May 29, 2014, 2:17 PM

An introduction to video site Vine for online retailers

How much can a brand say in a 6-second video? Plenty, says Twitter's Stacy Minero about social video-sharing site Vine, in an interview with CDW's Grant Crowell.

I interviewed Stacy Minero, head of content strategy for Twitter, which owns the social video-sharing site Vine. She explains why Vine is a medium that has inspired creativity and provides opportunity for brands of all sizes and many verticals—from small and medium-sized businesses to Fortune 500 companies—and suggests Vine best practices just for e-retailers.

Vine, explained

Vine is both a video-sharing app and social video-sharing site, owned and managed by the folks at Twitter. The app is designed for filming short, separate video clips that can be linked together for a total of six seconds. Each short video plays in a continuous loop, and is viewable directly in Twitter’s timeline or embedded into a web page.

Vine videos are followed by trending tags. With over 40 million users, including many major e-retail brands, Vine has become a popular hubspot for customers and fans to share their own videos around an e-retailer’s brand, product, or theme via a Vine & Twitter hashtag.

While Vine trails in audience size and overall video shares to it’s competitor Instagram, it has demonstrated B2C and B2B crossover appeal. The top five industries represented on Vine are: fashion, sports, automotive, technology and print.

Here are excerpts from my interview with Vine's head of content planning, Stacy Minero:

Grant: Why 6 seconds?

Stacey: In the earlier days of Vine, many brands wondered how they could possibly communicate a message in such a short period of time, but we’ve found that implementing a time constraint has actually pushed brands to think outside of the box and come up with very effective, viral campaigns.

Vine helps brands simplify their means of communication, and can be a highly effective tool for building brand awareness, improving positive sentiment, and increasing customer loyalty. For e-commerce brands specifically, Vine is a powerful platform that allows brands to showcase new products in a fun, visual way.

What e-commerce and retail brands, or industry types, would be most likely to benefit from being on Vine?

Vine can be effective for any brand where a visual approach is beneficial. For example, fashion and apparel brands have seen a lot of success on the platform. Vine helps these companies take a static product image and transform it into something engaging and dynamic.

Vine can also be a tool used to educate and inform, as 6 seconds offers the perfect amount of time for a light-touch tutorial. A popular e-tailer, Nordstrom, used Vine videos in their holiday campaign to show their followers how to tie a tie - something every millennial man should know.

Grant: Are there any brands that really stand out with their Vine videos and overall performance?

Stacey: Net-a-Porter has used Vine to showcase designer shoes and bags. They use sight, sound and motion to bring gorgeous products to life in a multi-dimensional way. This strategy is an excellent way for retailers who have seasonal merchandise to reveal their latest products or lines.

In the home improvement category, Lowe’s has done a fantastic job with their content series #fixinsix. Through Vine videos, Lowe’s provides quick and easy solutions to everyday problems, like removing a stripped screw from a wall. Their videos are not only addictive and fun, but provide tangible advice that their audience finds useful. Lowe’s is also strategic when it comes to the timing of their videos, making sure to sync their tutorials with whatever tips are most applicable during a particular season.

And, Vine is a great way to surprise and delight users.  Last year, Honda responded to users who tweeted with the hashtag #wantnewcar with personalized videos—featuring infamous YouTube star Rebecca Black.

Grant: What are some mistakes e-retailers commonly make when first starting out on Vine?

Stacey: We love to see brands experiment on Vine. A mistake that brands can make is being too afraid to test new mediums—we’ve heard that some brands sometimes shy away from Vine because they don’t feel like they have the expertise to execute a successful campaign. But the smartest brands will test and iterate on Vine—adapting their content and measuring performance until they find that sweet spot of what really drives engagement, positive responses, and ultimately business results.

Grant: What video metrics can be measured with Vine videos that might be of particular importance for businesses?

Stacey: On Twitter, marketers can track the number of clicks, retweets, @replies and favorites of Vine videos they’ve tweeted. And on Vine, the numbers of favorites, re-vines, or comments are a great indicator of whether or not your content is resonating with your users.

Grant: What are some best practices you would recommend for e-retailers on Vine?


  • Clarify your objective and decide what role Vine plays in your overall communication plan and content strategy. Determine what Vine can achieve based on its unique creative canvas and ‘mobile first’ format.
  • Develop a content series that is sustainable. We love when brands think about a content series vs. a single video, because it gets their followers excited and wanting more.  Lowe’s #fixinsix series contains dozens of videos that all fall under the same same creative theme—you can imagine that series being relevant and engaging for years.
  • Think ‘mobile.’ Simply meaning, think about what kind of content will ‘pop’ in a user’s mobile timeline. Vine is a mobile-first product, and it’s important for brands to keep this in mind when creating content.
  • Plan for the moment. Users take to Twitter and Vine to have millions of conversations about everyday moments like spring cleaning, back to school, summer picnics—and brands can turn ordinary, recurring events these into powerful marketing moments.
  • Get loopy. Remember that the looping aspect of Vine means people will often watch a video multiple times, by default. Think about how that looping effect can help tell a story or spotlight a product.
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