5 May 2021

Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and beyond: Social chatrooms are the hottest trend in audio right now

Expert comment
Over the past few years, audio branding has become the trend on everyone’s lips – with the meteoric rise of branded podcasts and videos greatly contributing to sound being propelled into the spotlight.

Unsurprisingly, with the increased focus on this medium, we’re seeing the growth of new apps, the emergence of new platforms, and a significant investment from the biggest social media hitters.

 

Conversations, communities, and Clubhouse

Since launching last December, Clubhouse has quickly become one of the most talked about apps of the moment – a place offering unfiltered conversations, shared ideas, and immense potential for brands. The platform consists of virtual ‘rooms’, where users can listen into and join conversations on virtually any topic – with virtually any person – and unlike other platforms that rely on pre-made content, the whole experience is completely live. While some critics say it might not last, it’s currently valued at $4 billion dollars – and is opening up new opportunities for brands.

We’re seeing some companies hosting fireside chats and Q&As to create interactive discussions between brand leaders, panel members, influencers, and the wider audience. HubSpot in particular recently launched a room to allow Clubhouse influencers to speak directly with the company’s CMO, Co-Founder and VP of Marketing on the topic of “The Future of Marketing and Clubhouse”. HubSpot has always positioned itself as a marketing thought-leader, and by experimenting with this new platform in a way that connects them with the community, they’ve proved just that yet again.

As well as hosting open discussions, some brands are getting even more creative with the audio potential of Clubhouse. As part of its campaign to promote the Bacon Obsession menu and the launch of its new Steakhouse Premium Bacon, IHOP hosted an eight hour event exclusive to Clubhouse that let users enjoy the unmistakeable sounds of sizzling bacon. Nearly 8,000 people joined the room during the event on April 13th, and on average, users listened to the cooking sounds for five minutes – far longer than the team behind the campaign predicted. The activation created an ultra-sensorial experience – so there was no better place to host it than on an app with audio at its core.

 

Twitter finds its voice

The success of Clubhouse has opened up the audio platform race among other social media brands. Facebook Rooms have opened up, LinkedIn is facilitating business conversations,  and Twitter may be leading from the front with the launch of Spaces. Twitter is now letting accounts with more than 600 followers use the in-app feature – allowing brands to engage audiences by listening and becoming part of vocal conversations. In a recent blog post, the social media platform summed up the reason for their move into the world of audio:

Spaces encourages and unlocks real, open conversations on Twitter with the authenticity and nuance, depth and power only the human voice can bring.

But for brands, the biggest attraction is that this feature will offer a way for users to monetize their Spaces through ticketing – something Clubhouse doesn’t currently provide. This would open up opportunities for small, exclusive events that would not only enable audiences to feel part of something special, but help brands earn money in the process.

Whether it’s a one-on-one chat or a discussion between thousands of people around the world, these platforms are providing a unique opportunity for transparency and authenticity – and audio is the thing making all this possible.

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