In the last 90 days, there have been just over 5 million videos uploaded to Vine from 801K individual creators. According to Tubular, these videos have generated over 64.3 billion views, making it the 3rd most popular video platform in terms of views, after Facebook (201.5 billion), and YouTube (160.8 billion).

But unlike Facebook or YouTube, Vine is notable in that it has made stars out of individuals, not so much brands. Individual creators are taking Vine by storm, and their uploads attract views and engagement that many brands can only dream of. In the leaderboard for the most-watched Vine Stars of June 2015, the top 10 positions are taken by independent creators, all of which, incidentally, appear in the comedy category. That should give you some indication of the type of content that resonates with the typical Vine audience.

Vine, Facebook and YouTube Views June - Aug 2015

Videos Uploaded to Vine, Facebook, and YouTube between 05/07/15 and 08/07/15 (Data via Tubular)

However, that doesn't mean that brands shouldn't use Vine as part of their video marketing campaign strategy. If anything, the platform offers up some incredibly unique opportunities for promotion, if you know what to do, and understand how viewers respond to, and engage with, the social video platform.

Is Vine Worth the Time for Branded Video Content? Yes!

As with any type of video marketing, you don't have to have a million-dollar budget to make Vine work for you. You don't have to create a Vine that reaches the whole audience - just one that reaches YOUR audience. And there are two ways of doing that.

First, you can create and upload your own unique clips, geared around your products or services, and build up an engaged and loyal following, just as you would on any other social platform. Many brands, like GE, and Samsung, are excelling at this approach, and using short-form video to entertain and inform, as well as drive traffic to other video platforms and external sites. The second approach involves collaborating with those influential Vine creators who are dominating the platform, and whose audience may be highly receptive to hearing all about your brand.

Vine and Influencer Marketing: Opportunities for All

Most video marketers should now be very familiar with the term 'Influencer Marketing'. Part of this strategy is to identify key individuals who carry some sway with their audience, and can help influence a certain demographic, via the engaging content they create. Those individuals will have spent a considerable amount of time building their core following, and are highly invested in creating the type of video content that resonates with their fans. A relatively new medium like micro-video, and free-to-upload platforms like Vine, have given these creators a powerful voice, and brands are learning that they can reach more potential consumers by working with these types of creators.

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challenges influencer marketing strategy may 2015But, according to a recent eMarketer report, finding the right Influencers to work with is the biggest challenge by far for marketers. 75% of respondents confirmed that identifying Influencers to collaborate with on an engagement strategy was more of a concern than measuring campaign success, or even finding the budget to fund this kind of marketing approach.

That being said, over 84% of marketing professionals expected to include at least one Influencer in their campaigns over the next 12 months. That's an incredible figure, and shows just how individuals succeeding in their own video genre hold enormous power for brands and marketing teams. And we've really only just started.

So, how do you find the kind of individuals, or small-time brands to work with? You could sit on Vine all day of course and monitor what's working, or you could use a tool like Tubular's Creator Profile to track creators who are making a splash on Vine. It isn't just the superstar Viners like Ian Padgham, Pinot, Lele Pons, or King Bach that can help push your content, even the smaller creators can form part of a really successful endorsement campaign if they know their audience well. Don't rule out creators who only have a following in the thousands, rather than the millions - you can still make a huge impact if that audience is engaged and ready to listen.

5 Ways to Use Vine for Branded Video Marketing

Vine is a video platform that places a strict 6-second limit on video uploads, which has been a surprisingly good way of forcing creators to be as innovative as possible within the time-frame they are given. This, coupled with the fact that visual content does extraordinarily well across social media, means that this short-form video platform can form an incredibly powerful piece of any video marketing strategy. So, how to best take advantage of it to engage with as many viewers as possible?

#1 Use Vine as a Teaser for Longer-form Content

Some brands are really excelling at using micro-video to give the viewer a taste of something longer by guiding them back to their own website, or another social media platform. This can be really effective if the time has been taken to build up a strong enough following, or the brand can get exposure for the content elsewhere. The trailer for the X-Men film, The Wolverine, was the first time Vine had been used as a promotional tool for that type of content, and it was quickly picked up across the Internet.

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#2 Create Tent-pole Content

Vine is MADE for tent-pole marketing content, and this is where many brands really succeed at the genre. Take this stop-motion clip from IKEA, who took to the platform to celebrate Independence Day, with a nice little hack using one of its own kitchen products. According to data from Tubular, in June 2015, the brand attracted 387K views on YouTube, and only slightly less on Vine - 382K views.

#3 Use Vines to React Quickly to Current Events

You can of course spend big money creating any kind of video content, even clips that only last for 6 seconds. But the beauty of Vine is that footage can be created quickly and easily, which makes it ideal for a quick reaction to current events and pop-culture buzz. With a little forethought, brands and creators can be ready to respond to an event, and share their Vines out over social media.

French sports media company L'Equipe were totally on the ball when it came to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They created a series of using LEGO figurines, which included this recreation of a pivotal moment in the USA/Portugal game:

#4 Use Vine to Run a Contest

Not all video platforms are the same, and great video marketing teams know that they need to segment their content depending on the site the are uploading to, and the type of engagement they get on it. Effective digital marketing means a thorough understanding of how users behave, and what they are most likely to respond positively to. Brands could use Vine as a launchpad for a contest, to build awareness for a new product or service, or in Disney's case, to create a buzz about its first venture in micro-video.

The brand launched a contest to collect as much user-generated content filmed in its parks as possible, with the winning entry securing a dream holiday at a Disney resort of their choosing, plus $10,000 to go towards creating a set of branded videos for the company.

#5 Use it for Good Old Fashioned Video Marketing

Use Vine to reach out to your target audience, and beyond, with some unique content around your products or services, as you would on YouTube or Facebook. There's literally no end to what kind of clips you can create, or how inventive you can be. It's an exciting medium, so take full advantage of the opportunity to create something magical.

Which brands or creators are really standing out for you on Vine? Does their short-form content engage you, and are you following them on other social video platforms too? Let us know in the comments below.