video marketing

Video Marketing in Under 15 Seconds: Vine & Instagram

Jon Choi Internet Marketing Leave a Comment

Vine & Instagram Video Marketing

(This post will present case studies to look at some of the ways brands and marketers are using Vine and Instagram to successfully generate more traffic and brand awareness. Then, we’ll analyze what they’ve done and wrap up with key takeaways to make your Vine and Instagram video marketing effective.)

Good content has always been crucial to marketers in generating buzz for their latest products. However, in recent years we’ve seen a shift from just regular written content to other creative forms, such as infographics and video. YouTube’s statistics state that over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on-site, and 100 hours of video are uploaded each minute. These facts tell us one thing: video marketing is growing and ought to be leveraged by marketers.

The latest trends in video marketing have been Vine and Instagram Video. As social media platforms, Vine and Instagram Video make discovering and sharing new video content easier than ever before (one could even say social media platforms are the new emailing lists).


Why Use Short Form Video?

Both Vine and Instagram Video utilize short-form video, which is most effective for social media platforms whose top priority is discoverability and shareability. In other words, short form video is great to build awareness and drive people to the very top of your sales and marketing funnel. Research by Wistia shows video length has a direct correlation to viewer engagement. As social media platforms, millions of videos are posted on Vine and Instagram daily, and the short video lengths help retain viewer engagement, as they require less time commitment.

Consider this analogy: you’re walking along a busy street and you see a food stand that says “The World’s Best-Tasting Frozen Banana.” It’s certainly intriguing, but what’s the first thing that comes to mind? The price. While you may not be as willing to try the world’s best-tasting frozen banana for $10, for $1 you’re committing less of your resources (money) to test the food stand’s claim that it is indeed as tasty as they say. It’s the same way with videos (time = money). The viewer is more willing to test the video’s claim that it is worth his/her resources (time) if the commitment required is minimal.

Vine has become so popular, that there is a new talent agency, called the Grape Story, founded by Gary Vaynerchuk and Jerome Jarre, that helps Vine celebrities connect with brands for a successful collaborative marketing effort. Brands and companies are looking to creative viners (not vintners), such as Meagan Cignoli whose stop-motion fame reaches 362,400 followers on Vine, to create video campaigns for them on Vine and Instagram.

So with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at each of the short-form video social media platforms and gauge their individual strengths.





Vine is the shorter of the siblings in length. Its videos have a 6-second cap, comparable to the 140-character limit Twitter (Vine’s parent company) places on tweets. It uses this short-length to its advantage, since short clips are more easily shareable. Vine’s strengths lie in this: shareability.

Videos on Vine automatically run over and over again, creating a loop effect. They are similar in nature to GIFs, which are just collections of images playing in short frames. When made correctly, Vine videos can achieve a “perfect loop,” in which the start and finish are indistinguishable.

Another of Vine’s strengths over its bigger sibling is its in-app sharing feature, or the ability to revine. Revining works just as retweeting does, allowing one Vine user to share another’s video to his/her own followers. This opens up a huge opportunity for brands and marketers to interact with their customers. Not only can they respond to their followers via comments, they can peruse others’ videos and revine them, opening up a potential role as “the curator.”





Instagram is the bigger of the siblings and has a 15-second limit for its videos, which is 2.5 times longer than the 6-second limit Vine imposes on its users. Because 15 seconds is the length of an average television commercial, marketers and brands can utilize Instagram to showcase visually compelling and content-rich videos.

One particular tool that is useful is the shadow tool, which shows a shadow of the previous clip, so that the exact positioning of the subject is consistent throughout the video.

Another of Instagram’s unique features is the ability to upload videos from a smart phone’s camera library, which means the videos do not necessarily have to be taken with the phone’s camera. Brands and marketers are able to import video clips from their previous works and post them on Instagram, as well as mix them up with other clips to create a video medley. This also results in a higher quality production. Not only can video clips be uploaded from the library, the most recent clip that was recorded on Instagram can be deleted, which means one mistake will not cost the entire video.

Lastly, an assortment of video filters are available, potentially raising the production quality and creating an easy and fun way to edit the video clips. Even when not uploading video clips from a computer or other devices, brands and marketers can utilize the in-app editing tools to make videos more visually appealing.

Case Studies

In this section, we’ll break down several Instagram and Vine videos by the focus of the video, looking at their strengths and how they use the above features to their success.

