After nearly four years of video sharing and millions of active users, Twitter has officially announced that it will shut down the Vine phone app. In a statement released by Twitter on Oct. 27, the company stated that the app would be discontinued in the coming months. However, the Vine website will be kept online for the foreseeable future so that users may still watch and download their favorite vines. During this time, users will no longer be able to post vines. Vine was originally founded by Colin Kroll, Dom Hofmann and Rus Yusupov in June 2012. Before the app was launched, it was purchased by Twitter for $30 million and subsequently launched in January 2013 as a free app for iOS devices. An Android and Windows Phone version was released later that same year.
Over the span of several months, Vine evolved into one of the most used video sharing applications in the market, enticing users with the ability to watch and loop six-second-long video clips. At times, Twitter boasted that vines receive more than 200 million views a month, along with 1.5 billion daily vine loops.
The app quickly spawned several power users, such as Andrew B. Bachelor, better known by Vine users as King Bach. As of October 2016, Bachelor has garnered more than 16 million followers on the app.
Despite its rapid rise in popularity, Vine still competed heavily with other social media platforms to maintain both users and content creators. At the time of Twitter’s announcement, Vine’s initial popularity had slipped drastically, going from an entertainment app in the iOS App Store to being in the top 20. Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram now make up the top three photo and video apps, followed by several apps that supplement them, such as Layout and Boomerang from Instagram. A significant fault in Vine lies in its lack of advertising potential, such as with Facebook’s sponsored advertisements and videos, Snapchat’s sponsored geofilters and Twitter’s promoted tweets. For the most part, advertisers wishing to market their brand on Vine were forced to work with popular Vine creators on an individual level.
Marketing firms, such as Twitter-owned Niche, acted as a middleman for this purpose, but it was not enough to supply a sustainable advertising model.
A lack of audience analytics on Vine also contributed greatly to Vine’s content creators flocking to other social media platforms. Due to the fact that Vine does not allow creators to view clear audience statistics on age and gender, advertisers are not exactly sure if the demographic they are hoping to target will actually be reached.
Earlier this year, Niche revealed that the firm had signed 31,000 advertisers onto Vine along with facilitating hundreds of brand deals. Around the same time, Facebook announced that three million companies were actively advertising on Facebook, with more than 70 percent of these companies originating from outside the United States. Facebook celebrated their advertisers in March 2016 with a statement entitled Three Million Business Stories. What’s Yours? which invited advertisers to create a video story detailing their growth under Facebook.
Facebook currently supplies brands with clear analytic information on audience age, city, country, device usage and gender, allowing prospective advertisers to know who their advertisement is reaching. Facebook, like other social media platforms, also has a significantly larger user base in comparison to Vine, with 1.71 billion monthly active users and 1.13 billion daily active users as of June 2016. According to YouTube’s statistics, the site “has over one billion users…and reaches more 18 to 34 and 18 to 49 year-olds than any cable network in the United States.”
More importantly, YouTube makes it clear that it actively invests in its content creators, supplying creators with video production facilities and offering creators the opportunity to attend workshops across the world.
As Twitter looks to shut Vine down in the coming months, several large companies have reportedly taken an interest in acquiring Vine. Throughout the last few months, Disney, Google and cloud computing company Salesforce have all taken an interest in Vine, but potential buyers continue to be wary. Last month, Salesforce stock dropped more than 7 percent after CEO Marc Benioff rumored that the company would be purchasing Vine. However, Benioff decided against the deal before stating that Twitter’s work culture and rampant abuse was incompatible with Salesforce.
In its statement, Twitter thanked Vine’s content creators, team members and viewers for their contributions to the app’s success. No changes have taken place within the Vine app yet, but users can count on being notified about any future changes via Vine’s Twitter account and the Vine app itself.