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Foto Ana Sousa Morais

Ana Mendonça Morais
– Marketing & Communication Strategist –

Is it worth it or not?

We can assume that everyone has heard about Clubhouse, right?

This app, which is essentially an emerging social network, is based on chat rooms with the most varied topics. It had exponential growth for several months and now seems to be declining. Or is it just slowing down strategically?

Whatever the answer, Clubhouse can be a good growth opportunity for businesses. To this end, you just need to understand exactly what it is, how it works and what the threats and advantages it has. Then yes, you’ll know how to boost the growth of your own business.

Ana Mendonça Morais
– Marketing & Communication Strategist –

Is it worth it or not?

We can assume that everyone has heard about Clubhouse, right?

This app, which is essentially an emerging social network, is based on chat rooms with the most varied topics. It had exponential growth for several months and now seems to be declining. Or is it just slowing down strategically?

Whatever the answer, Clubhouse can be a good growth opportunity for businesses. To this end, you just need to understand exactly what it is, how it works and what the threats and advantages it has. Then yes, you’ll know how to boost the growth of your own business.

What is Clubhouse

Clubhouse is an app that uses audio exclusively as a form of communication.

There are no messages, no videos, nothing – just voice. Each user has a profile and the description of this profile is the only place where there is communication via text. In addition to the titles of the rooms themselves, of course.

Essentially, the clubhouse concept is the creation of virtual chat rooms. But, I emphasize, the only way to communicate is through audio. We can imagine that it is a mixture between a forum and a podcast (another trend we have already talked about here).

How Clubhouse works

The operation of the actual app is quite simple. One of the steps of the registration itself is to identify interests among various areas, such as marketing, photography, design, travel, parenting, sports, health, religion, psychology, cities, languages… well, there are dozens of interests to select from. Then, and based on this, the app itself suggests rooms for us to follow and people to follow.

Anyone can create a room, which can be opened or closed, and may or may not have fixed days and hours. And users can just walk into the rooms and listen to conversations, or even ask to participate and share their opinion, position or business vision.

The most interesting thing about the app is that there are millions of people using it and we can be in constant contact (even if indirectly) with people who, we would never reach in other circumstances. Incidentally, one of the app’s boosters in its early days was Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and Neuralink. Who wouldn’t want to hear Elon Musk in an informal conversation about technology, for example? So in Clubhouse there are no classes or elitism. Or are there?

Attractive exclusivity

While the creators of Clubhouse say they are working to make the app accessible to everyone, the truth is that there are limitations.

After a year of its foundation, during which it was only available in IOS, Clubhouse opens its doors for Android users. This version was only launched in the USA, although users from other countries can make the pre-registration and be notified regarding its release.

However, registration remains restricted to those who have an invitation from a contact at the Clubhouse. If this does not show exclusivity and a certain elitism, I do not know what does.

I think we’re all attracted to what’s rare or hard to achieve. After all, the neighbor’s grass is always greener than mine. And if we put Elon Musk at a distance of a free app, but make access to that same app difficult… the desire increases. Which means that, at the slightest opportunity, we’re all going to take advantage of that invitation to join the most exclusive popular club on the internet.

The absurd growth

Clubhouse app was founded in April 2020 by two American entrepreneurs, Paul Davison and Rohan Seth.

Also in 2020 it was valued at US$100 million. Already in 2021 it had a slightly more sympathetic assessment thanks to a large round of funding. At the end of January 2021, the Clubhouse was valued at $1billion! It therefore became a unicorn. And just to clarify: a unicorn is a startup valued at more than $1 billion (market price).

In terms of users, by May 2020 Clubhouse had about 1500 users. At the end of February 2021, CEO Paul Davison unveiled a new number: 10 million users.

Therefore, Clubhouse is a 1 year app that has already reached a giant market value and a user base equivalent to the population of Portugal.

The vertiginous decline of Clubhouse

According to Business Insider,in February 2021 there were about 9.6 million downloads of the Clubhouse app. In March that number dropped to 2.7 million. In April it didn’t reach a million. This represents a 66% drop in monthly app downloads. After an overwhelming growth, it seems that the decline has arrived. Has Icarus flown too close to the sun and have the wings begun to melt?

Analogies aside, of course, two months are not enough to predict the future. In fact, nothing can, we can just assume it. But to say with certainty that Clubhouse is in a vertiginous decline can be fallacious. It’s having a significant break, no doubt – but there’s no guarantee it can’t get back on its feet.

If Clubhouse makes the app available to the Android system or eliminates the need for a subscription invitation, you may see significant new growth in downloads and active users. On the other hand, it may lose some of the mysticism that makes it enticing and, after a new peak of downloads due to curiosity, it may suffer a new decline.

Clubhouse as a business tool: is it worth it or not?

I’ll say the magic word right now. yes, more of the same, I know. It’s just that nothing in Digital Marketing is an absolute truth. It’s all a matter of testing, experience and adaptation. What works for some businesses may not work for others. For example, Clubhouse can be an amazing tool for those who work in the area of personal branding and a waste of time for those who have a neighborhood grocery store. It is always necessary to evaluate on a case-by-case basis and measure the pros and cons.

But let’s go to the practical and succinct analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of Clubhouse as a business tool!

Advantages

  • It’s a developing app, and although it’s 1 year old, it is still at a relatively early stage. It may be good to position the business as one of the first to be present in the app.
  • It encourages sharing and participation. For a brand with a lot to share, whether in a social context or even business, it is a great tool.
  • It can be a good opportunity for positioning and professional growth, especially for those who work in areas where personal knowledge is highlighted. For example, for a digital marketing consultant, it may be right to participate in rooms on the topic to establish yourself as a professional in the field.
  • Keywords are knowledge, interactivity and networking. If these are part of your business model, Clubhouse may also have to be.

Disadvantages

  • It is only available to a certain number of users because you can only sign in by invitation.
  • It can be difficult to find the right rooms or it can be even more complicated to participate in conversations.
  • If the idea is to create a room of your own, having adherence and participants can be a challenge at first.
  • Because the app works only by “live” voice, you need to ensure that the right message is passed in the best possible way.
  • It takes time and availability to create a good positioning strategy and time spent in the app.
  • You can only create personal and non-business accounts. It implies that there is a person speaking for the brand, not the brand itself communicating.

My experience with Clubhouse

From my personal experience with the app and depending on the areas of interest and consequent rooms suggested, I often hear the same conversation as always. There are many people repeating their spectacular deeds without saying anything of interest – especially in the field of marketing.

It is also too easy to just waste time in the app. In my case, I found the first days phenomenal and the following ones simply boring and unnecessary. I got to the point of entering the app several times over several hours and realized that the same room was having the same conversation for the past 4 hours. What was being said in the first hour was the same thing that was said in the second, third and fourth.

Of course, this is all a matter of filtering and finding the right room at the right time. But that implies effort, dedication, and availability. So, if the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages for your business model, go ahead. There is nothing like trying.

In my case, the enthusiasm with Clubhouse was like the decline in the number of downloads from February to March and April. Until I stopped using it because I realized that, after all, it was not really worth it. In essence, the time I would have to invest in Clubhouse to use it as a potential growth tool, could be invested in something much more relevant to me.

But for you, it could be a rough diamond.

Consider the app as a hypothesis and not a must. See if it fits your business model and test it gradually. With time, it may fit well into your routine. Or it may be an app to delete in a few weeks.