Why did Vine shut down?
When Twitter announced in 2016 that it was taking Vine off the market, many people were surprised. The app had a lot of potential, and its life was short-lived. In fact, at the time, Vine had over 200 million users. So why did Vine shut down, exactly?
Well, it’s an interesting story.
In this article, we’ll go over 5 factors that led Vine to fail. But first, let’s go through a quick refresher on what Vine was.
What Was Vine?
Vine was a short-form video-sharing app that was incredibly popular in the early 2010s. It was founded in July 2012, and acquired just 3 months later by Twitter for $30 million— 3 months before its official launch in January!
The main feature was that users could share six-second videos that would play on a loop. It was sort of a barebones TikTok with much shorter videos. Over the following years, it ballooned in popularity and even became the most used video-sharing app in the market. Things were going great — so why did Vine shut down? What happened to Vine?
Why Did Vine Shut Down? 5 Reasons Vine Failed
#1 — Vine Was Ahead Of Its Time
The first reason why Vine failed was that it was ahead of its time. When the app launched in 2013, there was no other platform quite like it. It allowed users to create six-second videos and share them with the world. But at the time, most people were still using traditional, written forms of social media, like Facebook and Twitter. Video wasn’t as popular of a media form, and society wasn’t 100% ready for something as different as Vine.
Why did Vine shut down when its competitors did not? We’ll be covering that a bit further in the article.
#2 — Why Did Vine Die? No Clear Advantage
The second reason why Vine failed was that it didn’t have a clear advantage. Yes, it allowed people to share short videos, but short video content wasn’t as popular back then. Limiting users to 6 seconds or less meant that most content was completely superficial and meaningless.
There were no real guidelines or rules on what kind of content could be posted, so users ended up getting a lot of random, uninteresting videos. Again, with only 6 seconds to work with, you can’t provide much value beyond entertainment. Without additional developments or a strong algorithm, people quickly lost interest in the app.
#3 — Vine’s Parent Company (Twitter) Lost Confidence In It
While the $30 million dollar exit was certainly appealing to the founders of Vine, it likely didn’t provide much benefit to the users. Vine was acquired before it even launched, making its success entirely dependent on Twitter — the parent company.
At the time, Twitter was struggling to find its place in the social media world. It was trying to be everything to everyone, and as a result, it wasn’t really excelling at anything. When Twitter bought Vine, it didn’t really know what to do with the app. Vine didn’t integrate well with Twitter’s other features, and as a result, it ended up receiving less attention and resources.
In 2016, Twitter ended up shuttering Vine entirely in late 2017, to focus on other projects. At its height, Vine had over 200 million active monthly users.
Why did Vine shut down if it had so many users? Well, money played a big role.
#4 — Vine Wasn’t Properly Monetized
The fourth reason why Vine failed is that the app was not properly monetized. From the beginning, Vine didn’t have a clear way to make money. It relied on advertising revenue, but that only went so far. The company never found a sustainable business model, and as a result, it was always struggling to stay afloat. In the end, this lack of monetization proved to be its downfall, as it didn’t drive enough revenue for Twitter to see it as worthy of maintaining.
For creators, the main way to monetize was through sponsorships. But, again, being limited to 6-second videos means that it was nearly impossible to make content and read ads in the same video.
#5 — The Competition Took Off
The fifth and final reason why Vine failed is that it simply couldn’t keep up with the competition.
Why did Vine shut down? Well, Instagram certainly didn’t help.
Vine launched in October 2012, and by June 2013 Instagram had launched videos on their platform. To start off, users were able to upload 15-second videos. At the time, Instagram had an estimated 100 million users, which was certainly bigger than Vine.
As a platform, Instagram had a lot more to offer. Users could upload both pictures and videos, and the videos could be 2.5x as long. Given the choice of what platform to use, most users chose Instagram.
When it comes to video sharing, Youtube was certainly the main competitor in the market. Comparing the two platforms was like night and day — Vine users were restricted to 6-second videos, whereas YouTubers could upload hours of content. Plus, Youtube had already built-in advertising to the platform, whereas Vine creators were primarily left to figure it out on their own.
As one of the final nails in Vine’s coffin, TikTok was released in China in September 2016. Twitter announced it was shutting down Vine just a month later. TikTok likely didn’t play a big role in Vine closing its doors, but it’s worth noting that Vine’s absence likely played a big role in TikTok’s early adoption.
Why did Vine fail and TikTok succeed?
There are several reasons — TikTok does a lot more to support its creators, it has developed more features into its platform, and it developed the platform to be as addictive as possible.
Why Did Vine Shut Down? Takeaways & Lessons
These are just five of the many reasons why Vine failed. In the end, it was a combination of factors that led to its demise. Even before it was launched, Twitter’s acquisition of the platform likely slowed down growth since the team was already paid out.
The growth, while fast, was not properly maintained, and there weren’t enough features to retain users. With a rise in competition, Twitter began to lose confidence in the app’s trajectory and closed its doors. Perhaps a bit prematurely.
As for lessons, if you’re building a social media app — don’t sell it before launch. Vine likely would have fetched a higher price tag after it had grown, and the founders would have been more incentivized to keep developing it. Also, your app needs to innovate. You can’t be a one-trick pony. Instagram added stories, reels, carousels, and more. Youtube added Youtube shorts, in-app advertising, etc. Limiting the app to 6 seconds didn’t benefit Vine or its users in the long run.
Why did Vine shut down? We covered that already, silly.
It shut down in 2016, it’s time to get over it.
Instead, you should be thinking about how you can create your own start-up to sell for $30 million dollars. After all, Vine just allowed you to share 6-second videos, and they were acquired before they launched.
Not sure what to build? We’ve got you covered! We’re working tirelessly to index hundreds of ways to make money online. Check out our Hustles directory if you’re looking for ideas!