Will Social Audio Be the Next Marketing Battle Field?

Social audio, such as Clubhouse, will soon turn it into the next big social media battleground

Tomer Dean
July 19, 2021

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard of Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Facebook Hotline and Spotify Greenroom. These are the first apps of a new format called social audio. Social audio is content created and consumed in a mobile, audio-only, collaborative and live format. While it’s easy to shrug it off as a fading trend, growth rates and competitor adoption makes this highly unlikely to fail. Social audio’s broad use cases will turn it into the next big social media battleground.

Audio-only removes many barriers of consuming content

Admit it. Unless you’re in sales mode, speaking on the phone is more convenient than a Zoom call. Staring at a screen for 45 minutes, fixing my hair and playing around with lighting are things I’d rather save for important calls. Let me throw in an AirPod and fire away.

Skeptics will say video allows one to read expressions and engage on a deeper level. This is true, but overshadowed by the many disadvantages of video. For example, speaking on Zoom feels as both sides are taking turns firing their shots and not fluid conversations like IRL. Audio, with a much smaller digital footprint, is much faster to stream and results in more life-like conversations.

I’ve joined many Clubhouse sessions while in bed waking up. This helps explain why many users find themselves hours a day on Clubhouse. It’s just that convenient. This brings me to my second point...

Social audio is the ideal format for many different discussions

The breadth and depth of use-cases I’ve seen happen on social audio are broad

1. Interviews & Celebrity Sightings

An endless list of celebrities have taken to social audio to connect with their fans, usually in the format of an interview.

Names include: Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Drake, Kevin O'Leary, Malcolm Gladwell, Scooter Braun, Snoop Dogg, Ashton Kutcher, Wiz Khalifa

#2 Discuss World News & Events

Rooms dedicated to a certain news item where people discuss and analyze how it impacts the world.

Events include:
  • Crypto crashes
  • Big-Tech announcements
  • Military conflicts
  • Diplomatic relations

#3 Domain-specific Events

Like-minded people meet and discuss specific topics. Many of the “clubs” on the app are grouped by industry or interest groups:

Events include:
  • The Marketing Club
  • The Startup Club
  • VC & Angel Investor Club
  • Human Behaviour

#4 Political Announcements/Townhalls

Live streamed public announcements ideal for events which are meant to be shared or engaged with by the audience:

Events include:
  • President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele explaining a new Bitcoin bill
  • Clubhouse Townhall, where the founders of the app host weekly sessions to engage
  • Members of European Parliament such as Eva Kaili (S&D), Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D) speak regularly

#5 Late Night Talks

These include more Rated-R topics such shoot your shot rooms, relationship and sex-topics. In the image, fans wait for the chance to join Snoop on stage in his chillin’ rooms. Sometimes he even “follows” them back.

Social audio allows to target hard-to-define B2B user personas

Traditionally channels used to target B2B personas are limited. Let's assume you’re a B2B business targeting product managers in gaming companies. Instead of paying LinkedIn for users to view a 3-second banner ad which they will likely ignore, social audio allows brands to engage a user's attention in a discussion hosted by influencers the user follows.

Clubhouse Used by B2B Target Audence

The examples of targeting B2B groups are endless. From hotel owners, marketing executives in Fortune-500 companies, Shopify store owners, tech founders, there’s a place for everyone.

Although young, brands are already starting to advertise

Forward-thinking brands have already started engaging their audience in social audio. Notable names include Tesla, Adidas and BMW who all have sponsored exclusive events on Clubhouse. 

Moving past a few big brands, let's zoom-out and understand which types of brands are flocking to the new marketing channel. From internal data collected on Clubmarket.io, a marketplace connecting brands to Clubhouse creators, we can see the following.

  • Tech companies are leading the charge
    More than half of the brands active in marketing their solutions on Clubhouse are tech companies. This includes young startups all the way to Fortune 500 companies. This over-representation doesn’t come as a surprise, as tech companies are often among early adopters of new platforms and channels.

Breakdown of Companies Marketing on Clubhouse by Sector

We can further sub-segment which tech companies are driving the demand. Tech companies within marketing, product and SaaS make up approximately 50% of the demand.

Breakdown of Tech Companies Marketing on Clubhouse

  • Brands are mostly looking for brand awareness

    When asked why brands are interested in promoting their products on Clubhouse, 70% answered brand awareness. As the world moves from physical conferences to digital platforms, brands who want to stay top of mind need to find new channels to connect with their audience.
Company Goals of Marketing on Clubhouse

  • Community-building is a new trending goal

    Traditionally marketing goals have been split into brand awareness and lead generation. A new type of goal is emerging: community building. Many of the world's hottest companies, such as Sepohra, are built around tight communities. Clubhouse offers a convenient way to build a community with a set audience over time.

While it seems social audio emerged out of nowhere, a deeper analysis shows it was long overdue. Audio-only makes it easier for consumers to join and engage. It’s already being used for a variety of use-cases from interviews, conferences and live announcements. Social audio allows brands to target hard-to-define user segments and many early adopters are already getting started.

Social audio is the successful brainchild of podcasts & low attention spans. It’s quick growth has shown how much we humans love to talk and interact with each other. As the format matures, more use-cases for social audio are being revealed. It’s not long before social audio becomes the king of social media. The question is, how late will you join the party.

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