Analysing Clubhouse’s growth strategy: Invite-Only Exclusivity

Clubhouse is the brand new social media platform that's grown incredibly in the last few months. Here we break down how they achieve Unicorn status in under a year.
Analysing Clubhouse’s growth strategy: Invite-Only Exclusivity

Clubhouse is the brand new social media network that’s taking the marketing world by storm.

Seems like every time I log onto other platforms people are either talking about Clubhouse or inviting people to their clubhouse “rooms”.

What’s incredible though is how, at the time of writing, Clubhouse has grown to ~2,000,000 users despite being less than a year old.

With such meteoric growth, we thought Clubhouse’s growth strategy and business was worth a quick analysis.

Here’s what we’ve dug up.

Clubhouse in 30 seconds

  • Who are we analysing today?: Clubhouse
  • What does Clubhouse do?: It’s a live-audio social media app
  • Why should you care?: It’s the hottest new social platform and growing at lightspeed.
  • How are they doing it?: Invite-only memberships + strategic PR/content buzz.
  • When was Clubhouse founded? – In March 2020

Clubhouse user base

According to the Clubhouse blog, in a single week during January 2021 they managed to get 2,000,000 users.

Up from December 2020’s total of 600,000, which is crazy growth.

Clubhouse's growth in a 2 month period
Source 1 Source 2

According to that same article, those users were made up of…

  • Musicians
  • Scientists
  • Creators
  • Athletes
  • Comedians
  • Parents
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Stock traders
  • Non-profit leaders
  • Authors
  • Artists
  • Real-estate agents
  • Sports fans
  • And more

Which doesn’t really help us in analysing their ideal customer base.

In my experience, I’ve seen a huge number of marketers, VCs, and SaaS founders on the platform.

The main interesting point is how they grew their user base so quickly.

That 600,000 number for 2020 was taken in December, and the 2,000,000 number was in January 2021.

Which means they grew their user base by more than 50% in a 1-2 month time period.

It also puts them at a higher user base than other social media platforms when they were in their first year.

Clubhouse year one user growth vs facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Source 1 Source 2 Source 3 Source 4

We’ll cover how we think they did this below.

Clubhouse financials

It's always interesting when a brand enters into a crowded market and kills it.

Clubhouse have managed to achieve a huge valuation after just one year.

but what other rounds of funding have they secured? How are they monetising to justify that valuation? Are they really worth investing in?

All that, and more, explained in the below.

Clubhouse’s financial details
How much money has Clubhouse raised? How are they monetising? Find out here.

Clubhouse’s growth strategy

Clubhouse made great use of something known as the "Velvet Rope strategy.

In short, it's a way to add a level of scarcity and Fomo to any new offer.

Clubhouse built their marketing model around this strategy and it's worked wonders for them.

In the below, we go into detail on how and why this works so well.

Clubhouse’s Growth Strategy - the Velvet Rope
How Clubhouse used the velvet rope strategy to achieve a $1B valuation in under a year.

Creating your own Velvet Rope strategy


Creating a velvet rope strategy isn't as simple as gating content and asking people to invite friends.

You have to consider how people perceive the value of the gated content.

You have to consider the importance of seeding the right people in that growd to generate buzz.  

There's a lot that goes into a well defined velvet rope strategy. Here's how we'd set up a Clubhouse velvet rope strategy.

Creating a Velvet Rope Strategy like Clubhouse
How can you create a velvet rope strategy like the one Clubhouse used to hit a $1B valuation? Follow these steps.

Red Flags for Clubhouse's Continued Growth?

There's no doubt Clubhouse has experienced incredible and enviable growth.  

But they need to switch things up... and soon.

Competitors are hot on their tail and the strategies that have worked up to this point won't continue forever.

Here are the red flags for their continued growth as we see them.

Red Flags for Clubhouse’s Continued Growth
Clubhouse experienced huge growth. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Their growth strategy comes with some pretty significant red flags.

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