This article was originally written by Greg Paull, Co-founder & Principal at R3, for the ANA.

With excitement building around Clubhouse, marketers are starting to wonder if it’s a viable channel for long-term marketing strategies. In a recent survey, 86.2% believe that Clubhouse is a viable marketing channel. According to CEO Paul Davidson, the number of Clubhouse use has shot up from 1,500 in May 2020 to 2 million in January 2021 to 10 million users as of March 2021. The app has 2 million weekly active users and is currently the 5th most popular app in the “Social Media Network” category of the App Store, behind Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Discord.

The attraction for marketers

There are three reasons why marketers see potential in Clubhouse:

  1. It functions like a meritocracy. Clubhouse is designed for conversation-driven conversations. Its community interactions are designed around entertainment.
  2. Passive audio consumption is accelerating. The Clubhouse model is similar to other passive audio formats like podcasts and Twitch streams.
  3. The ability to extend conversation offline. The app provides the ability to create a conversation strategy both inside and outside the app, which means investment in Clubhouse can be leveraged onto other social and media platforms.

But as a new app, Clubhouse does not come without some concerns. Some believe it’s too exclusive and restrictive and it will have to prove itself against competition from Instagram Live Rooms, Twitter Spaces, a new Facebook audio chat product in the works, and the new Mark Cuban backed Fireside app which is in beta on iOS only. Audio platforms might be the future, but which app will attract the highest volume of users in the long run is yet to be determined.

Regardless of its novelty and competition looming on the horizon, Clubhouse has four main functions that set it apart from the competition. Aside from a head start, the app offers ephemerality, exclusivity, repackaging of audio, and social interaction.

How can brands get involved?

At this nascent stage, the key for brands will be to use this time to test and experiment with the audio model.

  • Audio-driven campaigns: Pernod Ricard’s Martell partnered with global marketing content creator, Karen Civil, to celebrate Black female entrepreneurs during Black History Month. Throughout February, Martell and Civil hosted weekly Clubhouse conversations with various guests.
  • Cultivate clubs: Brands that are looking to cultivate community on Clubhouse have an option to create their own rooms or clubs. The alternative is to partner with influencers or thought leaders on the app who have their own clubs with large followings to host a sponsored room. The possibility for involvement is endless. Think virtual summits, real-time master classes, and a source of entertainment through DJ sets and live music to stand-up comedy shows and story times.
  • Use it to get new kinds of insights: Third-party analytics apps like Direcon are able to give marketers detailed insights on their current and past Clubhouse rooms and audience. With the platform’s strong focus on audio, data gained from Clubhouse engagements can be valuable when creating a single-view of the consumer.
  • Explore working with audio agencies: Audio agencies are on the rise as audio creators become a new kind of influencer. With some hosts attracting millions of weekly listeners and Clubhouse booming in conjunction with other social apps, the demand for audio-focused branding is on the rise. The Audio Collective is one agency that is a hybrid live-audio creator community, production house, and ambassador group that help individuals and organizations expand their impact on and off Clubhouse. They offer planning, brand consulting, and support for creators.