RED PAPER

CLUBHOUSE: BUZZ OR BIZZ?

PLATFORM ALERT

Clubhouse, the latest entrant of popular social apps, is expanding at great pace. This audio-only network cultivated itself as a muchneeded distraction from global Zoom and video fatigue. So, let’s forget about scripted text and visual content for a moment – this house is built on voice-led, live and impromptu topics.

THE BASICS

The app has already been around for a year and quickly became a favourite among the tech elite. The pandemic fast-tracked broader usage, and recently A-listers such as Drake and D-Nice fueled the hype, pivoting Clubhouse into a more mainstream space.

Although the Clubhouse DNA is still being shaped, its low friction way of pulling people into a live conversation constructed from realtime input, is innately social at its core.

It also managed to turn its voice-only design from a potential constraint into its key strength. For users, audio rooms can function as passive background chatter (like in a coffee bar) or like active watercooler moments in the office.

5 FACTS

10M weekly active
users

Rooms capped at 5000
participants

Followers can see your
Clubhouse trail

Currently valued
at $1B

Similar apps: Discord,
Spaces, Chalk

HOW IT WORKS

The UX is lean and intuitive. But, as the user base grew, some glitches have kicked in. Especially its privacy settings and topic suggestions could use some rework. For now, you can only get in with an invite and through an iOS device. Although rumours indicate the app will soon be open to anyone.

Once logged in, you’re in a hallway where you can create private or public rooms. You can also participate in ongoing live chats based on your interests. Usually, after some active engagement the algorithm shapes up to a more tailored and curated Explore experience.

Search and agenda features come in handy to schedule upcoming talks.

In terms of posterity, chats can’t be revisited. Clubhouse is all about the live aspect. When Elon Musk walked in unexpectedly and talked about Mars, monkeys and bitcoins, you had to be logged in or read about it on Twitter the next day. Recordings are prohibited, and the platform is engineered as mute-by-default and with moderation to avoid chaos.

The UX is lean and intuitive. But, as the user base grew, some glitches have kicked in. Especially its privacy settings and topic suggestions could use some rework. For now, you can only get in with an invite and through an iOS device. Although rumours indicate the app will soon be open to anyone.

Once logged in, you’re in a hallway where you can create private or public rooms. You can also participate in ongoing live chats based on your interests. Usually, after some active engagement the algorithm shapes up to a more tailored and curated Explore experience.
Search and agenda features come in handy to schedule upcoming talks.

In terms of posterity, chats can’t be revisited. Clubhouse is all about the live aspect. When Elon Musk walked in unexpectedly and talked about Mars, monkeys and bitcoins, you had to be logged in or read about it on Twitter the next day. Recordings are prohibited, and the platform is engineered as mute-by-default and with moderation to avoid chaos.

Brandwatch, 2021

WHAT’S BEING SAID

Topic-wise Clubhouse is still harvesting from its early adopters. Tech, VC, business and networking are all popular subjects, similar to LinkedIn. But since more people are getting invited to the app, a broader array of lifestyle and societal conversations are blending into the feeds.

RELEVANCY FOR BRANDS

Clubhouse is still at starter-stage and somewhere behind the scenes the network is still figuring out its revenue model. For now, monetization opportunities are mainly intersected between organic reach, creator economy and PR value.

Keep in mind, the platform is designed for audio only: no text, no videos, no URL’s.
Yet the potential to connect with customers is significant. Voice-led social has a distinctive advantage compared to more traditional formats: it’s real human feel, which is highly valued by users.

Some brands have already been paying attention to how creators and key opinion leaders can bring thousands of people to a room, all without excessive organizational effort (and thus reducing overheads). And while it’s still early days, here are a few quick wins for brands to consider using Clubhouse:

  • Leverage the platform for fireside chats and storytelling, using brand collaborators
  • Integrate a cross-media channel mix to build hype, ideal for release countdowns, partnerships or contests
  • Use it as a vehicle for real-time, engagement driving thought leadership, reducing production requirements such as recording podcasts or developing newsletters
  • Facilitate panel discussions and conduct expert Q&A’s
  • Use the platform to cluster top fans and monitor sentiment
  • Reward brand loyalists with a custom code and direct them to your website, ideal for limited time off

LONG TERM MOMENTUM

For Clubhouse the next months will be crucial and some key questions will come to surface. Is the app going to in the breakthrough of voice-led platforms? How will a likely return to a post-pandemic life influence the app’s longevity? And finally, is Clubhouse’s main USP – desire through exclusivity – still realistic, once the network is accessible for more people?

Having an answer to these questions won’t come from forcing a monetization solution, Clubhouse needs to further carve out its niche and acquired scale to perfect the algorithm and increase user relevancy. The path to become a social media mainstay is there, but so is the chance to become gradually obsolete.

We will closely follow relevant Clubhouse innovations and ad solutions, and alert you as soon as they become available.

For Clubhouse the next months will be crucial and some key questions will come to surface. Is the app going to in the breakthrough of voice-led platforms? How will a likely return to a post-pandemic life influence the app’s longevity? And finally, is Clubhouse’s main USP – desire through exclusivity – still realistic, once the network is accessible for more people?

Having an answer to these questions won’t come from forcing a monetization solution, Clubhouse needs to further carve out its niche and acquired scale to perfect the algorithm and increase user relevancy. The path to become a social media mainstay is there, but so is the chance to become gradually obsolete.

We will closely follow relevant Clubhouse innovations and ad solutions, and alert you as soon as they become available.

App Annie, 2021

Dimitri Cologne, Paid Social Director

For a full presentation workshop, contact us via christophe.crasselts@ogilvy.com.

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