The Rise of Social Audio Platforms

Since the advancement of technology, audio has come a long way and the waves of radio are no longer the only sounds we enjoy. From listening to a podcast while washing dishes or cooking, to catching up with a recorded live on the way home, audio is so appealing.

With Spotify, Twitter spaces and live audio events and conversations on the rise, let’s take a look at why social audio platforms are worth it for your brand.

Podcasts, in particular, began to boom in the past few years. Spotify has become one of the most dominant platforms in South Africa right after Apple podcasts. Before the pandemic, Spotify was hosting 2.2 million podcasts, and around 25% of its monthly active users engaged with podcast content in the last three months of 2020.

Listeners appear to love the connection that comes with audio, as well as the ability to multitask while listening or interacting. Instead of sitting down at a keyboard or focusing on a phone or TV screen, audio allows you to interact and connect in diverse settings — while cooking, running or watching your children.

Clubhouse’s timing couldn’t have been better. Audio-social apps have launched before, but never in a time of mass social isolation and screen fatigue. There was no scrolling on a screen, so you could participate while driving or washing the dishes. The rooms were open and temporary, so you could wander in on a whim, rather than needing to call a specific person, like on FaceTime or Zoom (and hope they pick up).

You could sit back and listen, or you could jump in and wax poetic. And because you could hear everyone’s voices, the interactions with complete strangers could feel oddly intimate—like listening to a podcast where you could talk back.

While the hype is exciting for creators and entrepreneurs who like to have new platforms to build an audience, Social audio is still in the experimental phase, as is the possibility of marketing through it. Twitter spaces, Reddit talk, Spotify GreenRoom, Clubhouse, and Facebook social audio are all relatively new. To use these platforms, be prepared to explore on your own, experiment and be resilient in the face of changes or challenges.

Audio consumption is at its peak, and it’s mostly driven by the youth. Studies show that Gen Z listens to audio for more than 18 hours per week. Some may think the rise of these platforms will take up time from radio. The truth is, radio remains strong, and podcasting is taking up precious minutes from video rather than traditional radio. Brands are following suit at a rapid rate, with many implementing specific audio strategies to drive engagement and sales.

This, therefore, means there’s a huge opportunity for brands and content creators to make money through these platforms. Since these platforms are new and still in the development phase, we can expect many interesting features to be added with time.

If you experiment with a social audio platform, set a period to learn and develop your strategy. Give your brand a chance by connecting with people, building a community, sharing more than you receive and taking time to pursue the right audiences and conversations.

Let’s have a look at some of the popular social audio platforms and how they can be monetised:

Clubhouse

Clubhouse is an audio-based social media app, launched in April 2020. Clubhouse was designed to be a space for authentic conversation and expression, where people can have fun, learn, make meaningful connections, and share rich experiences with others around the world. Clubhouse rooms are often hosted by experts, celebrities, venture capitalists, journalists, and so on. You can also create a room of your own

In order to join Clubhouse, you still need an invitation from an existing user. Every new user gets two invites, and they earn more as they use the app. So you need to ask your friends to invite you if they have access. This is at the time of writing this article.

Clubhouse

Twitter Spaces

Spaces is a new way to have live audio conversations on Twitter. Twitter has been testing and building this in the open with @TwitterSpaces while gathering feedback from users which helps with further development and shaping the user experience.
Anyone can create and host a Space. Spaces are public, so anyone can join as a Listener, including people who don’t follow you.

Listeners can be directly invited into a Space by DMing them a link to the Space, Tweeting out a link, or sharing a link elsewhere. Up to 11 people (including the Host) can speak in a Space at any given time. Once the Space has started, the Host can send requests to Listeners to become Speakers or Listeners can request permission to speak from the Host.

Click here for more information

Twitter Spaces

Spotify Greenroom

Greenroom is a new live audio app from Spotify that allows artists and other creators to connect with fans, followers, and friends in the moment. Through virtual rooms, you can listen and talk about things that you love with artists and fans with similar interests. When you host a room you’ll have the power to moderate, choose speakers, set the tone and topic of discussion as well as record the audio.

Greenroom also gives artists the ability to surprise and delight their fans by popping up in their conversations too. Greenroom provides the opportunity to cultivate a highly engaged audience of fans who are passionate about artists, the music they make, and the perspectives they have. Click here for more information

Spotify Greenroom

Facebook Live Audio Rooms

Facebook is rolling out Live Audio Rooms and podcasts, as part of its plans to bring social audio experiences to Facebook. Live Audio Rooms on Facebook enables you to discover, listen in on and join live conversations with public figures, experts and others about topics you’re interested in.

