Will Brands Cozy up to Geneva, the No-Like Zone?

Will Brands Cozy up to Geneva, the No-Like Zone?

Social media

Group chat app Geneva is setting out to disrupt some established norms: unlike its peers, the group communication platform is jettisoning familiar benchmarks like follower counts and Likes. An unconventional approach, perhaps, but people are responding: the app’s user base has quadrupled since the beginning of 2022.

Unique as Geneva is, it’s making its way in an undeniably crowded field. What exactly are its chances in an arena where social apps can enjoy a moment in the sun, only to disappear seemingly overnight? Let’s take a closer look.

Geneva Has a Historic Name — and Aspirations

Geneva was launched in March 2020, named by founder Justin Hauser after the Geneva Conventions. If the historic treaties created after World War II were meant to define what humane treatment of people during wartime should look like, Hauser wants Geneva the app to redefine what it means to connect online. Hauser sees the treaties as having made the world a better place. If he has his way, his app will do much the same thing, fostering healthy conversation in a safe place. As noted on the Geneva website, “We believe technology products can bring out the best in us or the worst in us and we’ve poured our hearts and minds into ensuring Geneva is for the better.”

It’s no pipe dream. Geneva has walked the walk from the get-go, eschewing the sense of exclusivity fostered by services like Clubhouse and its invite-only model. Instead, Geneva leans into the idea of inclusivity. Come one come all seems to be the mandate — an attitude that embraces wide-ranging interests as well as personalities. That said, the app takes protecting its users seriously. Trolls need not apply.

The setup is pretty simple: users log in, at which point they can join one of the existing “homes” on the app, or create their own. The core architecture here draws its inspiration from Slack, and what drives the app is the idea of creating community around shared passions, which on Geneva run the gamut from thrifting to wellness. What’s missing from this equation? The social pressures that heat up when users become consumed with user numbers, Likes, or a highly curated online persona. “Rooms” within Geneva further define user experience:

  • Chat rooms: Similar to Slack channels, the chat rooms facilitate casual, spontaneous conversations, whether users are making plans or sharing favorite pet photos.
  • Post rooms: Announcements, internship bulletins, and recipes all find a home in the post rooms, which allow for structured, asynchronous sharing of content.
  • Audio rooms: Likened to a big group phone call, audio rooms allow users to pop in and out for casual conversation or scheduled meetings.
  • Video rooms: For the times when we want to see one another’s faces, video rooms are go-tos for everything from book club discussions to live study meets.
  • Broadcast rooms: A nice alternative for hosting planned virtual events or expert panels, broadcast rooms allow up to nine people to live stream to thousands. Audience members can “raise their hands” and access the stage, or communicate via a live chat feed.

Geneva combats the ubiquitous threat of misinformation via features like “Gates,” which use “House Keys” and questionnaires to control access to Geneva homes and manage who can or can’t exert control over message moderation or invites.

Influencers Dig Geneva

Influencers are spiking an interest in the platform, drawn by the promise of real connection. The Washington Post notes, “[N]ow content creators are setting up accounts on chat apps, like Geneva . . . where they can connect privately and directly with people they know are listening.”

The intimacy of a give-and-take chat is appealing, as content creator Kate Glavan notes: “It’s more about what the community wants instead of just [me and best friend Emma Roepke] posting,” she says.

In short, the old model — creators putting out a steady stream of content, sometimes into the void — has been upended. So is the natural hierarchy that can be created between creators on the one hand and users on the other.

In Geneva, home creators don’t direct the discussion; they simply provide a place for people to connect. It’s like that great friend in college who always knew how to bring people together and create a space where the fun could commence. Again, we’re talking friendly, troll-free fun: as Hauser puts it, “People are fed up and they’re seeking salvation in safer spaces.” If Hauser has his way, that safe space will be Geneva.

Why Geneva Matters to Brands

Brands are taking note, though the app is currently free and does not incorporate paid advertising tools. Suncare brand Supergoop and haircare line Ceremonia are examples of brands that have created Geneva homes and rooms to foster conversation, offer product training, and facilitate product development.

