It may be in beta, but Clubhouse is increasingly becoming the social media platform of the moment. Celebrities and the tech elite alike are among its users, and the excitement is palpable. But how can a brand leverage that enthusiasm while yielding measurable or quantifiable results?
The answer isn’t particularly straightforward: the audio chat app does not offer any measurement tools, so the social metrics used to quantify success on other platforms are elusive. Yet that does not mean using Clubhouse or gauging success is impossible.
One benefit for clients using Clubhouse is simply being an early adopter. Particularly for tech companies, there is an opportunity to establish a profile on the app and take early steps to gain a following. Brands and individuals can look at it as a thought leadership opportunity.
Josh Rosenberg, cofounder and CEO of Day One Agency, notes that “we always advise clients to go where their audience is.” Joining or facilitating conversations on Clubhouse can help brands “engage their audience and connect with the community in new and fresh ways.”
And even though traditional measurement tools aren’t available, there are proxies that the experts recommend.
Donetta Allen, partner and social and digital media practice leader at Hunter, notes that brands are excited “despite the limited reach, non-existent amplification, disappearing content and lack of measurement tools.”
“To gauge success, you can measure baseline metrics such as how many people joined the room, how many were on stage during the sessions and the length of the conversation,” she adds. “However, the true opportunity for brands is more to build brand warmth, align the brand with an innovative platform and to identify like-minded partners or customers.”
The proximity to your target audience is also invaluable, note other experts.
“As a brand, you can choose the audience you want to engage,” notes Tom Pompei, SVP of digital at MSL U.S.. “While you can’t advertise on the platform or pull down conversations to create off-platform content, you can glean valuable brand insights and pressure-test your communications and marketing strategy—the approach, messaging, etc.—by speaking directly to your consumers or employees.”
Many journalists are on the app, and that creates opportunities, too. Rosenberg suggests looking at who drops in to listen to conversation like reporters, influencers or other thought leaders. If the conversation migrates to other platforms, like Twitter or other media, that could also be an indicator of success.
“The impact of those conversations can lead to social conversation and media stories, which are measurable,” agrees Pompei.
This is one thing PR pros look for in activations they’ve done on Clubhouse. Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO of Crenshaw Communications, explains that one of her agency’s clients recently hosted a conversation on the app. To measure success, the shop looked at how many listeners dropped in, whether any media was present and also considered the duration and quality of the conversation.
Ogilvy PR Hong Kong has also hosted conversations for clients on the audio-only app.
“We measured success based on the participation level and quality of conversations at the Clubhouse event and the compound social impact through a cohesive channel mix to promote the Clubhouse events and buzz surrounding it,” explains content lead Ray Lam and MD Clara Shek.
“With 764 people in the chatroom concurrently at its peak, [it was] one of the highest among branded Clubhouse live events in town,” the firm says. “We also saw a variety of case studies on our initiative and free reporting about the event online.”
The app is in beta, so proxy measurements are sufficient for many marketers, but it may only be a matter of time before more familiar measurement tools will be available.
“As the platform looks to paid opportunities in the future, access to metrics and ability to scale participation will be critical to additional brand adoption,” says Allen.
Matt Hantz, SVP of digital at M Booth, adds that “it seems likely Clubhouse will work closer and closer with brands on measurement as part of their plan to monetize.”
“The types of measurement are not hard to imagine because they will be similar to metrics used on other social platforms, such as the number of listeners and the average listen time, data about who is listening and how influential they might be or engagement metrics that show listeners are leaning into the discussion versus passively having it on in the background,” Hantz continues. “I think brands aren’t worried too much about measurement because the barrier to entry is so low.”
Even through PR firms and their clients have been burnishing their measurement tech stacks and expertise for years, the lack of metrics on Clubhouse should not be a deal breaker for brands looking to break through on the app.
“While measurement is definitely being discussed, I wouldn’t say it’s a huge deterrent,” Hantz adds. “The reason more brands aren’t on there probably has to do with inertia and a lack of willingness to experiment more than anything else. I think the general appetite for risk has gone down since COVID.”
Crenshaw agrees, noting that the lack of metrics doesn’t bother her and her clients yet.
“Right now, we’re at the listening stage. It’s kind of like the out-of-town tryout before you get to Broadway; it’s okay if not too many are listening, since we need to work out the bugs,” she explains.
In the meantime, even if Clubhouse is still edgily off Broadway, so to speak, it’s still a way for senior executives to share their expertise. For Crenshaw’s tech clients, it provides a platform for them to share knowledge on subjects like securing funding, leadership, work culture, the future of the workplace and other relevant topics, Crenshaw says.
“We’re bullish on Clubhouse for several clients who are subject-matter experts on relevant topics and are well suited to host rooms and later start their own clubs,” she adds.