Public figures can invite friends, followers, verified public figures, or any listeners in the room to be a speaker. The host can invite speakers in advance or during the conversation. There can be up to 50 speakers, and there’s no limit to the number of listeners. Click here for more information 

Monetisation opportunities

Twitter Spaces

Twitter, in May 2021, introduced a Tip Jar, an easy way to support the incredible voices that make up the conversation on Twitter. “This is the first step in our work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter – with money. Everyone using Twitter in English can send tips to applicable accounts on Twitter for iOS and Android. For now, a limited group of people around the world who use Twitter in English can add Tip Jar to their profile and accept tips.

This group includes creators, journalists, experts, and non-profits. Soon, more people will be able to add Tip Jar to their profile and we’ll expand to more languages’’, said Esther Crawford, Senior Product Manager

Twitter also introduced Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows, other ways for creators to monetize their content. Ticketed Spaces help creators generate revenue from the Spaces they host while allowing their audiences to show their support by purchasing tickets for the experience and conversation that creators provide in Twitter Spaces. Creators can use Ticketed Spaces to host workshops, conversations, or meet-and-greets with their most loyal fans.

Now creators can earn money for hosting their Spaces. Ticketed Spaces lets people charge between $1 and $999 for access to one of Twitter’s social audio rooms, and it offers extra features like setting a room size cap. Users can see if they’re eligible to apply by checking a new “Monetization” option in the mobile app sidebar.
Click here to read more 

Super Follows can help people on Twitter earn monthly income from the conversations they create. You may earn a share of the revenue from paid subscriptions offering your most engaged followers an extra level of access and bonus content.
If you are selected to participate in the Super Follows test group, people on Twitter can pay to Super Follow you. They’ll receive perks such as bonus content and interactions from the people they Super Follow.

You may earn a share of the revenue from people who pay to Super Follow you. The Super Follows feature lets users charge $2.99, $4.99, or $9.99 per month for access to exclusive content. Click here to read more

Twitter is opening applications for a limited test of its Super Follows and Ticketed Spaces features. US-based users can apply separately for each program through Twitter’s mobile app; Super Follows are restricted to iOS, while Ticketed Spaces are available on iOS and Android.

Facebook Live Rooms

“The only way this all works long term is if creators can make money from their efforts. So at launch, we’re introducing multiple ways for audio creators to build their business while pursuing their passion. When Live Audio Rooms launch, fans will be able to support their favourite creators and public figures through Stars, or donate to causes they care about. Soon after launch, we’ll also offer other monetisation models, like the ability to charge for access to a Live Audio Room through a single purchase or a subscription.

Finally, to kickstart Soundbites, we’re introducing an Audio Creator Fund to support emerging audio creators and get early feedback on the new product experience.” Fidji Simo, Head of Facebook App.

Click here for more information 

 

Spotify Creator Fund

The Creator Fund is a way to get rewarded for the content you create and the community you build on Greenroom. The Fund is open for registrations now and will go live and begin payouts later this summer. There’s no limit to the number of creators that can take part in the Fund. But the fund is currently not available to users outside of the United States.

 

Clubhouse

Clubhouse offers a way to earn money on its platform through direct payments. By connecting a debit or credit card, users can pay each other from their profiles. Creators can enable the feature, which then allows users to tap “Send Money” and enter an amount. The ability to receive payments is only available to a small test group at the moment.

Tickets and Subscription features are on the way. It is therefore important for content creators to start brainstorming the content strategy they need to win paid users and long-term subscribers.

Clubmarket is a newly launched third-party app that facilitates deal-making between brands and influencers on the app by allowing Clubhouse hosts to monetize their content via partnerships with brands. Basically, it does what Clubhouse creators have been discussing since the app gained popularity late last year: Allow creators to make money.

 

Conclusion

It is true, audio has become the main vehicle for engagement in new technologies.

The increasing competition from social media companies shows how important the “social audio” has become.

Reddit and LinkedIn have also said they are working on new audio features.

If you are looking to have a successful social audio platform experience, growing a strong and loyal audience is vital. So, are audio platforms worth your investment? Well ultimately, it depends on  how much effort you willing to put and the value you give to your community.

You can also explore many ways of monetising these platforms, opportunities are endless.

 

Read more: The Global Startup Awards Africa 2021: In Search of Africa’s Leading Innovators

 

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