And for marketers interested in reaching Gen Z, Geneva may prove a profound tool. Gen Z is drawn to the ideas of community, mutual support, and cooperation, all mandates that Geneva embraces. And because Gen Zers like to do something — whether it’s engage in discussion or tap and click — the Geneva platform, predicated as it is on the idea of engagement, is an obvious go-to for the Gen Z demographic.

The platform also underlines a powerful lesson for brands: numbers (as in Likes and user stats) aren’t everything. In fact, Geneva seems to be out to prove that less can be more. The one-on-one connections fostered by the app can offer a profound exchange that almost certainly pays off for businesses in the long run, regardless of that business’s size. When a consumer has a question about a product, the importance of that question getting answered by a human being — not an algorithm, not a phone tree, in a friendly space — cannot be overstated. In Geneva, users are heard.

And being heard creates loyalty.

Contact True Interactive

Curious as to whether experimenting with an app like Geneva might make sense for your brand? Contact us. We can help.

Why Snapchat Launched Dynamic Travel Ads

Why Snapchat Launched Dynamic Travel Ads

Snapchat

Just in time for a crazy 2022 travel season, Snapchat has introduced Dynamic Travel Ads. This ad unit was developed for airlines, hotels, online travel agencies, and tours. It’s the first time Snapchat has introduced a category of Dynamic Ads outside of eCommerce. The ad unit comes at a time when the travel is roaring back from a slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a Snapchat blog post, 76 percent of Snapchat users in the United States are making plans to or already have returned to their pre-pandemic behaviors, and Snapchatters are more likely to travel than users of other platforms.

What Are Dynamic Travel Ads?

Dynamic Travel Ads are a form of Dynamic Ads that Snapchat launched in 2019. Dynamic Ads make it possible for businesses on Snapchat to automatically create ads in real-time based on their own product catalogs. Dynamic Travel Ads, per se, allow a business to upload a travel-specific catalog or feed, and dynamically serve up relevant trip information to users, based on an individual user’s travel preferences and intent.

Dynamic Travel Ads offer the following features:

  • Customized Catalog setup that’s built to meet the needs of travel advertisers with different product attributes than traditional eCommerce advertisers.
  • Advanced audience targeting based on a Snapchatter’s intent to travel to specific destinations.
  • Locally-relevant campaign delivery to serve relevant trip details based on popularity, leveraging Snapchat’s visitation data.

Snapchat says that this ad unit delivers benefits such as:

  • Reach a broader audience of travelers. The ad unit should help businesses find prospective customers who are interested in traveling, and who may or may not have been to a company’s site or app before. With Snapchat’s machine learning and product ranking capabilities, businesses can serve relevant ads to users based on travel interests, preferences, and popularity of listings and destinations.
  • Drive bookings. Businesses can dynamically retarget users who have been to their site or app before with hotel properties, destinations, or flight routes that are most interesting to them. With locally-relevant retargeting, a business understand where its customers are looking to travel and serve them properties within the area to increase ROI.

The Gen Z and Millennial Connection

According to Snapchat, Millennials and Gen Z – which comprise the majority of Snapchat users — are leading the push toward Dynamic Travel Ads. Snapchatters are 37 percent more likely to book travel after seeing an advertisement. This avid travel audience actively uses location-based features such as:

  • Location Data: Snapchat captures Snapchatter visits to more than 30 million unique places (locations of interest) in the world.
  • Snap Map: the Snap Map reaches more than 200 million Snapchatters every month. More than 70 percent of Snapchatters use the Map because they like to see where their best friends are and what they are doing. Nearly six out of 10 say that the Snap Map helps them find their best friends when they are out and about.
  • Places: Snapchat has added more than 49 million places to the Snap Map, which features stories, hours, reviews, and delivery options for local businesses.

