Consumers' attention spans are shorter than ever. YouTube marketing guidelines used to be 30 seconds—now we're lucky to sit through 10 seconds. The evolution of marketing has accelerated because of the Millennial Generation and the introduction of mobile and social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now Vine, the popular mobile phone app that plays 6-second videos.

Brands have capitalized on video marketing to this fully-connected generation through social media. But why is Vine different?

Vine appeals to the "snackable moments" aspect of today's digital lifestyle and gives consumers a 6-second snapshot of a brand. They might be amused, they might roll their eyes, or they might be intrigued and want to know more, but the Vine video is a tiny time-cost to the consumers that they give freely to brands.

Marketers have a unique, though brief, opportunity to catch the moment and connect with an individual, yet they must understand the best way to distill the brand experience or offer to a customer in 6 seconds. It's a challenging creative exercise for marketers but ultimately, it all comes back to how Vine fits with a brand.

But don't try Vine "just because." You don't want to be a cautionary tale on "Vines Gone Bad" for other marketers.

That being said, Vine can also be a tremendous marketing tool if the fit conditions are met. John Mowat at Adweek included some of these considerations for Vine. He argues Vine is a brand tool, not a hard sell, and I'd agree, but he also notes that successful Vines are geared towards the brand community.

Here are a few questions every marketer should ask in deciding whether to market through Vine.

1. How does Vine play into my cohesive digital strategy?

The consensus in advertising that mobile video is the future is still under question by some.

Moreover, mobile video can run in apps like Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube, or be bought through ad networks that serve the mobile Web. There are the 6-second snippets housed on platforms like Vine; 15-second and 30-second formats, mostly seen on YouTube; and animated GIFs. This fragmented landscape is creating uncertainty at an otherwise perfect timing for mobile video.

This fragmentation must be avoided if you want to gain the most success from mobile advertisements.

The worst thing you could do would be to spin up another disconnected silo, so Vine should be considered against the totality of hat you're doing digitally. Vines should be deployed strategically from the brand perspective and created to augment all other pieces of the marketing mix. Done well, Vine will help everything flourish.

So, make sure it complements what you're doing and make it more of a pay-off to an existing campaign versus something totally out of the blue.

2. Does Vine fit with my brand?

Mobile video is among the fastest growing segments in digital advertising, attracting $2.6 billion in the US this year, an increase of 70% since last year. But that figure still only represents about 10% of all mobile advertising.

There is a great window of opportunity to seize the moment with Vine. A recent study estimated that more than 105 million US smartphone users will watch video at least once a month on such devices in 2015—a golden opportunity to engage and connect with the consumer.

Vine isn't for everyone nor a natural fit for every brand, so thought must be given to what Vine users expect, how that pays out your brand, and how you can execute creatively against it. Use analytics on all your customer data to gauge how an individual recipient will react to the six-second brand push. Is it welcomed or annoying? Intrusive or exciting? This data is crucial to success.

3. Who is my target audience?

On the surface, Vine might feel like a Millennial's tool or toy, something that lends itself more toward leisure and fun for a younger generation (although Centennials are right on their tails), but not a serious business marketing tool.

Then again, people said the same thing about Twitter when it first came out. Now video is the flavor of the week; watching is easier than reading, especially when consumers are using their mobile devices.

* * *

Be smart when you decide whether to use Vine. Don't use it in isolation. When done right, Vine has all the potential to beautifully complement the rest of your brand's digital marketing mix.

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Three Questions to Help You Decide Whether to Start Using Vine

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image of Jenne Barbour

Jenne Barbour is director of Global Marketing Strategy and Evangelism at Teradata Marketing Applications.

LinkedIn: Jenne Barbour 

Twitter: @jennebarbour