In February 2021, the number of Clubhouse users reached 6 million. Launched during the lockdown of spring 2020, the platform’s user base is showing an astounding growth rate, which comes as no surprise, given the social isolation and the limitations that come with it. With the pandemic going on for months on end, and lockdowns frequently reinstated, the rise of voice chat apps like Clubhouse is something we could naturally expect.
Currently, there are 2 million new people joining Clubhouse each week. The platform has recently received a new round of funding and its value has reached $1 billion.
Below, we will uncover the intricacies of creating voice chat services like Clubhouse. But first, let’s talk about Clubhouse specifics, and reasons for its popularity.
The much-hyped new social network is a spontaneous voice chat app, which has no text content. Imagine listening to a real-time radio show and being able to actually respond and participate.
Currently, only iOS users can use the service, and an Android version is reportedly in the works. Simply installing the app won’t get you to Clubhouse. You must receive an invitation by someone already using the platform, and the validity of the invitation expires in several months.
Upon registration, users list their fields of interest and get to select ‘rooms’ dedicated to specific subjects. The subjects are quite diverse, from parenting to technology.
Some are even bizarre – there’s a room, for example, where people talk in whispers and sing each other lullabies. There’s even a room where people get together for silent meditation – admittedly, an unconventional use case for a spontaneous chat app.
After users enter a room, they get to listen and decide whether they like a conversation, and which form of participation they would rather select: speaking or just listening. They can contact a moderator, if they want to speak, and will be granted this opportunity. They can also leave silently if they want to. Users can also set up their own chat rooms, and the rooms can hold over 5 000 listeners.
The COVID-19 lockdown has deprived us of our usual lifestyles, making live communication somewhat of a luxury. Because of the restrictions of public events and activities, the urge to share and communicate had to find a natural outlet. Conventional video chat apps weren’t coping all too well: they are demanding in terms of settings, and their frequent use results in screen fatigue.
Audio communication is more liberating: you don’t have to turn on your camera, and you can use a hands-free mode and listen or chat while you drive, do household chores, or even scroll through Instagram or Facebook.
The platform fosters spontaneity in one more way – unlike podcasts, conversations don’t get recorded, so you have to be present to engage in live, real-time chats. Humans are social creatures, and as an audio social network, Clubhouse surely creates a great space for mingling, meeting new people, and sharing ideas, despite the lockdown limitations.
COVID-19 crisis aside, the stage for the emergence of services like Clubhouse had been set years before the SARS-CoV-19 outbreak: the increasing popularity of podcasts, the vast choice of wireless headphones and speakers, and voice assistants becoming mainstream are some of the factors accounting for the general readiness of people to embrace voice social media apps.
Although at some point, the hype around Clubhouse will inevitably subside, nevertheless, it looks like voice chat apps will still be relevant after the pandemic.
The success of Clubhouse suggests the market is ripe for audio-based social-media apps. In fact, giants like Twitter and Facebook find the voice chat app niche so promising, they are launching spontaneous voice chat services.
The less renowned market players include Wavv, Riffr, and Spoon. A voice chat platform for gamers, Discord, has also recently announced that it’s going mainstream and will now welcome all user categories.
The advantages of investing in voice social media apps for businesses include
- offering an engaging experience,
- precise targeting by user groups,
- instant evaluation of marketing and investment efforts,
- easy networking and forging meaningful connections,
- driving traffic to web pages, and
- maximizing brand awareness.
Despite Clubhouse being one of the most prominent app launches in 2020, it still has a lot of shortcomings. Covering them could make your new product highly competitive, and capable of attracting loyal customers.
- Lack of Android version: Unfortunately, no Android version is available just yet. With billions of Android users left out, anyone who creates a smarter Android app version stands a chance of posing serious competition to Clubhouse.
- Safety and security issues: A moderator role is assigned to any Clubhouse discussion, yet, users have already reported cases of bullying and bias on the platform. Although chats aren’t recorded, the famous Elon Musk appearance has been live-streamed – clearly, Clubhouse still has to hone its security policies.
- Unclear monetization policies: By now, it is still unclear how Clubhouse intends to profit from their services. Obviously, if you manage to come up with fresh voice app monetization ideas, you are set to outperform Clubhouse.
You also stand the chance of competing with Clubhouse, if you offer listeners unique features that they will appreciate.
So let’s now take a closer look at the features that Clubhouse brings to the table. Keep in mind that you should make most of these features available to customers if you plan to build an app that will stand out.
It all starts with an invitation you get from someone already on Clubhouse. Open the invitation and click the link that will take you to an app download page.
First of all, you will have to fill in your personal details, submit your photo and your real name. Users are then asked to write their bio, which may be as short or as long as they like.
