Jaime Smith is media manager at Edge.
Remember the Houseparty app? A video-centric social networking platform that invited groups to chat in private or ‘open’ rooms via desktop and mobile, Houseparty was big for a hot minute during the pandemic. But its popularity was rather short-lived. Why? Could it be our growing impatience with visual social video, our increasingly short attention span, or simply the effort it requires to make ourselves ‘camera ready’ just to communicate with our mates?
Enter audio. The medium that gives people the option to tune in or tune out, to multi-task or focus, to be active or passive.
While Australia has experienced slower adoption of audio formats such as podcasts compared to other markets like the US and UK, it is still growing in popularity – and the pandemic has been a major catalyst for growth, with people having more time up their sleeves and demanding frequent content to keep them entertained. The rise of audio has created invaluable opportunities for marketers and brands to engage with consumers for longer periods of time through topical, relevant and entertaining content. We’ve seen brands like Sephora collaborate with the Girl Boss Radio Network to create its own podcast called #LipStories and Vodafone create their own podcast 'Speechmark' all about all things technology.
So what do you get when you combine ‘open’ rooms and drop-ins with the convenience of audio? ‘Clubhouse’. The newest app on the block merges the best bits of Houseparty with the power of audio. It’s an invite-only app that has been dominating headlines over the last month, and allows ‘members’ to tune into topic-themed ‘rooms’ filled with celebrities discussing anything and everything trending in conversation.
Clubhouse’s rapid growth has seen a global community of highly engaged speakers and listeners come together. And whilst ads are not yet incorporated into the platform – and it has not yet been made public – its popularity and quality content is likely to offer some interesting opportunities for brands in the future. Here are three key opportunities for brands to think about:
It provides potential to build better audiences.
Members on Clubhouse have control to ‘search’ who they want to follow and opt into the conversations they are interested in. This allows marketers to understand their audiences in granular detail and target accordingly. We predict this could lead to great opportunities on paid search in the future as the app grows and adapts.
The app is centred on building virtual communities based on common interests and world views. These communities have the potential to educate brands on what type of content they are looking for to help understand their target audience. Whilst data on users is not being collected, brands could sponsor or create their own chat rooms with full transparency.
Clubhouse creates a network of loyal followers who tune into ‘rooms’ and conversations on a regular basis. A genuinely engaged audience is inarguably more valuable than throwaway impressions as they are likely to continue further word of mouth marketing in their own network, on and offline. So if brands can become an integral part of a conversation on Clubhouse, or better yet facilitate a community around the brand through their own room, they can better build brand loyalists.
It creates the illusion of exclusivity.
Whilst Clubhouse is technically invite-only and gives the illusion of exclusivity, the hype of people wanting to be included has actually fuelled its rapid growth and virality. This facilitates hyper-targeted audiences with very high reach.
Clubhouse conversations are not recorded or kept on the platform which creates FOMO, increases motivation to tune in and encourages more engaged listening. This addictive nature has seen users typically spending several hours listening in a day.
Clubhouse tends to attract experts across various industries, noticeably politicians and business leaders, meaning it presents opportunities for brands to collaborate with experts to bolster their credibility and create more meaningful content.
It builds deeper brands relationships through long-form content.
As we are starting to see, episodic content is a marketing game changer. We thought we were lucky to capture 60 seconds of an audience’s attention, how about 60 minutes? Endorsing influencers, celebrities and other conversation starters to talk about your brands or incorporate them into wider conversation topics that last for multiple hours is every marketeer’s dream.
Some conversations go for 20 hours on Clubhouse, with listeners tuning in and out and growing with momentum. Why not give some structure to these conversations? What if people wanted to come back to the topic? Your brand could endorse weekly conversation clubs circling back to the topics that give your brand the stage.
Although Clubhouse has not been made public and does not currently host ad content, we think it has the key ingredients to become one of the hottest social marketing platforms out. Watch this space.