Clubhouse Ignites the Audio Social Train
By: Tiffany Brandon, Social Media Manager
All aboard the audio social train! Audio has never been hotter, and it has become a staple of our everyday lives, as both the number of devices we listen on and the content itself has increased. Over the past year, COVID-19 has made people hungry for content and many are increasingly devouring audio.
According to a recent 2020 report from eMarketer:
– The time US adults spent with digital audio recorded an 8.3% growth for a total of 1 hour, 29 minutes per day.
– Digital audio accounted for 11% of total media time per day for US adults in 2020 and will account for 11.7% in 2021 or 1 hour and 34 minutes per day.
– In 2022, the average time spent listening should rise to 1 hour and 37 minutes per day.
– On average, weekly podcast audiences listen to eight podcasts or 5.1 podcast shows.
Much of today’s audio hype has been fueled by the recent rise of Clubhouse – a novel social networking app based on audio-only conversation. It recently clocked 10 million weekly active users and has been valued at a whopping $4 billion, despite being ‘invitation only’ and launched as an iPhone-only app last year.
What exactly is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse allows creators to hold live audio-only discussions and engage with their listeners. Users can browse the hallway (in other words, their “news feed”) and join different ‘rooms’ on the app. You can pop into any room of your choice and tune-in to the conversation.
Some rooms that I joined this week included “Death of Vine, Rise of TikTok: Is short video here to stay?”, “Clubhouse Masterclass Monetization”, and “Real Estate Agent & Broker Lounge, Networking, and Marketing.” You can filter and explore a variety of rooms based on your interests including sports, traveling, wellness, tech, real estate, marketing, parenting, entertainment, and more.
If you would like to speak during the discussion, you can tap the ‘raise your hand’ button to be added to the room’s Raise Hand queue. If a host or moderator approves your request, you’ll immediately join the stage.
Many users have flocked to the clubhouse app for the chance to engage with high-profile individuals. Well-known users include Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg along with non-techies including Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, and the rapper Drake.
Other Platforms Jumping on the Audio Bandwagon
Clubhouse’s explosive rise has left other social media competitors racing to launch their own audio products. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Reddit, Discord, Telegram and Slack have all recently followed in Clubhouse’s footsteps by debuting plans for their own live audio services.
While many platforms are launching their own versions of Clubhouse, Facebook’s dominant status in social media, with billions of already existing users, means it is well-positioned and likely to reign supreme. Facebook announced that they will soon launch a full spectrum of audio experience tools including:
– Speech-to-text and voice morphing
– Adding audio to the background of stories
– The ability to mix audio tracks, voice effects and filters
– Create short-form audio soundbites
– Upload and listen to podcasts directly on the Facebook app
– Create Live Audio Rooms in Facebook and Messenger
– Add captions to audio experiences to make them accessible to all
– Monetization opportunities for creators
Is Clubhouse Worth the Hype?
The short answer: it depends. Clubhouse offers some major awareness and community-building benefits to brands. But, because of how new it is, it also poses some challenges and cons to companies that want to reach the largest audiences possible. Ultimately, while some companies might thrive on it, others might realize that it isn’t the best platform for their goals just yet.
As with any new social media platform, you’ll want to spend some time on Clubhouse and see what the app has to offer before putting time and effort into using it. Here is a rundown of some of the main pros/cons to help you decide whether it’s worth your time:
– Clubhouse gives users the opportunity to build an engaged community of people who are passionate about similar topics.
– The app is great for business networking and the potential to chat with other influential leaders, entrepreneurs, or high-profile celebrities.
– Rooms can give you the stage to pitch a business idea, gather feedback, conduct a Q&A, or learn more about a particular topic.
– Live streaming audio on Clubhouse is easy and free. All you need is a microphone and something to say!
– You can connect your Twitter and Instagram profiles in your bio to give readers a quick way to connect with you on other platforms.
– If you have anxiety about being on camera, you’ll love that Clubhouse is an only-audio app.
– Clubhouse offers an ad-free experience. For users, this can be a favorable feature but could change as the app grows.
– Since rooms are live and unscripted, you won’t necessarily get the same high-quality production as you would listening to an edited podcast.
– Clubhouse doesn’t offer vanity metrics (likes, comments, views), so it can be hard to gauge its effectiveness.
– The app still has very limited audiences. While in beta phase over the past year, Clubhouse has been invite-only and only accessible to iOS users. Clubhouse finally launched the Android app this week in the Play Store. It will be interesting to see if this helps boost the app’s reach.
– Any user can create a room and talk about whatever they want, without having any verified expertise in the subject matter. This could create lack of trust and the spread of misinformation.
– If you do want to connect with someone outside of a Clubhouse room, you cannot DM them on the app. You must DM them either through email or through another social media app.
– Rooms are live and cannot be recorded or saved to listen to later. With people constantly on the go, this can pose a challenge for users wanting to listen to a discussion when it’s more convenient for them.
– It can be challenging to control the room. Users have been vocal about reporting certain rooms as breeding grounds for harassment and unchecked thoughts and opinions. For brands, this lack of moderation control can be a major turn-off.
– It can be time-consuming to cut through the noise and find valuable rooms or people who you enjoy listening to. Since the app is exclusive right now, your favorite blogger or influencer that you follow on Instagram may not be on Clubhouse yet.
The audio revolution is in full swing and not turning down the volume anytime soon! It’s important for marketers to take note and begin learning how to use audio to their advantage.
Whether Clubhouse will be able to maintain its popularity past the beta phase, though, is something which remains to be seen – and something we’ll be keeping our eyes on.
If you would like to learn more about how your business can expand its influence through social audio or podcasting, contact our team today to get started!
* Sources: eMarketer, Hubspot