Travel Ad

And it’s no wonder that Gen Z and Millennials are such an important audience. This generation is fueling the rise of the entire travel industry. Travel is roaring back following a difficult downturn, and even though the industry is battling a personnel shortage and inflationary pressure, travelers are going full steam ahead with domestic and international adventures.

Success Stories

Snapchat shared examples of businesses benefitting from this ad unit. For instance, Booking.com used Dynamic Travel Ads in order to dynamically pull images directly from its product catalog and serve users ads with locally relevant listings based on products they had already viewed. This helped Booking.com unlock an incremental audience, resulting in a 20 percent lower cost per purchase than other U.S. advertisers. Etihad Airways was able to reduce its cost per flight search by 4x with Dynamic Travel Ads. Additionally, the business saw a 307 percent increase in return on ad spend and a 76 percent decrease in cost per purchases, compared to its non-dynamic campaigns.

What Businesses Should Do

At a minimum, travel brands should become more familiar with Snapchat and its audience before trying ad units.  Start with the creation of a Snapchat Public Profile (similar to a Facebook page) to understand how to interact with Snapchat’s audience. And understand how the Snapchat audience interacts with content. According to Snapchat, its user base has these characteristics in common:

  • 150 percent more likely than non-Snapchatters to prefer to communicate with pictures over words.
  • Four times more likely than non-Snapchatters to gravitate to immersive video and mobile games, including augmented reality experiences.

If your brand already rocks Instagram with visual content, chances are you are well positioned to succeed on Snapchat. If you are on Snapchat already, it’s worthwhile to try this new ad unit as part of your paid media strategy. True Interactive can help you.

Contact True Interactive

Is Snapchat a good partner for your brand’s reach? Contact us. We can advise. Learn more about our expertise with social media platforms here.

How Brands Are Celebrating Women’s History Month

How Brands Are Celebrating Women’s History Month

Advertising Social media

In March, businesses are stepping up to celebrate Women’s History Month, not to mention International Women’s Day on March 8. Of course, it’s always a good idea to uplift women; savvy brands also understand that women happen to possess incredible purchasing power. As Inc. points out, women drive the majority of consumer purchasing, making buying decisions not only for themselves but for their families, in so doing driving a whopping 70 to 80 percent of all consumer purchasing. Here’s how some brands are responding to Women’s History Month:

Taking Action

According to Adweek, Pinterest is honoring the month by supporting 10 women-owned businesses on its platform. The initiative is part of the company’s Pinterest Elevates program; participants receive not only ad credits but also a personal coach to help boost their brand visibility and better connect with Pinners. As Pinterest global head of inclusion and diversity Nichole Barnes Marshall blogged, “At Pinterest, it’s important that the content on our platform accurately represents and reflects the world we live in. We’re excited to honor these women and the work that they do, bringing them greater awareness and attention this Women’s History Month and beyond.”

Hershey’s, meanwhile, is highlighting the SHE in Hershey: as the candy powerhouse sees it, those three important letters in the middle of the iconic Hershey name deserve to be celebrated, and one way to do so is with limited edition packaging. Perhaps the Hershey site puts it best: “there is no Hershey’s without SHE.” This year, the company’s award-winning #HerSHE campaign, which originated two years ago in Brazil, will brighten seven international markets, from Brazil to Canada, with the Hershey’s milk chocolate bar wrapper celebrating cultural female icons in each country, their accomplishments, and the impact they’ve made. The chocolate company has also brought in a special influencer to help get the word out: actress and comedian Mindy Kaling appears in a special Celebrate SHE ad. As Kaling notes, “Girls rule. Celebrate accordingly.”

London-based jewelry brand Missoma has found a partner with which it can honor the month—and do good. Fifty percent of sales of Missoma’s limited edition Shine On necklace will go to Girls Out Loud, a social enterprise dedicated to raising the aspirations of teen girls in the U.K. Marisa Hordern, CEO and creative director at Missoma, gets why this collaboration is so powerful, explaining, “As a female-led brand with a female founder and CEO, and just over 85 percent of our leadership roles held by women, we [at Missoma] are invested in the female leaders of tomorrow. We really believe an important part of increasing female leadership is mentorship, confidence, and giving girls and women the opportunity to have a voice.”

