What can you do in six seconds to garner attention and make a permanent impression?

Most brands, by now, are not strangers to the power of social media and they have now accepted that it’s not just a passing fad. More people these days would rather own a mobile device than a toothbrush. Brands all seek to find their break with real-time marketing messages but it seems that they’re now expanding their reach beyond just Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram.

Enter Vine. Vine is a mobile app, recently acquired by Twitter, that allows its users to make and post short, looping video clips. Vine video clips have an all-out clip length of six seconds and can be shared to Vine’s social network, or to other networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Since its launch January 2013, Vine has had quite a bit of success, in April 2013; it was the most downloaded app in the App store. It even has its own stars. For example, Vine celebrity Brittany Furlan, who used the six-second video app to introduce her various comedic characters. I always thought of Vine as a more comedic video version of Twitter, you know, you record short clips of video and upload them.

So it’s not surprising that Twitter purchased Vine and integrated playing the videos from Twitter and its applications. Online and content marketing have become popular but Video content marketing, in particular, is on the rise and marketers recognize that they are catering to an increasingly digital-savvier audience so it was only natural that Vine not remain purely for fun.

Similar to the creep of businesses and ads into Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, brands have begun the use Vine as a promotion platform. They have gone past just experimenting with Vines to using them as actual ads on Twitter, running promoted tweets with attached Vine videos.

What makes this step a logical one?

According to analytics site Topsy, Vine has passed 13 million users [market size]. When Twitter released the Android version of the Vine app, it quickly became more popular than Instagram as a way to share media on Twitter. Asides the numbers, Vine videos are immediate and to-the-point. Users can view content quickly and consume multiple videos in a short period of time, which is usually the aim of ads. The six-second limit compels the audience to grasp the crucial elements of a video very fast, be it an ad or a story.

Why are companies taking so quickly to branded vines?

According to Unrulymedia, branded Vines are four times more likely to be shared than regular branded videos. A lot of brands are already posting creatively engaging video content and have been quick to embrace Vine:

Oreo: Oreo used Vine to tutor consumers on ‘cooler’ ways to enjoy Oreos through social media campaigns, asking viewers to take part and post their own vine videos using the Twitter hashtag ‘#OreoSnackHack’

General Electric: GE posts awesome science experimentations using the hashtag ‘#sixsecondscience’. An innovative electrical company, posting science videos. Very appropriate.

Samsung: Samsung is one brand that predicted and consequently tapped into Vine’s latent success early on, they have been posting Vine Ads before other brands got involved. The company has released some masterful videos, and just recently called on users of its Galaxy Smartphone series  to begin their own Vine trend using the hashtag ‘#GalaxyVine’

Presently, the most successful clips on Vine are stop-motion videos, animations and how-tos, so most companies attempt to tailor their ads to fit these samples. Sarrah Ahmed, Head of Client Services at social media agency TAMBA says, “The key to a successful vine is to keep it simple. Because of its features, some brands may assume that the more you show, the more influential it will be. Essentially, keep it short, simple and straight to the point. Remember why you are creating the vine and try to visualise the end result.”

Vine is taking the advertising world by storm, but in Africa, it largely remains in use for comedic and social media ‘fun’ purposes. So here’s hoping startups, e-commerce giants, politicians and business people across all walks who need marketing would join South Africa’s Cow Africa and take advantage of what is steadily becoming a most creative way to get your purpose noticed.

Odunayo Eweniyi Author

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox