Hoping to lure brands onto its platform, the social app Vine on Wednesday added an import feature to its service that should make it easier for users to create videos.
Until now, users have had to create the six-second videos shared on Vine using the camera on their smartphones. That has required users to be creative about the clips they make, but it has also made it difficult for marketers to post the kind of high-quality videos they run on TV or post on YouTube.
The new import feature should fix that by making it possible for users to shoot using professional-grade cameras, edit with high-end software, save the videos onto their smartphones then upload them into the Twitter-owned mobile app.
Importing will benefit all Vine users, but more importantly, it will attract more brands onto the growing social network, said Jonathan Skogmo, chief of Jukin Media, a company that buys the rights to viral Vine videos.
"Brands are going to be using Vine a little bit more, just like they use other social media platforms," Skogmo said, explaining that importing video makes it easier for brands to use the service. Skogmo said this appears to be Twitter's first step toward monetizing Vine.
Vine says its videos are now watched by more than 100 million users across the Internet, but Vine does not yet generate any revenue for Twitter, which acquired the app before it launched in January 2013. Rival Instagram generates revenue by showing brands' advertisements to users.
Vine may be hoping to do the same, but first, it needs more companies to use its service. According to a May report by Social Media Examiner that surveyed more than 2,800 marketers, only 9% said they used Vine compared with 28% that use Instagram and 83% that use Twitter.
Vine trails "pretty far behind some other social platforms just because of the nature of how you create a Vine and how you distribute it," said Debra Aho Williamson, principal social media analyst for EMarketer Inc. "Creating a Vine was sort of a clunky procedure. You had to make the Vine in the Vine app, and you couldn't use video that you already created and repurpose it."
Williamson said the import feature will prompt more brands to try Vine, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Vine introduces ad products in the near future.
"Video in social media is becoming a lot more widely used by marketers," she said. "It makes sense that eventually we'll be able to see 'Promoted Vines' or something like that."
The new import tool, along with new editing features, are available in an update for Apple iOS users. Vine said the features will come to Android devices soon.