YouTube vs. Vine: Which One Drives More Engagement When Posted on Twitter?

In order to drive engagement, brands have increased the frequency of publishing and promoting video-based content — from repurposed television ads to original viral videos — to their followers on Twitter. Before Twitter launched its own mobile video service in early 2015, the two most popular vehicles to film, edit, and publish videos were Vine and YouTube.

As the world’s largest video-sharing website, YouTube caters to a very broad audience, and utilizes a simple structure with few restrictions on the format of videos that may be uploaded. Vine, meanwhile, uses only clips compiled into sticky, six second videos that loop continuously. So which is more effective in driving user engagement when posted on a brand’s Twitter page?

To answer these questions, we examined averages from a sample of five Vine clips and five YouTube videos posted on the Twitter accounts of nine major companies. Here’s what we found:

Aside from Keurig, every company surveyed performed better using Vine videos. For many of these posts, the comparison was not even close.

What is it about Vine that causes it to generate so much more engagement on Twitter? By nature, YouTube offers far more flexibility in its formatting than Vine. With few restrictions on length, YouTube is host to everything from one second videos to hour long movies. In this way companies may use it however they like, posting company announcements, popular advertisements, and special campaigns to engage their audiences. On Twitter, however, these longer form videos may not actually be effective.

Vine videos are structured in a way that is far more conducive to producing viral content. Operating within such a short timeframe, Vine users are forced to condense what might otherwise be a longer video into a brief snippet. Combined with its endless looping, Vine creates content that can be viewed easily and digested quickly. On Twitter, where the largest posts are limited to 140 characters, the key to engagement is brevity. Users have short attention spans and are far less interested in viewing long videos and far more likely to take the time to watch a video clip if they know it will be limited to six seconds, thus generating higher engagement through Vine than through YouTube.

This does not mean that one is definitively better than the other. Both serve important purposes, but it is necessary to recognize the distinctions between each platform’s strengths: YouTube can be used most effectively by taking advantage of its freedom in formatting, employing a wide variety of content pieces that create a holistic image of your business; Vine, meanwhile, is perfect for generating viral content that is short, sweet, and exceedingly shareable. When taking to Twitter, Vine may be more effective in driving engagement, but it is essential to use a combination of both Vine and YouTube to create a multifaceted content strategy that may begin to represent the many dimensions of your company.

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