Brand Image/Promotion

Dove (Vine)

Dove uses Vine’s short time limit to create a well-written encouragement on a clean white paper with its logo visible at the top. While it’s not necessarily promoting the brand outright, the video helps viewers subconsciously link positive messages with the brand. At the same time, the encouraging message of the video is highly shareable, which is perfect for revines.

While a still image of the finished message could also have worked well, the video format has one clear advantage over its still image brethren: the process. While a still image will only display the finished product, a video shows the process of a hand writing the message, thereby showing the viewers a glimpse of the backstage work involved in its creation.

What We Like:

  • Brand logo present

  • The subject is the center of focus

  • Message is easy to read

The Platform:

  • This video is perfect for Vine. The video presents the message in an easy-to-digest manner, all under six seconds.


Lululemon (Instagram)

Lululemon’s video is very creative in that while the background is constantly changing, the person stays in the same spot in every scene, creating a fluid yoga movement in the chaotic shift in scenery. It emphasizes well that with Lululemon’s new mat (which isn’t shown in the video), one can go anywhere and have the same, great yoga experience one would at home. The video encourages an active lifestyle, and links it positively back to the brand itself, even when the actual product isn’t shown.

What We Like:

  • The focus of the video remains in the center of the video, even with the background constantly changing

  • The logo is present at the end (just like a TV commercial!)

The Platform:

  • This video focuses around a yoga movement lasting 15 seconds. Because of the length, Instagram is the better fit for this particular video


Lululemon (Instagram)

Lululemon is a master of brand promotion, as shown by this second example. The powerful music as well as striking visuals all add to heightened anticipation, which leads to a brief tease of Lululemon’s products, as well as text that says “Brace yourself. Summer 2013,” which hints at the arrival of new products.

Those who are watching the video are first intrigued by the striking visuals as well as the music, and are encouraged to watch through the 15 seconds of the clip. At the end, they see Lululemon’s logo, as well as the message that new products will be arriving.

What We Like:

  • Logo is present in the video

  • Focuses on the the product (2013 Summer Line)

  • Teases actual products in the video

The Platform:

  • The video could also be truncated to a 6-second format for Vine


Product Tease/Promotion

Vine and Instagram can also be useful in teasing new products, both ahead of launch and after product release. Here are some beautiful examples from brands that show-off their products successfully.


Victoria Secret (Instagram)

Victoria’s Secret does an incredible job showcasing its summer swimwear lineup, alternating various bikini tops and bottoms, showing how easy it is to combine and create different styles. While the production is simple, it’s also elegant. By showing its logo at the end of the video, Victoria’s Secret reinforces its brand image, and the user automatically and subconsciously associates the products with the brand.

What We Like:

  • the product is centered in the video

  • the brand is presented at the end of the video

  • Sharable through hashtags

The Platform:

  • While the 15 second limit of Instagram means more products and combinations can be shown, but the loop effect of Vine means an endless footage of combinations. Both are equally effective.


Intel (Instagram)

Intel shows off Sony Vaio Duo 13’s strongest feature, its ability to easily transform from a laptop form to a tablet form. Using stop motion, the video shows the product on all sides, as well as a demonstration of using the touch screen. The Intel logo is shown at the end of the video, as well as the product name, so that people can look it up on the web for more information.

What We Like:

  • Highlights the product’s features

  • Shareable with hashtags

The Platform:

  • The video is 10 seconds long, and is better suited for Instagram. While it could be truncated, 6 seconds would be too little time to show off the dual functions of the product, especially if the brand and product descriptions are to be included at the end


Nike (Instagram)

Nike does a fabulous job showing off its new Free Flyknit in a seemingly instructional video of a woman fitting her foot into a vibrantly colored Free Flyknit. The video is simple enough in production (while managing to make it look good, thanks to the color), shows off the product’s characteristic (second skin fit), and places the product in its natural setting (the outdoors).

What We Like:

  • The product is the center focus of the video.

  • Showcases the qualities of the product

  • Logo is present in the video

The Platform:

  • The video is 8 seconds long, and probably could be shortened to 6 seconds and still deliver the same message. Both platforms are adequate for the video


Helpful Tips

One goal of blogs is to generate top-quality content that provides value to their viewers. The same rule applies to Vine and Instagram. People follow others because of the value they provide for them.

People follow friends because it adds to their social interactions. People follow comedians or those who provide lots of humor because laughing can feel good. Others follow brands to keep up with the latest news or trends.