Here in the U.S., American shoe brand Keds has been honoring women since the company first came on the scene in 1916. Their Champion Sneaker has always been made for men and women; the design remains iconic more than a century later. This year, Keds pledges to donate $25 from every pair of Champions sold on the official Keds e-commerce site to global nonprofit Dress for Success, an enterprise that supports low-income women by providing professional clothing to aid in the job search and interview process.

Online grocery platform Instacart has announced that it’s allocating $1 million to support women-owned food and beverage brands that advertise on the company’s website and app. Instacart has partnered with three women-led brands: gluten- and dairy-free cookie brand Sweet Loren’s; Three Wishes Cereal; and Twrl Milk Tea to expand an initiative that began last year to support Black-owned CPGs. According to Ali Miller, the head of ads product at Instacart, highlighting women entrepreneurs is a no-brainer: about 80 percent of Instacart customers are women. Women also make up 70 percent of Instacart’s shoppers—the folks who collect, purchase, and deliver items ordered by customers. As Miller notes, “Our goal is to continue to identify and amplify more women entrepreneurs and brands with Instacart Ads to help them drive discovery and business growth.”

Lessons Learned

What can we learn from the example these brands have set? For starters, it’s important to understand that:

  • Tone matters. Women’s History Month is about celebration! Hershey’s exemplifies this upbeat tone in their partnership with Kaling, who brings a spirit of lightness and fun to the topic of gender equity. Also celebratory: the bright designs on the Hershey milk chocolate bar wrappers.
  • Visuals have power. Missoma has encapsulated its messaging in a beautifully designed piece of jewelry. Every time a customer wears their Shine On necklace, they might think about the themes of Women’s History Month, long after March is over.
  • Actions matter. It’s not enough to talk the talk—savvy brands also demonstrate a commitment to equity and lifting women up. Keds’ efforts to support low-income women with sales from their shoes illustrate this principle perfectly.
  • Overthinking things can muddy the waters. In short, stay focused on uplifting your audience (see point 1), because getting too clever with purpose-driven advertising may distract from your message. One need look no further than McDonald’s disastrous 2018 International Women’s Day campaign, in which the brand tried to playfully overturn their logo, from an M to a W, on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. The stunt backfired, with critics ridiculing the brand’s purported commitment to women’s success—or anyone’s, for that matter—and calling on McDonald’s to pay its employees a living wage. McDonald’s learned the hard way that in this case, a cute stunt didn’t cut it.

Contact True Interactive

How can your brand authentically, creatively, celebrate your customer base in the right spirit? Contact us. We can help.

Why Discord Matters to Advertisers

Why Discord Matters to Advertisers

Social media Uncategorized

Discord is a free voice, video, and text chat app that’s used by people aged 13 and up to chat and essentially hang out. Initially launched in 2015 as a home for gamers, the app has since expanded its reach and now attracts users from gaming and non-gaming communities alike. To say it’s popular is something of an understatement: the app enjoys more than 150 million monthly active users as of July 2021. But it accepts no advertising.

Why should advertisers care about Discord? Read on to learn more.

What Is Discord?

Users have embraced Discord as a way to connect with friends on a daily basis. Available for Mac, PC, iPhone, and Android devices, the app facilitates talk around any number of topics, from homework to mental health to travel.

Discord is mostly used by small and active communities who like to connect regularly, and for these groups the app follows an invite-only protocol. But larger, more open communities also flourish on Discord; these larger communities can be public, and tend to focus on specific topics like gaming, the app’s original mandate. Minecraft, for example, draws a large following.

