Swinging from Vine: More than half of top Vine influencers have left the platform

Esa Fung had amassed 50,000 followers on Vine by 2013, when he decided to leverage his audience to become an “influencer” for brands. Three years later, Fung is up to 1.8 million followers and has created vines for HP, Target and Disney. However, his fans are less likely than ever to see him there: the Vine influencer is looking to grow his audience on Facebook and YouTube. While he still posts to Vine once every two or three days, he does it less often than before.

“Facebook and YouTube have much larger scale than Vine, so you can reach more people and make the most money there,” Fung told Digiday. “It’s more complicated to produce videos for Facebook and YouTube though, because your content needs to be much longer than six seconds.”

Fung is not alone. Lately, his agent Viral Nation has been pushing its Vine-focused influencers — including Fung, Jerry Purpdrank, Max Jr and Amanda Cerny — to actively transition their audience to other networks like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. This is because while brands are still considering Vine for promotions, they’ve been doing so less frequently over the past six months, according to Joe Gagliese, CEO for Viral Nation.

“[Lots of my clients] turned all their attention to Facebook because it allows for way better analytics and is always innovating which is what I feel Vine doesn’t do,” said Gagliese. “Facebook is going to be monetizing video in the next two to six months like YouTube and this presents an opportunity to drive income through the platform which Vine does not offer.”

Once a social media darling, Vine is falling out of favor. After analyzing 9,725 Vine users with more than 15,000 followers, influencer marketing company Markerly found that 52 percent of them have exited the platform since Jan. 1. Instead, they have moved to YouTube and Snapchat for different reasons.

Influencer Nash Grier migrated from Vine to Snapchat.
“I used this account a lot before Snapchat came out,” influencer Nash Grier wrote in his Vine profile.

The finding may not surprise many. Compared to Vine, Snapchat offers features like geofilters, 3D stickers and My Story that allow would-be influencers to create more vivid in-the-moment content than they used to share on Vine. YouTube, on the other hand, lets creators make more polished long-form video content, which is becoming appealing to more and more Vine stars. For example, Zach King, one of the biggest celebrities on Vine, started to move his content over to YouTube where he updated three or four times a month. His most recent Vine clips, in comparison, were posted in January.

“Even though Zach’s follower count is less on YouTube than on Vine, the engagement will be higher,” said Sarah Ware, CEO and co-founder for Markley. “YouTube subscribers are a much more intentional and committed community than Vine, where the engagement has been steadily declining.”

Engagement on Vine has also decreased by 12 percent in the last 28 weeks, according to marketing technology company Amobee. Ware thinks that the decline in engagement will become more disparaging on Vine as the number of posts is dropping. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for advertisers to be on the platform unless “the price is on clearance.”

In spite of the mass exodus, Noah Mallin, head of social for agency MEC’s North America operations, is optimistic about Vine. His agency has a few current projects for brands that involve the platform. Mallin believes that influencers go where they can get exposed and where they can monetize, so when they see Twitter investing more in Vine, they will gradually go back to the platform.

“I think Twitter will more fully integrate Vine into the main Twitter experience much in the way it’s doing with Periscope and will also integrate the ability to monetize on Vine more fully with Twitter’s powerful ad offerings,” he said. “This will give influencers confidence that they should continue to devote resources to Vine.”


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