26th March 2021
Clubhouse, the invite-only audio chat app, is introducing new features and growing in popularity with users as both Facebook and Twitter expand their Messenger Rooms and Twitter Spaces platforms as the audio social space grows in popularity.
Clubhouse is the latest social network craze. The exclusive, invite-only iOS app is a new type of social network that is based solely on voice content. It is a place where people can come together to talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time. Unlike Twitch and other live streaming platforms, once the conversation is over the room is closed and the content doesn’t live on the platform, though participants can record the content to share externally.
The app was launched in March 2020 but has recently become more popular with celebrity users like Elon Musk taking to the platform as it has great potential to extend the audience of influencers. As of 1st February, the app had 2 million users but is growing rapidly and is over indexing amongst the marketing community.
Last week, Clubhouse announced a number of new features: allowing users to share links to their profiles, language filters based on the language you use, invites via phone number and notably the creator-first ‘Accelerator’ programme. Paul Davison, Clubhouse Co-Founder, announced that it would support selected creators by sending them equipment, helping them to develop concepts and match them with brands for sponsorship opportunities. He said that selected creators would be guaranteed at least $5000 of monthly income, a strong incentive for creators to use the platform. There are currently no advertising opportunities on Clubhouse but with this move brands are being encouraged to see the influencer partnering opportunities. The barrier to entry for creators to audio meet ups is also arguably slightly lower as the ‘performance pressure’ of video streams is removed and as a result, the content can feel more casual and authentic.
At the same time, Twitter is expanding its ‘Spaces’ feature: ‘a new way to have live audio conversations on Twitter.’ And Facebook is developing its own audio-only content feature. It was reported last month that Facebook was working on an audio-only platform but this week screenshots were circulated online showing that it is likely to be part of its existing Messenger Rooms, which launched last year. It is not clear when Facebook will go live with this feature or how it will roll out but when it does, it could be a good opportunity for brand Pages to build a community in the audio space. Also given that 1.8 billion Facebook users already use the ‘Rooms’ function, Facebook will be hoping that it keeps people within its own ecosystem rather than turning to Clubhouse or other services.
The benefit of creators and brands using Twitter Spaces and Facebook’s Audio Rooms is that they are likely to already have an existing audience on these platforms. However, the Clubhouse platform is building a strong community of creators, so there is a race on.
The audio social space is heating up and Clubhouse will need to continue to rapidly develop its platform to keep its audience. As we have seen in social media over the past few years, first mover advantage is not always the winning strategy as new start-ups have to fight against the might of the established players who can quickly launch similar services to established audiences.