As Discord puts it, shared interests drive the conversation.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, an entire vocabulary exists to help users navigate the app: “servers” are the spaces created by communities or friend groups (as Business Insider describes it, servers are a less-formal version of the Slack app). Any user can initiate a new, free server, and invite their friends; individual servers promote their own topics and rules. Discord servers are subsequently organized into text and voice “channels,” which are typically devoted to specific topics. Users can post (type) messages on text channels; they can also upload files and share images. Voice channels allow users to communicate real-time through a voice or video call.

There are literally thousands of Discord servers, so whether your jam is cute cats or a game like Fortnite, a Discord server that reflects your interests probably already exists.

Why Discord Matters to Businesses

But there’s no advertising. So, why should businesses care?

In a word: presence. Even though Discord is an ad-free platform, brands can and do maintain a presence there. Think of Discord as a social-listening tool. As reported in Marketing Dive, Discord is a source for learning about emerging culture and trends. By following Discord, brands can figure out fresh was to become culturally relevant with their marketing.

What does that look like, exactly? Essentially, brands can create their own branded communities on Discord, places where they can interact head-on with their most loyal customers. These communities are a zone where brands and consumers connect over common interests — and there might be a perk or surprise in there for the customer, to boot.

Virtual events are popular on the app: consider the Q&A fashion retailer AllSaints hosted in May, in which the menswear designer gave users a peek into how its styles have changed over the years. Chipotle took a different tack, hosting a virtual job fair on Discord that allowed the fast-casual restaurant chain to announce a hike in wages (to $15 an hour), and gave current employees an opportunity to talk about benefits and career paths.

Of course, for some brands, the app’s gaming roots are a rich vein to mine. Consider teen retailer Hot Topic, which initiated a Discord server specifically targeting fans of Japanese anime. Hot Topic relies on its own presence to support anime fandom, which overlaps with Hot Topic’s own audience.

What Brands Should Do

What does all this mean for your brand? We recommend that you:

  • Keep in mind Discord’s audience. Are they your audience? In other words, does Discord promote a niche that represents common ground for your brand and a community of Discord users?
  • Do your homework and learn from how other brands are succeeding on Discord. Discord users seem to respond to authentic conversations and events on the app. How can you capitalize on this? Keep in mind the Hot Topic example: the retailer tapped into a theme already established as part of the Hot Topic brand — then ran with it. They didn’t pretend to be something they’re not or try to shoehorn themselves into a conversation that didn’t make sense.
  • Listen and watch closely for ideas to inform your advertising beyond Discord. What can you learn from the ways Discord connects with its audience?

Contact True Interactive

Interested in exploring Discord—or another chat app? Contact us. We can help you stake your claim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Snapchat Is Attracting More Advertisers and Users

Why Snapchat Is Attracting More Advertisers and Users

Snapchat Social media

Snapchat’s turnaround in 2020 was no fluke. The company recently reported a monster quarter, reaching its highest year-over-year revenue and daily active user (DAU) growth rate in four years. It’s time for businesses to seriously consider Snapchat as part of their game plan for reaching Gen Z and Millennial audiences. Many are already, which is why Snapchat’s ad revenue keeps rising. Let’s take a closer look.

Snapchat Reports Stunning Quarterly Growth

Snapchat’s growth for the second quarter of 2021 was nothing less than stunning. Its revenues increased to $982 million, a 116 percent increase compared to the prior year. That growth was accompanied by an increase in DAUs, an important metric because more people using Snapchat means a growing audience for advertisers. DAUs were 293 million for Q2 2021, an increase of 55 million, or 23 percent year over year. DAUs increased sequentially and year over year on both iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) platforms.

Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat’s owner, Snap, said in a statement, “Our second quarter results reflect the broad-based strength of our business, as we grew both revenue and daily active users at the highest rates we have achieved in the past four years. We are pleased by the progress our team is making with the development of our augmented reality platform, and we are energized by the many opportunities to grow our community and business around the world.”

