Long before Snapchat and Instagram went to war over which would own short-form video, there was another king of the content jungle: Vine.
For years, the Twitter-owned app has been a platform for creating 6.5-second videos. However, last month, Twitter retired Vine, replacing it with Vine Camera as a way to let users continue taking and uploading the same kind of videos that made Vine and its community of creators famous.
Twitter is also grafting in another signature Vine characteristic: loops, the metric used for counting how many times a piece of Vine content is watched. The move to loop any video shorter than 6.5 seconds is seen by some as a way for Twitter to more directly compete with Snapchat and Instagram, which both have their own types of short-form video.
“I felt like Vine was one of the first platforms to help marketers and advertisers to really hone their storytelling to tell an effective story on that platform,” said Jen Choi, senior social marketing manager at Huge. Brands such as Buick, Downy, Samsung and GoPro have used Vine to boost engagement and awareness.
So what’s the value of a loop? Agencies agree it’s too early to tell how they will perform in their new home. However, since their introduction in 2014, loops have been somewhat controversial. Some execs acknowledge the benefit of a publicly viewable metric, while others have voiced concern that leaving a loop open on a screen could lead to inflated numbers. (Twitter declined comment for this story.)
“Whatever a view means, a view is a view and a loop is a loop, and there are different types of content that will do well on that platform,” noted Allison Stern, co-founder of Tubular Labs.
“I don’t know if having a standardized ad metric for six-and-a-half-second loops is going to make or break anybody’s ad campaign,” said eMarketer analyst Paul Verna, adding that he tends to “take a pretty skeptical view” of ad metrics on digital platforms. These days, he said, most marketers view campaigns on a case-by-case basis.
Kyle Bunch, managing director for social at R/GA, said it matters less how loops immediately drive purchase and more how the format works over time. He said Twitter should add more granular advertising with loops for better targeting and data collection, but also predicts that Twitter could someday sell videos on a per-loop basis.
“Loops are a part of this larger story around a fairly dramatic shift in how we measure and understand the impact of video content,” Bunch added.