12 Examples of Vine in Action

By now you have most likely heard through the grapevine (last “vine” pun I promise) about Twitter’s new Vine app and it’s many pros & cons. Many call Vine the Instagram of video as it goes beyond static images by allowing for 6 seconds of context tied to pictures, motion & sound in the form of looping videos optimized to be shared.

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Twitter launched Vine on January 24th, 2013 and it has not left the top 20 in the app store since launch. Vine’s six second video loops are quick, lightweight pieces of content that are ideal for social sharing. Initially launched via a mobile app for iOS  (Android app in development) this high-level version of an animated gif is quick & easy to capture. Just point your device, touch the screen and the app records up to 6 seconds allowing for starts & stops.

According to Tech Crunch, Vine (2.8% penetration) has taken an early lead over the likes of Viddy (0.5) & Socialcam (0.2).  There is significant opportunity tied to short form video assets & social sharing as the same article referenced that 98% of overly active users shared photos whereas only 4% shared video.

With the recent changes announced by Facebook and the importance of visual content that drives engagement, having the opportunity to create short-form content may be a powerful tool for brands to consider.

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Vines can be a powerful addition to a solid content strategy. Whether it’s showcasing supplementary branded content or simply finding a relevant extension of your brand to highlight, Vine can provide yet another option to keep users attention.

Here are 12 examples of Vine in Action:

1) Drive awareness to an experiential event
BeatsByDre teased the opening of it’s SXSW Pill Clinic with this Vine.

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2) Share Unique Branded Experiences
Urban Outfitter’s SXSW alien teased via Vine

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3) Highlight Brand Advocates
Kid Robot highlighted a user’s Vine

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4) Pop-Culture Co-Creation in Action
Houston Texans merge their fans & brand with pop culture relevance

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5) Preview Products
Intel is leveraging Vine to preview technology

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6) Highlight a Cause
OKC Thunder highlighting a social cause via Vine

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7) Extend the Brand Persona
Trident is using Vine to extend the core attributes of their brand

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8) Preview with visual context
Warner Bros. promoting a movie with relevant context

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9) Share Important News
Kickstarter announces a record

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10) Drive promotional awareness
Sacramento Kings showcasing promotional items

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11) Leverage Vine for promotion
Regal Cinemas leveraged Vine as part of a promotional announcement

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12) Fan Appreciation
Chick-Fil-A show fans appreciation via Vine

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Be aware when leveraging Vine that there are issues with quality control, as the current version does not allow moderation. The focus should be less on community building & aggregation and more focused on creating content that is then distributed through owned channels.

Also note that it is important to determine the message that is to be conveyed and ensure that it ladders back to the core attributes and persona of the brand prior to just filming.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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The Rise of Dark Posts

We have seen the Dark Knight Rise, we have seen Darth Vader give in to the dark side, we have seen a very dark rabbit in Donnie Darko. What do each of these film references have to do with Dark posting? Nothing unless they are deploying dark post ad units to promote themselves.

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Always looking for any reason to post about Darth Vader

Dark posts sound more ominous than they actually are. No, these are not posts by some secret society or the underbelly of Facebook. Dark posts are a type of ad unit that does not get organic distribution via a brands owned presence.

Basically, the unit would look like a Facebook page post ad unit, only the post does not actually exist on the brands timeline. The post is created for the sole purpose of targeting a very specific and relevant message to it’s intended target. This opens up a number of possibilities to segment messaging to a specific audience (male vs. female, different age demo’s, etc..) with the benefit of the rich creative of page post ads vs. standard marketplace units without compromising the brands publishing cadence.

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Today, Facebook announced that dark posting is now supported directly in the News Feed. This is most likely tied to the upcoming changes to the newsfeed to further extend the targeting and segmentation for brands without overposting across feed types.

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According to Facebook… “This functionality will allow you to access our most engaging placement on the site while still preserving the tone of your Page. Therefore, you can optimize your ads by creating different versions of the same message to see which one performs best. All advertisers will see this change in the placements section when they create an ad or sponsored story using the dark post via the create flow, Power Editor or API.”

Twitter has also enabled Dark posting or as they call it “Narrow Casting” options as part of their paid suite of ad tools. If you are looking to further segment or target a specific activation or promotion, Dark Post types are an option that will provide additional context to the target without compromising the communication to the whole.

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Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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Facebook News Feed Announcement

Today Facebook held an event to announce the first major change to the Facebook News Feed in six years. The theme reinforced by the Facebook team was reduction of clutter by providing more choice and control over the content and stories users will see in their feeds.

