A 2022 study by Spotify found that 80% of Gen Z consumers enjoy audio content because it allows them to express their individuality and “explore different sides of their personalities.” Though Spotify didn't clarify what it meant by audio content, such as podcasts or audio chats, it's no secret that audio chatrooms have become increasingly popular over the years.
Audio chatrooms like Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse saw a surge in popularity at the start of the pandemic, when most people were stuck at home and looking for ways to connect with others. While outdoor events have resumed and many people are back in the office, I still can't log into Twitter without seeing a Twitter space of at least 200 people at the top of my feed. With that said, are content like audio chat rooms worth it for marketers?
If you're trying to capture the attention of Gen Z, here's what you need to know:
The Pros and Cons of Audio Chatrooms like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces
Audio chatrooms have become popular in recent years, however, there are still pros and cons to consider before deciding to leverage platforms like Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse in your marketing campaign.
Pros of Audio Chatrooms
In our 2022 survey, we spoke to Gen Z consumers about their social media habits. During the survey we found that 43% of Gen Zers discover new products most often via platforms like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. Though that's less than half of the respondents, 43% is still a sizeable chunk — meaning there are opportunities for brands to reach a Gen Z audience.
Here are some of the positives of using audio chatrooms in your marketing campaign:
Audio chatrooms allow brands to communicate directly with their audience.
Audio chatrooms like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces can facilitate a closer relationship between brands and consumers. For example, celebrities like Kevin Hart and Ashton Kutcher have used Clubhouse to have live discussions with fans covering everything from upcoming projects to politics. Mark Zuckerberg has used Clubhouse to speak to followers about advancements in technology and virtual reality.
Entertainment and media companies like Complex and Genius often use Twitter Spaces to host live interviews with musicians and give fans opportunities to ask questions directly. For example, in December 2021, Genius co-hosted a space with Alicia Keys where the singer answered questions about her upcoming album. She was later joined by Jay-Z, who made a surprise appearance, and the two shared an intimate discussion about music with fans who tuned in.
Interviews, panel discussions, and Q&As are all ways to leverage audio chatrooms and form meaningful connections with your target audience.
Audio content is easily re-usable.
Content from audio chatrooms can also be repurposed and redistributed through other platforms. For example, many Twitter Space hosts will take the audio from their space and upload it to platforms like Spotify as a podcast. If an image is added, the audio can also be uploaded to YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram Reels where it can get a second life online and a chance to reach new audiences.
Cons of Audio Chatrooms
There are a few drawbacks to using audio chatrooms to market to Gen Z, including:
Consumers want to talk to people — not brands.
Opportunities for discussion are what draw most people to Clubhouse and Spaces, however, most consumers prefer to speak with people — not companies looking to push their latest products. In fact, our survey found that only 7% of Gen Z consumers prefer audio chatrooms for discovering new products.
However, our survey also found that a quarter of Gen Zers prefer finding products on social media via the influencers they follow. If brands still choose to use audio chatrooms in their marketing, leveraging influencer marketing could provide an advantage.
Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse are not very popular among Gen Z.
36% of the Gen Z consumers we surveyed listed Discord among the live audio chats they've used in the last three months. Only 14% mentioned Twitter and 13% said Clubhouse. And while Twitter has hundreds of millions of users, only 5% of the Gen Zers we surveyed said Twitter is their favorite app.
Audio Chats vs Podcasts: Which are Better for Marketing?
In terms of which are better for marketing — audio chats or podcasts — the data can be a bit confusing. Our survey found that 43% of Gen Z consumers most often discover new products via audio chats, while 36% said the same about podcast ads. However, 13% of Gen Zers said they discovered new products via podcast ads in the last three months while only 7% said the same about audio chats.
It's also important to note that only 5% said they prefer podcast ads for discovering new products — and only 7% said the same about audio chatrooms.
Ultimately, it seems like both tactics can yield similar results depending on how they're used. If you're set on leveraging audio chatrooms in your marketing strategy to attract Gen Z, consider collaborating with influencers to host Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse events.
Since Discord seems to be the most popular audio chatroom among Gen Z, you should also create a Discord that allows your followers to connect with each other, give feedback, and ask questions regarding your brand or product.
Influencer marketing can also apply to podcasts. Consider buying ad space on an influencer's podcast or sponsoring one in exchange for promotion. For example, pop-culture podcast The Read is sponsored by Talk Space, an online therapy app. At the beginning, middle, and end of each episode the podcast's hosts make a point to mention the sponsorship and explain to their listeners how they can use the app at a discounted price.
So, are audio chats worth marketers investing in? If you're trying to market to Gen Z, platforms like Twitch and TiKTok are likely more worth your time. Those platforms have a large Gen Z audience and can be leveraged with the help of tactics like influencer marketing or event marketing. If you're still interested in giving audio chatrooms a try, look into partnering with influencers to host special events, panels, or interviews.