The app then asks a user to enter their fields of interest, so that the algorithm could offer corresponding topics, people and chat rooms, and tailor their newsfeed according to them.
Customers can also use the Search feature to look for what they need. The Clubhouse social app will offer them a list of rooms, events, and speakers, based on their queries.
Users can set up both public or private chat rooms. Private rooms may be either available to their Clubhouse friends, or only to specified members, while public rooms are open to everyone. In other words, the rooms may be free to join or accessible strictly by invitation.
Visitors taking part in a conversation can have three roles:
- Listener – once users enter a room, they are assigned the roles of listeners by default
- Speaker – users can ask the Moderator to assign them the role of a speaker
- Moderator – a user supervising a discussion
In different rooms, people may take up different roles, depending on their fields of competence and interests.
The app sends personalized suggestions about the upcoming talks. If the listeners find any of them interesting, they may add them to their personal Calendar.
The Clubhouse app updates users about the recent activity and interactions with their accounts: who has just joined the platform, who has just followed them, and other in-app activities.
Just like Facebook, and other services, Clubhouse sends notifications in order to keep people engaged. You get notified if a user you have subscribed to starts a new room, and if you decide to join, your followers will also get notified about it. This feature increases the number of listeners and boosts interactions.
Users can create clubs based on their interests. However, you are only allowed to create a club after you’ve organized several discussions. A club has to undergo moderation and approval before anyone can join.
The platform’s features are quite traditional and simplistic – what’s completely new is the voice-only approach. This leaves enough room for creativity: obviously, no app can cater to absolutely every user category. If you’re looking how to create a spontaneous voice chat app like Clubhouse, read on.
If you have your mind set on building an audio-based social media app, don’t rush into app development just yet: make sure you brainstorm and refine your concept during an ideation stage.
Step 1: The ideation stage
During this phase you will envision how your product will work and to come up with clear and precise app specifications. Ultimately, the success at this stage will depend on two factors: how well you carry out competitor analysis, and how well you meet the needs of your future customers.
Competitor analysis: Study the market, and learn about the audio social media apps available out there. Learn their strong and weak spots and generate ideas about how you can make your audio platform stand out.
Audience analysis: Knowing your customers is more than a marketing cliche. Understanding your customers’ and their needs is crucial to the success of your application. Run surveys to ask your potential users directly about their needs. Get to know their age, income, and other demographics – the more detailed the user portrait you get, the better.
The information you collect will help you decide on the features of your voice chat app and map out detailed steps of user interactions with your platform.
Step 2: Decide on a revenue model
How exactly do you plan to earn money with your app? Knowing your target customers will help you decide on which revenue generation type will work best for your spontaneous voice chat app.
There are lots of ways in which apps can make money: you may, for example, charge users directly, profit from in-app purchases, or create a freemium app and make a more advanced version available on a paid basis. Regardless of which model you prefer, choose it before you start designing and developing since it will determine your app architecture.
Step 3: Design and UX
Making your application visually attractive while preserving its functionality and usability may be a delicate balance to strike. However, what matters most is the quality of the experience.
With the fierce competition out there, UX can either make or break your app. Knowing your core audience and their priorities, however, will help you focus on meeting their needs and delivering the best possible experience.
Step 4: MVP development
Now you are ready to build an MVP to test your voice chat app for the market, user, and stakeholder acceptance. An MVP is a basic product, which should demonstrate the maximum advantages of your app while investing minimum costs and effort.
You want to test your app for bugs, errors, and usability issues before you plunge into developing a full-scale version. Building your MVP and collecting feedback may take up to several months.
Step 5. Development
If your proof-of-concept product is a success, by now you should have attracted enough funding to launch the development of an end version of your voice chat app. During this stage, you will refine your product and work on its most complex features.
Don’t forget to include testing into every software development phase – it could save you a lot of money and effort.
Step 6: Promotion
Promotion is often treated as a separate step, while, in reality, your marketing campaign should start long before you release the final version, and unwrap simultaneously with the product development.
Testing your MVP could actually kickstart your promotion phase: the participants of your MVP evaluation could become the early adopters of your app. Launch a couple of videos and teasers before the final release.
The trend towards audiо social media is gaining momentum, and it looks like the market is ready to welcome new entrants. Even if the initial popularity of Clubhouse-like apps decreases, and people will return to in-person communication, some people will surely enjoy the spontaneity and freedom of movement of voice social networks.
One thing you should consider, though, if you plan to launch a voice chat app like clubhouse, is the expertise of the development team, not to mention the costs and expenses.
Voice chat app development is a sophisticated process, and in order to seamlessly go through all of its phases, you need a proficient and reliable development partner to fall back on.
At Eastern Peak we are ready to offer you a helping hand. Contact us now for a free consultation with our experts!