It was inevitable, really. Buzzfeed did it with words, Vine’s doing it with video, and now everyone’s going along for the ride. What you are about to witness is not only one of the most horrifying Vines on the web (don’t worry, the driver was okay), but also a perfect example of the new generation of bite-sized videos that are taking the internets by storm. They also feature grumpy cats, trick shots, twerking (of course), and Ryan Gosling.
These 6-second clips are also potentially the most viral form of video. Within hours of Vine’s release dozens and then hundreds of videos began cropping up on YouTube, so many that Huffpost rounds up the best 40 Vines of each week. Here’s the most recent offering:
Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann explained in Vine’s announcement blog post that:
Posts on Vine are about abbreviation - the shortened form of something larger. They're little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life.
Within weeks other big companies were taking notice of Twitter’s latest video experiment, and Instagram was quick to launch its own short-video app. But to be different, they made their limit 15 seconds. The more-than-doubled time limit certainly found its fair share of fans. CNN, for example, saw fit to use Instagram’s new offering to document the most.
When you look at the variety of content, the number of actors involved (Jack Black and Emma Clark, to name a few), and the gamut of events all being highlighted by one man with a camera, then realize that it’s being broadcast to the world in such a way that viewers can pick and choose exactly what they want to see, the power of bite-sized videos becomes apparent. And it comes as no surprise that normal people looking for quirky, fun, and engaging snippets of life are the ones evangelizing this new, bite-size form of content. It also comes as no surprise that companies, from startups to Fortune 500s, want to be part of the revolution.
It’s been proven beyond a doubt that product videos lead to sales. As a refresher, 23% of shoppers that watch product videos are more likely to buy, and 57% of consumers say they feel more confident in their purchase after watching video. These are normal product videos we’re talking about, by the way - not the viral videos that marketing dreams are made of. But that’s fine, because 6-second video clips don’t have to be viral...just bite-size and easy to swallow.
That’s probably why “video bites” have already found their way into big business. They’re low-cost, low-risk opportunities to give millions of users something they would like to see or just might enjoy. It’s why Coca Cola and Red Vines are teaming up to convince movie goers to buy Coke and licorice the next time they see a flick, and it’s also why Lowe’s is launching a new campaign called “Lowe’s Fix in Six”, which cleverly features DIY projects in video bites. “Plenty of marketers are experimenting with Vine, but few have made the six-second video platform truly useful for consumers,” Natalie Zmuda of AdAge observes. “Lowe’s may be on its way to cracking the code.”
Well, Lowe’s isn’t the only company making delicious video bites. Here are 10 other companies on the Vine bandwagon:
In an industry like print publishing, book covers make or break a sale. So how do you market books with a Vine? Flash covers, of course.
Takeaway: Simon&Schuster pulls off a 3-second catalogue of 12 books, because they’re well aware that Vines can be paused at any time. Very clever.
Special days like Valentine’s Day are cause for a little silliness. Tropicana recognizes this and spreads the cheer with an orange-mation video that you can’t help but smile at.
Takeaway: It’s just the sort of thing that might make you want to go to your fridge for some orange juice…
By now you’ve probably heard of the Wii U, but you probably haven’t thought of buying it. It’s been racked by some fairly bad reviews, and the impending release of the XBOX One and PS4 are keeping the vast majority of American gamers waiting for the holidays.
Takeaway: So what does Nintendo do? Show you everything in it’s deluxe set one by one. In other words - everything you’re missing out on. What a tease!
Recruiting videos are the other, other white meat of the video world. Every company needs at least one (and every HR department would definitely appreciate more than one), but for some reason or another lots of big companies don’t seem to think they’re important.
Takeaway: Hubspot, of course, isn’t one of those companies. They’re smart enough to realize that the best way to attract top talent is to show talented employees having fun at work.
Which is not to say that all office tours have to be recruiting videos. Sometimes, viewers are just curious about what goes on inside the revolving doors.
Takeaway: Why not feed their curiosity? Secrecy is an overrated marketing tactic. Openness is much more accessible, and MSNBC gets that.
Trade shows, conventions - all companies want to be part of industry events, and for good reason. But how do you set yourself apart from the crowd?
Takeaway: While we’re not sure arm wrestling would help promote Lululemon, GoLocal has thought of a simple and fun way to attract attention to their booth. Not to mention how-to videos are some of the most popular Vine videos to date.
7. Urban Outfitters
Event coverage is important, but try telling that to someone with only a minute to spare. Keep in mind that the average American has an attention span of less than 9 seconds. Watch a 3-minute event video? Are you kidding me?
Takeaway: Not only has Urban Outfitters come up with a solution for coverage of specific venues at an event (in this case, a one-woman band at a UO store), they’re also able to showcase their events live because video bites are short and easy to upload.
Company history is important to the company, but boring to the consumer. Very few people are going to care about your “About Us” section when they have no idea what your company does in the first place. Most consumers want to hop in and out and have their cake, too.
Takeaway: Most of us have bought Gap apparel at some point in our lives, but how many of us know anything about Gap’s history? Or that they were making jeans since 1969? Did you? I certainly didn’t. But now - thanks to a bit of clever marketing - we both do.
There’s nothing as exciting as unboxing a chance-to-win package. It doesn’t matter what the chance to win is, or what the prize is, either.
Takeaway: But just in case you haven’t had a Cadbury egg in a hot minute or don’t know where to find them nearby, Cadbury makes sure you can enjoy the next best thing - a vicarious unboxing of chocolatey egg deliciousness.
If your company doesn’t exactly host the most exciting service in the world, marketing can become masochistic.
Takeaway: But whoever said you had to market your service? Geico figured out years ago that silly, irreverent videos go viral, and now MailChimp is taking up the torch 6 seconds at a time.
What each of these companies has in common is an appreciation for creativity and the engaging potential of conciseness. While we’re not fortune tellers, I think it’s safe to say that video bites are going to become a staple of video marketing for years to come.