June 25th, 2013 | 6 MIN READ

13 Ways to Use Vine for Ecommerce [Or Instagram Video!]

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

In 6 short months, the 6-second short video app Vine has grown to 13 million users (and spurred a competing product from Instagram that launched last week). And like the social shiny objects Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest, marketers see value in Vine. Gap reports tweets with Vine attachments get 6-8x the level of engagement than tweets without. But how and why could you use it for ecommerce marketing? We've got 13 ways... (Note: If you can't see embedded video, try refreshing your page. Email subscribers, view this post on the Web.)

1. Promote what's new

Rdio promotes its exclusive Paramore download, which also suggests an Rdio membership gives access to more exclusive content.

(Example removed: this Vine post is no longer available)

Mobile operator Orange France promotes its 4G service by flipping fast through all its compatible smartphones. Props for including the brand name in the video, many brands' Vines miss the brand in the clip!


American Apparel previews it's new collection of hats, modeled backwards by real employees. Points for adding a human face to the company (we look and dress like you!) and baiting engagement by asking followers which design is their favorite.


Dr. Jays creatively unboxes its new product.

2. Now on sale promos

Urban Outfitters shows a medley of on-sale jeans. Compare this to your typical sale-merchandized email campaign. There's a stop-and-stare quality to this short vid.


3. Secret coupon code

Reward your loyal social followers with secret Easter egg promo codes inside your Vines.

4. Show products in use

Showing products in context can increase conversion on your ecommerce site, but creative and cool clips can also generate demand. Technogym's 6 exercises in 6 seconds fits the attention span of the social media user.


Don't be afraid to have a little fun with it. Urban Outfitters' tube dress has a value prop - you can do anything in it.


5. How-tos and demos

Hair chalk doesn't scream amazing from a product photo - you may never even notice it buried in Urban Outfitter's large product catalog. This quick demo shows how easy it is to get the oh-so-now ombre effect in your hair, and the accompanying tweet reminds followers this is a look to rock at summer festivals.


Tongue-in-cheek, ASOS resurrects an old meme and demonstrates that its shorts...don't blend.


Ebay speeds up an Ebay Now in-store transaction to show you how it does physical retail.


The how-to doesn't need to be product related, offer helpful advice to boost your brand like Lowe's, who offers a series of simple lifehacks like using cinnamon to keep bugs out of a child's sandbox.

6. Invent new uses for a product

Oreos creates a new use for it's cookies - use a pepper grinder to make a chocolate cookie ice cream topper.

7. Teasers for digital content and media

Regal Cinemas uses paper-animation to promote Man of Steel. The video clip doesn't need to be from the actual content itself.


TV networks and subscription sites like Hulu can create fan-clips like this one for Breaking Bad.

8. Reverse-showrooming

I like to call this reverse showrooming - show your in-store selection online to drive visitors to your retail locations (or better, to your online shop).


9. Go behind the scenes

Your social followers are more likely to be fans of your brand than the average customer, so show 'em what it's like behind the scenes. American Apparel's peek into its LA factory reflects its brand values of being made in the USA and the social causes it supports.


Stila takes fans behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week, both the runway and prepping the girls with makeup. Using the hashtag #nyfw (not to be confused with #nsfw) also gives the brand exposure to all Twitter users following the event. Ditto for Urban Outfitters at #Coachella.

Virgin Mobile USA throws it's own parties with famous DJs, and shows you what you're missing.


Amazon mp3 throws its own concerts too (with Rick Springfield) -- highly relevant to the product it sells.


10. Hack the holidays

Urban Outfitters created some fun stuff for Star Wars Day.


Samsung Mobile UK worked its merch into a Father's Day greeting.

11. Just branding

Some social media content is not about selling, just about branding, and it's super inexpensive. 6 second Vine videos don't even have to look polished, in some cases, the less polished the better.

Old Spice intrigues with this head-scratching loop, you'll want to watch it over and over just to try and make some meaning out of it.

12. Contests

The Twitter contest, the Facebook contest, the Pinterest contest...make way for the Vine contest.

13. In-Vine transactions

Wouldn't this teaser from People Magazine be more satisfying if it had a clickable link to buy Season 6 of Mad Men (which includes this bonus content?)


This functionality is not part of Vine (yet), but like commerce-enabled Youtube videos, it should be. It's a bad user experience for someone to get all excited about these products and not have a direct link to buy. This could be accomplished by mashing up a Vine API with a commerce API...just sayin'.

What about Instragram?

Our examples focus on Vine because Vine's been around longer. But Instagram has many benefits for marketers, and the tips above apply. It is important to note the differences between the two when choosing which one to use.

  • Instagram gives you 9 more seconds of wiggle room, but you don't have to use them all. You could re-create your popular Vines for Instagram at the 6 second mark if you want (down to 3 seconds). Some speculate that the magic number 15 was chosen because it's a standard TV advertising length.
  • Instagram video uses its famous filters, and includes some bonus ones (take that Vine).
  • Vine loops, Instagram doesn't. Looping has a cool factor, but also repeats itself automatically, which can more effectively reinforce your brand messaging, offer or idea (pow-pow Instagram).
  • Even though it's owned by Twitter, you must grow followers from scratch with the Vine app, regardless of how many Twitter followers you have. For this reason, some marketers will double down on Instagram, which taps into existing followers. But it's really a non-issue, as you can post your Vines to Twitter and Facebook with one tap.
  • Both Vine and Instagram are search engines, so use #hashtags to your advantage. Playing in both sandboxes gives you more exposure, but the question is should you try to duplicate videos and submit to both. Posting your videos across social networks means your users could see them twice in different formats, which may cloud your signal with noise. It's best to come up with your video concept first, then select the best format for the content, be it Vine with its loops or Instagram with its extended length and funky filters.

Have you played with micro-video yet? Do tell in the comments!

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