobile devices), we think of the usual suspects: Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. But new research shows that 45% of Pinterest users are likely to hang out on Pinterest while they’re watching TV. But there’s more: 47% of the time what users see on TV sparks activity on Pinterest. And 64% of Pinterest users say they pay more attention to what they’re doing on Pinterest than what they’re watching on TV and 44% of them will engage with Pinterest for the show’s entirety, regardless of whether it’s on a commercial break or not. This not only says something about the types of pins we create, but also about how people are consuming Pinterest content differently than other platforms.
6. Open API & Image Search – Last year Pinterest announced its open API, allowing brands to provide personalized, curated experiences for users, but few partners have taken advantage of this functionality. The most recent and robust use was Burberry’s recent campaign, which allowed users to answer a few questions to inform the creation of a custom board based on their responses. Another underutilized functionality is its image search capability, rivaling Google’s with the ability for users to upload photos and receive similar pins in response. Via buyable pins, the technology is then there to enable users to actually purchase the pair of shoes they snapped on the T (for instance). Imagine a world where you could upload a picture of what’s inside your fridge and then receive an output of recipes which include only the items you already have?
So what does all of this mean for brands? First, bring your search team into the conversation. If people can’t find your content, or your content can’t find people, you’re not taking advantage of what the platform is capable of. Second, content needs to follow all levels of intent, from “just browsing” to “ready to buy.” Don’t hyper-focus on one end of the consumer journey. And lastly, don’t over-think the community angle of the Platform. Yes, friends are sharing and sub-communities are connecting. But, unlike platforms like Twitter and Facebook (where sharing is a key KPI of success) focus on moving people from awareness to consideration as the sweet spot. If they are pinning, you are winning.