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