The nature in which we communicate has drastically changed, but not necessarily for the better. With the convenience and capabilities of video conferencing, we have found an amazing solution to our lack of face-to-face contact over the past year, and alongside it has come a rise in popularity of video on social media; in May 2021, TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide with over 80 million downloads. However, many are experiencing screen fatigue now that life has turned digital.
In comes audio, as a long-distance alternative to video without the constant eye strain or the insecurity of seeing yourself on-screen. The prominence of audio content is clear in the data surrounding podcast and audiobook popularity; according to Statista, the estimated number of podcast listeners in the UK has almost doubled from 2017 to 2021, and forecasts predict that this number will only grow in the next few years.
Now, the use of audio on social media is on the rise with the introduction of exclusive, invitation-only app Clubhouse and big-name social platforms fighting to create their own versions. Here is a round-up of the current audio functions that social media has to offer as they jump on what is forecasted to be a revolutionary trend in digital communication.
The one that started it all: Clubhouse is an audio-only social media platform that allows participants to chat in real-time with a muted audience listening in. Clubhouse is invitation only, with its origins as an exclusive space for celebrities, company leaders, Silicon Valley investors and top global influencers could meet and share conversations.
Latest news on 13 July saw TED partnering with Clubhouse to offer exclusive content from thought leaders and expert speakers on the platform.
To find out more about the platform, read our Clubhouse: What You Need To Know insight here.
Facebook Messenger Rooms
Messenger Rooms have been around for a while using video chat, but live audio rooms were announced on 21 June as the social media giant’s answer to the Clubhouse trend. Listeners can show support for speakers using Stars – a virtual currency that translates to $0.01 per Star – and a ‘Front Row’ in the listener display shows the highest-paying supporters to grab the attention of the speakers.
Similar to its Clubhouse and Facebook counterparts, Twitter Spaces offers a live audio function, but with the added accessibility benefit of live captioning. Twitter has also announced the monetised Ticketed Spaces feature, allowing users with over 1,000 followers to charge admission into their audio conversation.
It is no surprise that Spotify, the world’s most popular audio streaming service with 356m users in 178 territories, is making names in audio social media with its app Greenroom. Though it shares in the audio functions and format of its equivalents, one key difference between Greenroom and similar apps is a live text chat feature, and an automatic audio recording that hosts can later upload as a podcast.
Cappuccino may be the black sheep of the audio social media family, but it is certainly still one to watch. Designed for close friends and family, users record a short audio message – akin to a WhatsApp voice note or short podcast – that is then available to those in their group. Group members receive a morning notification informing them that their morning cappuccino has been brewed, and then can listen to the series of heartfelt messages that their loved ones have left for them.
If you would like to develop your social media strategy and integrate audio platforms into your digital marketing, contact our team here.