For a brand that may not have very exciting products, one way to provide value is through helpful tips. These tips can vary in complexity, but the end goal is the same: to provide some kind of value to the consumers.


Lowes (Vine)

Lowes is the master of helpful tips on Vine. Its series #lowesfixinsix provides DIY tips for everyday activities around the house. This particular video shows how you can fix the problem of bags sticking to the trash can. The production quality of these videos are quite good, which increases their shareability, as well as their likeability.

While the DIY videos may seem only helpful on the surface, there’s a higher purpose to them. Remember Lowe’s tagline, “Never Stop Improving?” Lowe’s calls itself a Home Improvement store. By creating videos that are aimed at helping improve people’s houses through small, DIY projects, Lowe’s is actually creating a positive association between the brand and home improvement. When viewers hear of Lowe’s, they will subconsciously link the name to home improvement, and may be more likely to consider going to Lowe’s for their next home improvement project.

What We Like:

  • Simple background with the subject in focus.

  • Humor, as the trash bag squirms inside the can

  • Drilling sound provides aural context

  • Presents problem & solution in 6 seconds!

The Platform:

  • While the video could also be on Instagram, the short format and the loop effect make this video more appealing on Vine.


Intel (Instagram)

Who said B2B (Business-to-business) companies can’t use Instagram and Vine to their advantage? Intel posted this video, showing how to create a temporary laptop sleeve/carrier from a hoodie. Intel uses stop motion to create the video. Stop motion is an animation technique that has become infinitely easier to produce with Instagram and Vine, since all of the “photos” (that are, in reality, very, very short video clips) are already compiled in order inside the apps.

What We Like:

  • Presents the problem & solution in under 8 seconds

The Platform:

  • While the video itself comes under 8 seconds, the nature of the video means it probably could have been shortened to be fitted on Vine.


GE (Vine)

General Electric’s video shows how to easily separate the yolk from egg whites using an empty plastic bottle. The video shows vibrant colors (the background is green!) and is reminiscent of claymation.

While the video is devoid of General Electric’s logos or other branding methods, the subject is related to science and therefore gives General Electric’s a positive association with technical innovation.

What We Like:

  • Clean background makes it easier to focus on what’s really important

  • Simple and clean look increases quality of production

  • Stop-motion effect is visually appealing

  • Sound accompanies the video and is not distracting

The Platform:

  • While also suitable for Instagram, the video feels better on Vine because of its simplicity and looping effect.


Shareable Content

There are hundreds of millions of active users on Instagram and Vine combined, which makes for a very robust community for sharing content. Both apps have a Discover section, where popular Vines and Instagram picture/videos are featured. Each app also has its own unique way of discovering/sharing content from a user’s friends.

There is a section in the Instagram app, where the Likes of the people one follows appear. This creates a new way to promote content, as having one follower can potentially open doors to his/her many followers, creating a chain effect that grows exponentially.

In Vine, users can revine their favorite videos for their followers to see, which means each user can act as a curator for his/her friends, selecting good content to share. This creates a huge opportunity for brands and marketers, since these platforms can provide them with huge visibility, leading to brand awareness and, further on, brand loyalty.


Target (Vine)

Target uses Vine’s autoplay effect to its full advantage by creating a video with a perfect loop (a video where the start and finish are imperceptible). Target goes one step further and loops the audio as well, making the video both visually and aurally appealing.

The end result is a highly addicting video that can be played over and over to the users’ amusement. The high quality of the production adds further to its value, creating a highly likeable and shareable content.

It shows that videos do not necessarily have to be relevant to the brand. While it probably wouldn’t do the brand too much good to only have highly shareable content without providing some kind of brand association, these videos can generate more traffic and more followers, potentially raising brand awareness and subconsciously linking feel-good thoughts to the brand.

What We Like:

  • Perfect loop means endless fun! (Really, I sat watching the video for 5 minutes)

  • Sound accompanies the video perfectly

The Platform:

  • The loop is absolutely essential to this video. The clear winner is Vine.



Vine and Instagram are social media platforms where user interactions are integral. Holding contests and submitting entries have become easier thanks to hashtags. By hosting contests on Vine and Instagram, brands and marketers can promote customer interaction and raise user engagement.