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From the beginning, our goal with News Feed was different from any other social service was trying to provide… You should be able to share any content that you want. Status updates, links, photos, etc… You should be able to share with any audience that you want, publicly, with the world, with just friends, or privately” – Mark Zuckerberg

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Here are feature highlights from today’s announcement:

The newly designed newsfeed will start rolling out in limited rollouts today with a focus on a “mobile first” design.

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The new design is heavily reliant on the ability to segment content by feed type allowing for more control:

  • All Friends will showcase everything your friends are sharing. This feed will highlight friend content and add a “facepile” type of overlay to the side of the story to show who has shared the content. Social connectivity is highlighted as the intersection of timeline & the newsfeed becomes more pervasive with the inclusion of friends “add a friend” which allows you to see more about that person directly in the news feed.

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  • Photos will provide a feed with nothing but photos from your friends and Brand Pages you like.

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  • Music a feed with posts about the music users listen to.

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  • Following, a feed with the latest news from the Pages you like and the people you follow, think of this as a Facebook “newspaper” feature.

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Within the News Feed design, photos are getting larger in the new design and attachments from links will also get more space. This will include a much larger image, a more prominent title, and a longer summary to accompany a linked story.

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This is great, but what does this mean as a brand? 

Visual Enablement: Further enabling visual storytelling and cross platform consistency are at the heart of the change. One of the forgotten elements previously is the brands cover photo. Yes, it will pop in the newsfeed when the image changes, but with the refresh the cover photo will be pulled into page “Like” stories in the news feed for both organic & paid. This will provide more context about the page, but also provides another opportunity for the brand to be relevant and engaging with their cover photo & profile photo combination. More frequent updates may be required to ensure that brands are maximizing their opportunities.

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Also note that when people and pages post photos, Facebook will try to display the caption on top of the image if the caption is legible and the image does not contain text and when the image is of sufficient size (at least 425x157px). This puts additional emphasis on either minimal or extremely engaging copy.

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Engagement: The core motivation of this revamp is focused solely on keeping users engaged by allowing more freedom and control over the platform and the information that is relevant for them. Facebook is positioning this change as a more engaging place for brand messages. The goal is to get more people spending time reading and interacting with the news feeds and this should beget more opportunities for us a marketers to reach & engage with our audience.

In my opinion it is too early to tell whether this is good or bad news for brands. The fear from a brand perspective is to lose engagement opportunities by being relegated to a lower visibility feed such as the “following” feed, which currently will not support paid at the initial rollout, but Facebook left it open for opportunities later this year.

Also, one key point to consider, the affinity & engagement of content is key in this new structure, as the more individuals engage with content, the higher the position within the feeds. Obviously this is a key attribute of EdgeRank, but engagement on a post level is still as important as ever. Facebook did confirm that as of now the change is mainly aesthetic for desktop and there will not be a change to Edgerank as it stands today, however this is something that continues to evolve and I would not be surprised if there are changes when the change is fully rolled out to the public.

Paid: The initial rollout will focus on better utilizing paid assets via incremental value adds vs. new streams tied to feeds . but Facebook did leave the door open for injected paid units into subsequent feeds such as “following”. Let’s fast forward for a moment, the new feeds will offer more opportunities to append paid for both small & large advertisers as a whole. The new model also reinforces spend on the post level to further drive visibility of content across feeds. It will be interesting to test media against feed types as units become available as the new design looks to further enhance existing units and offer more opportunities for engagement.

Example of new Page Post Ads

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Example of new Sponsored Ads
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Brand Reach & Visibility:  More real-estate should theoretically increase the throughput of branded content if it is optimized for EdgeRank. This also reinforces the importance of having a relevant content strategy that can maximize content distribution across the various feeds. The thought is that this change will net more visibility for brands moving forward. The key to increasing reach and visibility is to combine organic engagement and then amplify the content via paid that is driving engagement naturally. This Pwned Media approach will optimize paid while leveraging the best of organic engagement to propel content and further drive impactful brand reach & visibility.

The assumption on increased engagement through segmentation/multiple feeds may have an initial lag. The native user behavior of the primary newsfeed as the consumer catch-all and primary point of engagement will remain for awhile until users are reconditioned to filter feeds. One of the inherent benefits of the news feed over the last six years has been tied to the simplicity and minimal effort on behalf of the user to engage with content. It remains to be seen how much usage the secondary feed options will see in terms of interaction type.

Analytics:  From an analytics perspective, my hope is to also append feed distribution as an option to track content performance. This would then inform content decisions in addition to social interactions to further optimize content for optimal impact. As it stands today, Facebook has stated there will be no immediate impact on performance, and they will continue to monitor various performance metrics, including performance of Page posts and paid media.

Here is a link to Join the waiting list for the new News Feed.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

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