Happy Monday! I hope you are ready for a productive week! Normally with Monday’s Marketing Minute I try to highlight 3-4 key stories, but I wanted to do a deeper dive into just one today:
If you’re a Clubhouse user, you’ve probably noticed that activity is down a good bit on the platform. You may also have noticed that some of the people you were following are no longer active there.
This one chart tells us why:
But following the big February spike, Clubhouse’s downloads have dropped significantly. Far too early to rule it out, but it could be that it doesn’t break out as a standalone app in the long term. If that’s so, then at least it’s been incredibly influential in its short time. pic.twitter.com/x0nwMECVT8
— Peter Gasston (@stopsatgreen) April 20, 2021
The hype train for Clubhouse has officially jumped the tracks. Does this mean Clubhouse is dead, that social audio’s time is over?
Absolutely not. What this means is that the people that were driving the hype for Clubhouse have mostly moved onto ‘greener’ fields.
This was far more common from 2008-2012 or so, but every time a new social media site suddenly comes out of no where to be on everyone’s radar, the hype for it is driven by the same group of people. Those would be marketers, coaches, and consultants. We saw the same thing with Clubhouse in January and February. It seemed every room was about selling a course or selling services, or ‘why your brand should be on Clubhouse’ type rooms. You know, rooms with 15 people, and 12 of them are consultants and coaches.
Let’s be honest, the last year or so has been brutal financially for most of us. As a consultant, its easily been my worst year and I’m still struggling. It’s like that for many of my peers, so when something like Clubhouse comes along, I can understand why a lot of coaches and consultants get excited and see it as a way to drive new revenue.
As I said, this always happens with ‘shiny new’ social media sites. The marketers/coaches/consultant rush on in a cyber land-grab, try to push their networks to the new site, and try to make some quick sales. It usually doesn’t work, and usually the fast hype for the site dies just as quickly. We saw it here with Clubhouse, before that we saw it with sites like Friendfeed and Identi.ca and Ello.
This is why I always advise companies to take a wait and see approach toward any new social media site that’s benefiting from massive hype. The first thing you do is decide WHO is hyping the site, and WHY? What you want to see is hype driven by CORE users that have been on the site for a while.
We did have some of that with Clubhouse and still do, but the majority of the hype was driven by the people that had just discovered the site, and wanted to make some quick sales. The only way those people stay and keep hyping the site is if they keep making money off it. Which doesn’t seem to be happening with Clubhouse.
Now, does that mean Clubhouse is dead? I think the most intelligent question to ask is in regards to social audio. In February I wrote about this topic, and back then, I had been active on Clubhouse for a few weeks, and I honestly loved it. My enthusiasm for the site has definitely waned since then.
Yet in my post, notice I didn’t ask if Clubhouse was the future, I talked about the future of social audio. Social audio has a lot of potential for learning, for discovery, for networking. I think adding a social audio layer of functionality to existing social media sites will be interesting to see. For instance, I think LinkedIn in particular could benefit from adding social audio functionality. And I also think a lot of those coaches and consultants could actually do well utilizing social audio moreso on LinkedIn than they did on Clubhouse.
Can Clubhouse survive now that the hype is dying? That remains to be seen. Normally I would say yes, but the potential problem is, Clubhouse just closed new funding last week based on a $4B valuation. If downloads continue to fall and the Android rollout doesn’t see a massive spike in users, that $4B valuation will seem insanely high. The investors will be pushing even more for a return on their funds, and that could put the future of Clubhouse in a tough place.
Having said that, social audio’s future is very bright. I think once the functionality gets integrated into existing platforms, and we start letting creators see what they can do, then the potential will be realized. It’s tough for anything social media-related to have instant success when you roll it out and immediately try to find ways to use it to make money. Social media always has and always will best function as a tool to create and share content and conversations. It’s tricky to monetize those, it’s best to use the tools to first create value, then the monetization opportunities will flow.