With both Twitter and Facebook circling, Clubhouse needs to work fast to build on its momentum, or it could risk losing out to these larger platforms, which already have far wider reach.
But scaling to millions of new users is a massive undertaking, and while Clubhouse might want to open up to everyone, it will face various challenges in doing so. Which the platform underlined in its most recent ‘Town Hall’ update this week.
Speaking on the platform’s growth plans, Clubhouse co-founder Paul Davison first highlighted the platform’s efforts to expand to Android, which, Davison says, still looks to be a couple of months away.
Twitter’s audio Spaces are already available in beta mode on Android, with Twitter planning to open the option up to all users next month, while Facebook is working on audio-only Messenger Rooms as its alternative. That could see both Twitter and Facebook bring their Clubhouse clones to Android before Clubhouse itself, which could make it harder for Clubhouse to gain traction once it eventually does make it to Android users.
Twitter and Facebook will both also have an advantage in discovery – because they both already have established interest graphs and connections for users, they’ll be able to highlight more interesting, in-progress chats, which could make their alternative offerings more engaging.
Clubhouse sees this as another potential challenge, with Davison noting that as Clubhouse grows, the discovery experience could be negatively impacted because of the sheer breadth of broadcasts that will be coming in.
More usage is good, but sifting through all of those live broadcasts to highlight the best to each individual user is no easy task. That’s partly what caused live-streaming platforms like Blab to eventually shutter (and interestingly, Blab founder Shaan Puri recently noted that he thinks Clubhouse will eventually fail for this reason).
As TechCrunch notes, Clubhouse is planning to tackle these challenges by updating app’s Activity feed, providing more tools to give users more control over their push notifications, and adding in more personalization features, like showing users a personalized list of suggested rooms that appear on screen when you first open the app.
Those will no doubt help, but the bigger challenge will be in creating personalization algorithms that can better identify live chats that will be of relevance to each individual – and doing so only based on previous Clubhouse usage and connections.
That’s entirely possible, but it will pose a challenge, and it’ll be interesting to see how Clubhouse navigates each of these elements, and if it can maintain its momentum in the face of rising competition, aside from its own navigational challenges.
Either way, Clubhouse will need to move. Davison additionally noted that Clubhouse will be looking to remove its invite-only status in the next few months, while it’s also investing in more creator tools, which will be focused on helping creators to grow their audiences, and monetize their broadcasts.
These are the key challenges for Clubhouse right now – improving discovery and customization for each user, critical for retaining audience at scale, and keeping its top broadcasters around, through monetization and growth.
Can Clubhouse hold its spot, and become a key platform in the broader social media ecosystem?