Why Is Snapchat Is Growing

Spiegel noted that Snapchat is succeeding for three reasons: a growth in augmented reality (AR) features, new content, and new advertising features. Examples of all three:

New AR Features
  • Connected Lenses, enabling Snapchatters in different locations to interact with each other through AR.
  • Several try-on capabilities with Lens Studio 4.0, including multi-person 3D body mesh, advanced cloth simulation, and a new visual effects editor for more realistic Lenses.

These are significant because AR has always been an important competitive differentiator for Snapchat, as we noted on our blog recently. Medium recently commented, “One of the reasons that Snapchat is able to carve out its own niche in the increasingly combative social media arena is its singular focus on AR-powered visual communication, which differentiates Snapchat from its competitors.”

Source: Snap investor presentation

Indeed, businesses have capitalized on Snapchat’s embrace of AR and are doing so as they gear up for the 2021 holiday shopping season. In a recent webinar, Snapchat shared example of Ugg boots, which is part of Deckers Brands. A spokesperson from Deckers Brands said that Deckers used AR in Snapchat for their holiday campaigns in 2020 to allow customers to use Ugg filters to “try on” their boots. This year, Deckers will probably do something similar with apparel, since Ugg is expanding its products into all kinds of apparel. (Deckers is no stranger to Snapchat. In this 2020 investor call, Snapchat describes how Ugg has successfully applied Snapchat’s dynamic ads feature.)

New Content
  • Eight new and renewed Snap Originals, including Swae Meets World, a documentary featuring American musician Swae Lee as he prepares to launch a solo album.
  • A record 177 new international Discover Channels, including 36 in the UK and 24 in India, one of which is a partnership with Sony Pictures Network to launch five Shows.

These developments arrived on top of Spotlight, which is Snapchat’s feature for monetizing individual creator content, launched in November 2020. New content features geared toward businesses and individual creators alike are important because they provide advertising sponsorship opportunities for brands and the growing creator economy.

Source: Snap investor presentation

New Advertising Features
  • Public Profiles for businesses, which allows any business to create a profile on Snapchat showcasing their Lenses, Highlights, Stories, and shoppable products.
  • An integration with Salesforce, allowing brands to leverage their first-party data to reach Snapchatters with relevant ads.
  • The Creator Marketplace (within self-serve Ads Manager), connecting advertisers with certified Lens Creators and facilitating the AR development process.

The Salesforce integration is especially noteworthy. With Google phasing out support for third-party cookies on the world’s most popular browser, Chrome, businesses are under more pressure to figure out how to maximize the value of their first-party data. Snapchat is sensing and responding to this need.

The news media reacted positively to Snapchat’s strong quarter. The “Yes, but can they do it again?” tone that characterized coverage of Snapchat’s positive results in 2020 subsided. For example, Meghan Bobrowsky of The Wall Street Journal portrayed Snapchat as a feisty and innovative company successfully fighting back at is copycat rivals.

She wrote, “The company, best known for disappearing photos and messages on its Snapchat app that is popular with teens and young adults, has impressed investors with its growth during the pandemic, outpacing much larger rivals. It has introduced new features to appeal to businesses beyond traditional social-media advertising, including a push into augmented reality.”

What Advertisers Should Do

We believe advertisers should take a closer look at Snapchat. Start with the creation of a Snapchat Public Profile (similar to a Facebook page) to understand how to interact with Snapchat’s audience. And understand how the Snapchat audience interacts with content. According to Snapchat, its user base, which skews toward Gen Z and younger Millennial generations, has these characteristics in common:

  • 150 percent more likely than non-Snapchatters to prefer to communicate with pictures over words.
  • Snapchatters are three times more likely than non-Snapchatters to say they are using AR more than they did last year to try on products.
  • The Snapchat Generation is 1.4 times more likely than non-Snapchatters to gravitate to immersive video and mobile games, including AR experiences.

If your brand already rocks Instagram with visual content, chances are you are well positioned to succeed on Snapchat!

Contact True Interactive

Is Snapchat a good partner for your brand’s reach? Contact us. We can advise. Learn more about our expertise with social media platforms here.

