The Clubhouse social media app recently launched on Google’s Android OS, more than a year since it became available on iPhone. We’ve also seen the startup generate hundreds of millions in funding in the past year as investors scramble for a piece of the pie of this latest social media darling.
But is the platform worth it for businesses to invest time and energy into? It does boast almost a million subscribers, and some business leaders are convinced it’s the next big thing. However, considering that the original hype has passed and fewer users are joining the app daily, should your business and team still get on board?
A RECAP OF CLUBHOUSE
Originally founded in April 2020, Clubhouse was launched as an iPhone-only audio chat application. The platform allows individuals to host and join different audio-only conversations. It’s now also available to Android users. Users, however, must be invited to join by a current user. Each user gets two free invites and can earn more through using the app.
When you open the app, you’ll find a list of “rooms” you can join. Alternatively, you can create a room and invite others to join. All rooms are created and managed by the a leader. Also, all sessions are invite-only. You can only speak in rooms to which you’ve been invited to the “platform” to speak.
Just be aware that all sessions are exclusively audio, there are no videos or pictures, and even text is limited. As well, there is no recording. It is truly live audio and then gone.
Clubhouse originally gained plenty of traction when celebrities, including Drake, Oprah, and even Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk joined. Kanye West and Mark Zuckerberg are two other celebrities who were using the platform. According to some sources, Clubhouse had more than 13.4 million users and was worth a staggering $4 billion earlier in 2021.
However, that is no longer true. Recent stats show that Clubhouse may already have peaked and is currently on a downward trend. The evidence is in the dwindling active userbase. According to a recent BBC article, Clubhouse currently only has about 900,000 users, down from around 2.7 million in March, 9.6 million in February, and more than 13 million at its peak in January.
However, with the recent launch on Android OS, these numbers could start trending upward once more. Some experts agree, including Enders Analysis technology head Joseph Evans. He says that we shouldn’t judge its success based on how many people are using it. It should instead be based on the quality of content. Indeed, other people, such as Medium contributor Dereck David, say Clubhouse is already dead, adding that “it just doesn’t know yet.”
“Clubhouse hasn’t needed to make money yet,” argues another tech expert. “It still exists solely on venture capital cash.” This could pose a problem later down the line when it needs to bring in cash flow and has no real means to monetize as needed.
Dereck and many other observers believe businesses, especially the smaller brands, should consider these things before joining;
DWINDLING USER BASE
As more people, including investors, realize that Clubhouse is built on potentially shifting sand, they may leave. The platform needs to create a long-term plan for where the platform is headed to keep users. The dwindling numbers are a tell-tale sign, users are getting bored. The app has already lost more than 90% of its original user base, partially due to the invite-only signup process. Many users are frustrated that their friends can’t easily join.
With the way it’s currently designed, Clubhouse benefits big brands with huge followings. Smaller businesses with only a few thousand fans may never get traction on the platform. And, even if they do make it onto the platform, it will take significant time to get invites to their fans and to build an active community.
YOU CAN DO TWITTER, FACEBOOK
Twitter already has copied and created an audio-streaming platform known as Spaces that offers the same benefits as Clubhouse without the limiting restrictions. Facebook is also currently testing a web-based app known as Hotline that offers the same features. Because of this, Clubhouse may fall behind as new users find it too hard to access or move their followers from one platform to another. Or, perhaps Clubhouse will become the “VIP” room of audio spaces? It all depends on traction.
Mike Gingerich is president of Digital Hill Multimedia (www.DigitalHill.com), a Goshen web design, web software and social media marketing firm. He is also a business blogger on tech, marketing, and growth. Find out more at www.MikeGingerich.com/blog/.