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Very Very Short Videos: Amateur Crazy Beats Professionally Curated

Thunderfoot Team

Very short videos are the latest tool to grab the attention of your audience on social networks, but getting started is the biggest challenge. Here’s why we think Vine is the obvious place to start investing your attention.

Since the invention of the television over a hundred years ago, the moving image has dominated our attention.

Now, just like televisions invaded American living rooms a hundred years ago, high speed mobile data connections have enabled moving pictures to eclipse the dominant image and text based style of the early web. Now, static images are increasingly being replaced by gifs, vines, and other short video formats.

Moreover, the advent of streaming video sharing platforms like Periscope and Snapchat add real time feedback, which transforms video communication from passive observation to active viewing. This change resembles one-to-one or face-to-face interactions, as video now enables active and realtime feedback. For marketers and advertisers, real time feedback and viewing metrics allow for greater experimentation with video formats to engage their target audience.

Very short videos are potentially the easiest and most accessible format to experiment, as they enable you to reach both Vine, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook audiences.

How They Stack Up

Starting with the basics, Instagram (owned by Facebook) allows both static and video uploads of up to fifteen seconds, both in a square format. Vine (a Twitter offshoot) only allows videos of up to six seconds in length, which loop automatically. On both sites, viewers can choose whether to play these loops with or without sound.

But which one is better for your branded videos? Here’s why we reckon Vine comes out in front.

While Instagram began allowing video uploads as an afterthought, Vine was optimized for the short video format from the outset. The Vine interface invites views and makes it part of a seamless experience. Instagram might give you nine more seconds, but don’t underestimate how short the average consumer’s attention span is. Frankly, if you haven’t managed to grab them in six, they probably won’t reach the extra seconds anyways.

And crucially, Vine allows users to share or revine their favorites, meaning that if your ad captures the public’s imagination, it could be boosted by the rocket fuel of virality. Really, virality is just digital word-of-mouth marketing, which is still the most effective mode of advertising.

What works on Vine will probably work well on Instagram too, but another reason we prefer Vine over Instagram is that experimentation is at its core. Whereas Instagram is a highly curated personal environment that projects an overly idealized world, Vine is the complete antithesis. Vine is a crazy, mad cap world of tangents and amateur experiments.

How to Do it Right

The best Vine ads have the same unedited feel as amateur clips, using the same visual language as the Vine community. You might feel nervous at the thought of using a mobile only platform to create and upload media, but there’s no need: a rough-around-the-edges look has more authenticity than polished perfection. Check out how Dunkin’ Donuts used the stop motion editing function to make an ad with cute, informal charm.

General Electric are Vine video masters, turning out mesmerising “6 second science experiments” that educate as well as entertain. The video below shows what happens if you mix food colouring with milk. Don’t ask me why that happens though – ask General Electric. See? Marketing. Engagement.

ASOS demonstrates that the YouTube fad of unboxing videos works just as well on Vine. In fact, it kinda works better and is less soul destroying for viewers – I mean, they’re not just watching a video of someone unpacking a box, right?

But in all seriousness, unboxing videos are successful because they let you show off your product “in action” and gives customers a more complete sense of how they look and feel in the real world than posed studio shots. Unboxing works particularly well on highly anticipated products and can build that anticipation yet further in potential customers.

Burt’s Bees demonstrate that 6 seconds is plenty for a short song (though this comes with an “earworm” warning). In this case, husband and wife folk pop duo, Us The Duo, made this cute ‘n catchy little ditty for Burt’s Bees.

Truly great marketing (and art, if you want to get deep) turns the limitations of the format into strengths, as in this anti-smoking short:

These ads prove that ads don’t have to be boring to watch: they can fit into the distracting and slightly crazy world of Vine.

And “slightly crazy” is the keyword to look out for here.  So, we couldn’t resist showing you a few of our other favorites that demonstrate the ingenuity regular users have shown with the six second format. As well as giving you a giggle, they should show you how well ads can fit into the landscape. This allows brands to connect with their target audience on the same level that they do with their friends, without coming across as corny and fake. Hopefully the following vines will spark some loopy ideas of your own (see what I did there?)

Cutting a series of jumps together can give the illusion of flying.

This viner may never have gotten his letter from Hogwarts, but that hasn’t stopped him following his dreams.

Multiply the impact of something useless.

These ducks prove there’s strength in numbers:

Destroy something useless in the name of comedy.
Two power viners team up for a brilliantly weird sketch:

And finally, the greatest art sometimes comes at the greatest sacrifice.
Poor Casper.

While that Viner was undeniably lucky to be in the right spot at the right time, luck didn’t make the vine go viral. Tapping into the powerful human emotions of shock, surprise, and a touch of guilt at laughing at poor Casper’s demise makes viewers empathize and share the Vine within their circle. With a killer Vine, in just 6 seconds, you have the potential to make your customers feel something real. More and more, branding is about showing off your product’s personality, and making a real connection with customers — the old reliance on one method of communication and one rigid message to sell a product or service is obsolete.

So don’t let the competition gobble you up like Casper. Start thinking about how to incorporate video sharing into your marketing, and don’t hesitate to set yourself apart from the crowd in fresh and creative ways. If it’s virality that you seek, outside the box experimentation on Vine is a solid place to start.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer social media management services to build a vibrant audience for your brand across all media channels. Learn more about social media and PR here.