Wendy’s (Instagram)

The rules for the Wendy’s contest are easily understood through the video. The steps of the contest are shown as the camera scrolls to the right. The contest is to share a 6 second response on either Vine or Instagram upon tasting Wendy’s new flatbread.

What We Like:

  • Rules are explained clearly

  • Hands holding up sandwiches and money, as well as putting on stickers provide a break from 2D paper presentation and add liveliness, representing the kind of creativity the contest wants in the response videos.

The Platform:

  • The video is better suited for Instagram, as Vine would compress everything and make the words pass by too quickly, making it hard to understand the rules


General Electric (Vine)

General Electric created Gravity Day on September 8, 2013 (because the equation for g, the rate of acceleration due to gravity, is 9.8 m*s^-s). GE revined its favorite videos from users all day long, finishing by inviting Jerome Jarre (co-founder of Grape Story) aboard a zero-gravity chamber. Not only did GE successfully collaborate with a successful Viner, it pooled together all of its favorite #GravityDay Vines and created the world’s longest apple drop.

What We Like:

  • The video explains the rules by example (a very humorous one at that)

The Platform:

  • Vine is the clear winner because of two things:

  • GE revined its favorite videos all day long (only possible on Vine)

  • the loop effect means each of the videos can stand alone as an infinite apple drop


Here are Some Extra Tips and Advice!

We’ve looked at several examples of how brands and marketers can use Vine and Instagram to generate traffic and raise brand awareness. So what else can we learn from these examples? Here are some tips drawn from how these brands utilized Vine and Instagram to their success.


Vine & Instagram

  1. Take time to plan the video. Think about the value that the video can provide to the viewers. Is it humor? Product information? Customer interaction/recognition? Knowing the purpose of the video will help you in planning out its production. Rachel Sprung lays this out really well in this article.

  2. Focus on one message and stick to it. 6 to 15 seconds is not a very long time, and you’ll need all of it to deliver the message in a clear and concise manner.

  3. Use the descriptions to your advantage! The descriptions are always visible when the video is playing, which means it’s as much a part of the message as is the video. Use words to provide context (and no, it’s not cheating!).

  4. Be mindful of the sound. While good sound can complement the video, bad sound can be distracting. If you’re not planning on using sound, mute the microphone by covering it with your hand.

  5. Make sure your message can fit comfortably within the timeframe. If it feels too snug or feels like you’re cramming too much information in too little time, the viewers will feel it, too.

  6. Reinforcing your brand image by placing a visible logo may help viewers form the necessary connections and associations between your brand and the message you’re trying to create.

  7. And remember, have fun! Viewers will pick up on your level of energy and have fun if you’re also having a blast in front of the camera.



  1. Planning is especially important in Vine, since you can’t just delete your most recent take.

  2. Vine is particularly useful for holding contests or involving your followers. Have a contest or a theme, and just revine your favorite videos from your followers!

  3. When making a stop-motion video, be mindful of the 6 second limit you have in framing the story. Taking cues from time-lapse videos may be helpful. Make sure to mute your sound! (It’s really hard to utilize sound in stop motion).

  4. Creating non-branded, but highly shareable content can be beneficial on Vine, since your followers can also revine your videos, letting their own followers discover your brand’s Vine handle!



  1. Remember that you can upload videos from the phone’s library. This means you don’t necessarily need to use Instagram (or your phone, for that matter) to film the video. While not every piece of video content needs to be of high production quality, switch it up every once in a while! This also means you can overlap videos with professional-grade sound.

  2. Decided to film with the Instagram app? No problem! If you make a mistake, you can delete just your most recent take, instead of having to start over from scratch.

  3. Want to use the in-app filters? Try to find one you really like, and stick with it. It’ll give the videos a consistent look, and will help in defining your brand image on Instagram.

  4. There isn’t a rule that says all of 15 seconds need to be used! If 6 seconds is too short for you, but 15 seconds is too long, use Instagram. This goes hand in hand with the not cramming your message rule.

Can Vine and Instagram help brands and marketers put their companies or products out there, and generate enough buzz from the users to gain traffic and brand awareness? We’ve seen successful examples of brands cleverly utilizing the short video forms of Vine and Instagram in creating entertaining content that provides value to the viewers while also delivering a message. Follow the tips and advice we’ve gathered from their success, and go out there and generate some traffic for your brand!

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and if you got value and insight from this post, it would make our day if you gave us a FB like, Tweeted, or shared it with your friends and colleagues.

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