For More Insight

How Snapchat Keeps Innovating with Augmented Reality,” Bella Schneider.

Snapchat Spotlight: Advertiser Q&A,” Max Petrungaro.

Why Snapchat Keeps Growing,” Bella Schneider.

Why Twitter Spaces Matters to Brands

Why Twitter Spaces Matters to Brands

Social media

Social audio is here. In an era of social isolation brought on by the constraints of Covid-19 living, the sound of the human voice has become a profound balm. And the resultant success of live audio apps like Clubhouse has inspired other platforms to create their own alternatives to voice-based connection. Twitter’s take on the audio phenomenon? Spaces.

What Is Twitter Spaces?

Described by Twitter as “a small experiment focused on the intimacy of the human voice,” Spaces is similar to Clubhouse in that it allows users to create their own audio chat rooms and be part of rooms created by others. Conversation topics run the gamut, covering everything from popular culture to tech.

How does Spaces distinguish itself? It could be argued that some differences are purely semantics: users join “Spaces” rather than “Rooms,” for example. But Spaces has also emphasized the fact that anyone and everyone can join the app, a contrast to Clubhouse’s invite-only model. In a given Space, hosts make the choice of who to invite to a conversation. Each Space allows up to 11 people (including the host) to participate in the chat; the number of listeners allowed is unlimited.

At the moment, Spaces remains in beta mode, but Spaces is expected to open up for general use soon.

Why Twitter Spaces Matters

Twitter Spaces matters because it’s part of a larger trend: the rise of social audio. When a big player like Twitter leaps into the field with its own contribution, that’s a sign a movement has legs—that social audio is being viewed as more than a passing fad. In fact, social audio has been steadily gaining traction for a while now: according to a Nielsen report, audience use of streaming audio jumped from 50 percent to 64 percent between the first quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. Then Covid-19 happened, and social distancing. Voice-based connection became even more welcome.

Twitter Spaces is important for another reason: it could threaten Clubhouse as the reigning king of social audio. Consider Twitter’s slate of new resources, like direct payment service SuperFollows, that might be particularly attractive to business owners. SuperFollows makes it possible for Twitter users to charge to view special tweet content, and also serves as a way for users to sell books, how-to videos, and other media. As noted in CMSWire, “These features can be combined to entice people with a consolidated platform that favors Spaces over Clubhouse for their own business.”

How Might Brands Get Involved?

Because social audio platforms are a relatively new phenomenon, the opportunities for brand involvement are still evolving. But it’s already clear that apps like Twitter Spaces create a favorable place to:

  • Gain audience feedback on your brand. The digital format reaches a wider audience, even as the audio component facilitates a genuine back-and-forth exchange.
  • Host discussions on topics relevant to your industry. Using apps like Twitter Spaces, you might invite a group of people to conversations that position you as a thought leader. (It’s also worth noting that creating a Space is easier and more cost-effective than organizing an in-person gathering.)
  • Network with other experts in your industry. By participating in conversations germane to your industry, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with other experts, in so doing enjoying an opportunity to share information and generate leads.

What Brands Should Do

Like any new app, Twitter Spaces reminds brands of what they can do to maximize digital potential. We recommend that you:

  • Treat Twitter Spaces as a focus group to learn from.
  • Get your own people involved in the platform—creating their own conversations and also understanding what topics are trending in other Spaces. (While Spaces is in beta mode, people cannot create conversations unless they have access to Spaces, but they can listen to them. However, Spaces will open up for general use soon.)
  • Take this opportunity to get your Twitter house in order. Make sure you are engaging on Twitter and building your brand there. Your involvement in Spaces will likely draw attention to your own Twitter account. Make sure your Twitter is ready for increased attention.

In short, be ready for when brands can really play on Twitter Spaces!

Contact True Interactive

Interested in social audio but not sure where to start? Contact us. We can help.

