The success of Clubhouse spurred other big names in the social space—Facebook, Reddit, Spotify, and Twitter—to create their own audio spaces, making a strong case that the social audio revolution is here.
After 18 months of relying on videoconferencing tools, audio-based social platforms such as Clubhouse and Spaces offer a welcome relief from the “Zoom fatigue” many people have experienced while working from home.
Clubhouse once was seen as the rising star of social media—and while that has changed, the shift toward listening to our content is here.
As a marketer, you’re constantly searching for the next big thing to engage new audiences. But before you go budgeting for an entirely new channel, is social audio worth it?
The entire Voices marketing team tested out Clubhouse with the idea of testing out audio content. Here are three ways we recommend preparing for audio-based social platforms to reach the mainstream.
Is Your Audience Already on the Social Audio App?
As our marketing team planned to research the platform, we found that we mirrored the real-world adoption of Clubhouse: some people had been on the platform for months (or even a year), but many others were completely new to the platform or were still on the waitlist before it opened to the public. It’s important to remember that these audio audiences will be a blend of “veterans” and newcomers.
Your approach has to appeal to and make space for both, and it will take time to build up an audience that doesn’t already exist on the app.
The good news is that every incremental user adds value and increases the likelihood that more people will join the platform.
Even one person joining as a spectator adds value to the people already using the platform. By consuming others’ content, they become a valuable part of the audience. Eventually, some of those participants will want to be performers.
Because of this momentum, audio spaces have incredible long-term potential.
Rent the Audience
Brands either have more time or more money. If you’re in the former camp, take your time to build an audience on audio-based social platforms. But if your brand has plenty of money, it’s probably better to “rent” someone else’s audience through advertisements.
In some cases, brands have sponsored hosts to read intermittent ads or worked with celebrities to host rooms on their behalf. Brands also have the potential to sponsor speakers and receive a portion of what they make through Clubhouse Payments, which is essentially a virtual tip jar.
Stripe CEO Patrick Collison remarked that it’s refreshing to see platforms focusing on creator income over advertising, and many commenters agreed. According to these responses, it’s likely that brands will need to take a more nuanced approach to social audio advertising.
Plan For Any Social Audio App Shortcomings
Research can help you highlight opportunities, but it’s also important to identify potential challenges:
- Metrics: Social audio doesn’t have many useful metrics for marketers to track. You can see who’s listening and speaking, but you can’t determine whether users are engaged with your messaging. That uncertainty may be solved in the future as the team behind Clubhouse explores subscriptions—a listening metric many podcasters track—but it will take time.
- Content Moderation: Clubhouse has struggled with content moderation. Critics say it’s being used to spread misinformation, conspiracy theories, bullying, and hate speech. When pursuing an emerging social audio platform, think carefully about how your brand will be portrayed.
Once you’ve learned what a social audio space offers, set a few parameters to analyze audience engagement, weigh the value of your efforts, and look for opportunities to generate additional returns.
No matter what approach you choose, it will benefit your company as the social audio revolution unfolds.