Why the death of Vine serves as a lesson on innovation for businesses

Following the January 17 shut down of the six-second looping video app, Dror Ginzberg of Wochit explains why innovation is key to avoiding the same fate

There is little doubt that Vine revolutionised online video when it first launched back in 2013.

It was one of the first social platforms to be at the forefront of popularising the selfie phenomenon by allowing users to use their front-facing cameras to showcase their lives to the world.

The rise and fall of Vine

For this reason it soared in the iTunes App Store, becoming the number one app just six months after joining forces with Twitter. At its peak it saw over 200 million active users posting loops which added up to 39 million video uploads and 765 billion views.

The app brought with it a new generation of social media stars, for example magician Zach King who cultivated 4 million followers and received 1.4 billion views for his tricks. Other stars managed to make a living out of the platform; Logan Paul, whose videos were looped over 4 billion times, was paid $200,000 by a brand for a single video.

However, by 2016 Vine was struggling to retain its top stars, and by July it had lost over half of its most viewed accounts through deletion or inactivity. The reason for this was its lack of innovation, and what was once a novel premise – the six-second loop – began to prove too rigid. In fact, it stuck rigidly to its six-second format right up until the end before extending its limit to 140 seconds which, whilst welcome, was too little too late.

Meanwhile competitors quickly adapted and added additional functionality, with Instagram introducing 15-second video clips, Facebook launching Facebook Live, and Snapchat adding stories.

Whether it’s the lack of forward thinking or an inability to iterate and implement, competitors quickly caught up with the platform, and on the day that Instagram added its video feature the number of Vine links on Twitter fell by a million shares. The number of loops shared continued to decrease by an additional half million over the next week – nearly a 70% decrease over the span of two weeks. Clearly the writing was on the wall.

It would seem this lack of progression seriously hindered Vine’s usage, and as other social media platforms began to look at live streaming video, Vine withered in its tracks. In 2016 Twitter began to focus more on Periscope and integrated live streaming for the platform, as well as live sports broadcasting. It’s no surprise that Twitter moved in this direction as online video now accounts for over two thirds of all internet traffic, and is expected to jump to an unprecedented 82% by 2020.

What does this whole episode teach us?

Simply put, businesses can’t rest on their laurels. For example, Vine’s case mirrors that of the once famous and wildly popular MySpace, which is now also consigned to the dustbin of history due to rivals catching up quickly and soon overtaking it. What at one time might be seen as revolutionary won’t always stay that way.

Now that Vine has officially shut down to morph into Vine Camera, becoming simply an addition to Twitter, the story of its rise and fall is a cautionary one for businesses who fail to innovate.

Dror Ginzberg is the co-founder and CEO of Wochit, the social video creation platform for publishers including newsrooms, editorial teams and social media editors. To find out more, visit www.wochit.com.

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