Clubhouse: An Exclusive New App Powered by Audio Chat

Clubhouse: An Exclusive New App Powered by Audio Chat

Mobile Social media

Oprah Winfrey is a fan. So is Drake. But the new social media app Clubhouse, developed by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, is not just for celebrities. Why does Clubhouse matter to brands invested in digital? Read on to learn more.

What Is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse, an audio app that facilitates live conversation, is self-described as “a new type of social product based on voice [that] allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world.” Conversations are not recorded or saved; when a Clubhouse cyber “room” ends, the conversation is done and gone. Participants can opt to just listen in, or they can spontaneously host their own rooms. And the topics under discussion are eclectic, ranging from talks about music to chats about film, beauty, culture, tech, and more.

Clubhouse is distinguished by the fact that it is an audio-only app. There is no feature for private messaging, and there are no written comments. It’s a conversation that just happens to take place online.

What Is the Clubhouse Experience Like?

As Michael Stelzner describes in Social Media Examiner, when you enter a room you hear the conversation going on. Participants can “raise their hand” (using the raised hand emoji) to participate, and might subsequently be invited “on stage” to join the discussion. Those who contribute to the conversation may even become moderators, which allows them to call others up on stage.

Some users find Clubhouse to be like a podcast: something they can listen to while doing other things. Some liken it to a panel discussion. The rooms cover a wide range of topics, something like AOL chat rooms from back in the day. Depending on your interests, you will find rooms devoted to, say, investment strategies for Bitcoin or daily habits for high performers, film talk, writing sessions, mindfulness tips, and much more.

Like any interactive experience, certain protocols are observed and expected. The understanding is that participants will mute themselves until they are called upon, or until they have something germane to add to the dialog. Moderators control the conversation, and rooms can run for hours.

Who’s in the Club?

The app brings a wide range of individuals—and interests—to the table. Celebs like Kevin Hart, Oprah, and Drake are already on board, drawn by the relative privacy the app affords. The app is currently invite-only; each participant is granted limited invites to extend, though the more active a participant is on the platform, the more invites they are able to share. Stelzner recommends downloading the app and setting up your account, then . . . waiting patiently. As he notes, “Someone who knows you might be notified in-app automatically and grant you access.”

Why Clubhouse Matters

Stelzner has asked other Clubhouse members to highlight reasons the app keeps drawing them back (he notes that “[n]early everyone I interviewed was a creator, marketer, or business owner”). Among the responses:

  • It’s viral. When someone you follow goes onstage, the app sends you a notification. You can click on the notification and immediately join the room as a passive listener.
  • You don’t have to be ready for your glam shot. There’s no camera; it’s just your avatar and your voice. So you can join the conversation with that shaggy Covid hair, or even while you are running errands.
  • It helps build business connections. Think the conversations that start at business conferences; this is the same thing, but online.
  • It’s a place to test ideas. Got an idea for a podcast? Clubhouse is a forum to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.

What We Recommend

Clubhouse, currently in beta, is only available to iPhone users; the invite-only protocol also limits availability. That said, according to wfmynews2.com, “Clubhouse claims it will eventually open up for everyone, but is attempting to ensure it takes the proper steps in doing so. They also want to make sure they can incorporate features that will be able to handle large chat rooms.”

In the meantime, the app’s very existence is a reminder of the myriad ways brands can plug into culture, understand the trends, and stay connected, even as the pandemic continues to minimize in-person contact. Clubhouse demonstrates yet another way to engage—and the importance of staying current and thinking outside the box—not just during Covid, but beyond.

What can be learned here? We suggest that you:

  • Stay abreast of the opportunities apps offer to connect with a new, diverse audience.
  • Don’t forget the power of audio in digital.
  • Understand the power of crowdsourcing new ideas or feedback on your brand.
  • Get involved. Download the app and request membership individually. Then start exploring the app in your role as your company’s brand ambassador. Network with experts in other industries. Never underestimate the value of learning from diverse startups, CEOs, tech giants—whether on an app like Clubhouse, or in other venues.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here.