EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 333 - April 21, 2013 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 6

Using Vine Videos in Ecommerce Marketing

By Mark O'Neill

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When Twitter started in 2006 with its steady stream of updates about what people had for breakfast, they also started a new trend - saying what needed to be said in 140 characters or less. Suddenly less was more, and substance had to be replaced with brevity.

Whether we like to admit it or not, the attention spans of people surfing the web are getting shorter and shorter. If you don't get your point across very quickly, then they lose interest and move on. This applies to webmasters, bloggers...and of course online sellers.

Twitter is now continuing the "less is more" theme by introducing a video service called "Vine", which enables users to make 6 second videos, endlessly looped as a continual GIF image. These of course can be shared online - Vine has a website hosting all of these videos - and obviously Twitter and Facebook sharing is a given.

You're probably thinking what people thought back in 2006 when they saw Twitter for the first time - "what a colossal waste of time! What could possibly be said in 6 seconds that could mean anything?". That was my initial thought when I first looked at Vine when it first came out. However, while doing some research for this article, I have come to change my mind about Vine, because I have seen what some companies have done with the Vine concept, which is turning marketing campaigns into short addictive viral ads.

I mean, look at this Vine video from Doritos and tell me with all honesty - "wouldn't that stick in your mind forever?". My wife and I were fighting for ages over what the song was. (You need to click on the Vine volume button to hear the audio.)

Or here is one from Bacardi that my wife really liked. I didn't get the joke about the lime kissing the Bacardi, as I am not an alcohol drinker, but she did.

Since Vine is free, you too can use Vine for your online promotional campaigns. But the big downside is that currently the video recording facility to make these videos is confined to the iPhone only. There is, at the time of writing this article, no Android version, and no PC desktop version (for say the webcam). This is a strictly iPhone-only party for the moment. But with the rising popularity of Vine, other phone versions can not be very far away, so if you fall into this category, bookmark this article and check back again in a few months.

Have you got an iPhone? OK, then let me show you how to make a video.

Obviously you need the iPhone app first, so go to iTunes and download it (or install it via your phone's App Store). Once you have installed it, open it up and sign in either with your Twitter account or make a Vine account (to have one less account to deal with, I would suggest just using your already-existing Twitter account).

After signing in, you will find yourself on the homescreen. To start making a video of your own, click the camera icon in the top right hand corner.

If you have never made your own video before on Vine, you will be offered a tutorial (which you can skip if you are confident enough). For the purposes of this article, we are going to skip it, since I am going to show you what to do.

You will then see the screen with a black bar and a cross above it. The cross cancels the video-making process and takes you back to the previous screen, and the black bar indicates how much time you have left on the video.

You can really make those 6 seconds last, because Vine only records when your finger is pressed to the screen. To pause recording, take your finger off the screen. When your finger is pressed to the screen, recording starts and the bar along the top turns green, as the time moves along. When you take your finger o"ff the screen, recording pauses and so does the bar. So at all times, you can see just how much time you have left. As I said, with some practice, you can really fit a lot into those 6 seconds.

In my experiments though, I realized that if you want your voice to be audible, you need to have your voice very close to your phone. Otherwise it won't be heard. So perhaps buy a small stand for your phone to sit on to reduce shaking (my hands shake something terrible) and which would enable you to get your mouth very close to the phone receiver.

Now it's just a case of sharing the video. For you to get a link on Vine, you need to share it on Twitter or Facebook, as well as click the Vine sharing option. If you do, you will get a link to your video on the Vine website, which you can use to send to people, link on your website, link to in email newsletters, eBay auctions, whatever. As usual, the possibilities are limitless.

Here is my first ever Vine video. Now before you say anything, I know it is absolutely terrible. But in my defense, I am a terrible ad-libber and my hands shake worse than a drug addict going cold turkey. Nevertheless, I hope it gives you a general idea of what the Vine service can do.

So what possible uses would you use it for? Do you see this as a possible secret weapon to get more online business, or do you think it's all a silly immature waste of time? Let us know by commenting on the AuctionBytes Blog.

About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'

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