Another Clubhouse Competitor: Instagram’s Live Rooms roll out

Due to COVID-19, there has been an increase in communication via real-time communication. An increase in Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other video services have taken over the way we meet for business and personal purposes, but we’ve also seen the rise in live social communication. In the last year, we’ve seen the growth of the audio-only app Clubhouse which allows users to have audio conferences with anyone around the world. This has sparked Twitter responding with their own version called Spaces and it looks like Instagram are following suit with their own innovations.

At the start of March Instagram rolled out an update to their Live streaming giving users the ability to go Live on Instagram with up to three people. Previously, consumers could go live with only one other person in a stream, but now Instagram is letting users “double up” on their live broadcast.

Instagram believe that doubling up on Live will open up more creative opportunities. Users may be able to: start a talk show, host jam sessions, co-create with other creators and much more. (Source Instagram). Like Spaces, Instagram is creating opportunity within the platform for creators to monetise. Instagram recently announced that Live viewers could purchase badges for their favourite creators. Viewers can buy badges for the hosts and use interactive features like Shopping and Live Fundraisers.

Instagram are combining the visual aspect of their platform and the increase of video conferences, with the structure of Clubhouse and Spaces where users can tune into an ongoing conversation. Where this differs is that the hosting is automatically better moderated with only up to 4 people able to speak. Instagram also instituted some safety measures for the new feature, such as preventing any users blocked by any guests from joining the live, as well as banning guests that have been banned from live access from joining Live Rooms (Source Metro). During live broadcasts, the hosts can also report and block comments and use comment filters to maintain a safer experience for all viewers (Source Tech Crunch).

An advantage Instagram and Twitter have over Clubhouse is that the users are already on the platform. Brands and users can promote upcoming live chats on their feeds and stories prior to the Live Rooms, they can garner the interest of their audience beforehand. Clubhouse does allow users to add reminders, however, the user feed and community isn’t as sophisticated as the Instagram or Twitter feeds as of yet.

Live Rooms could be a great way for brands to engage in live conversations with other industry influencers, roll out new product features and host industry-related discussions. Like with Clubhouse and Spaces, this is a chance for brands/companies to host conversations with different influencers. With the seemingly better community moderation, this would be safer to host live conversations without the risk of rogue users creating a bad PR moment for the brand. Unlike Clubhouse, brands won’t need to have a set moderator to remove user’s speaking abilities in the conversations, especially with users who are blocked. The new feature looks like it could be a benefit to all genres on Instagram, but it will be up to the brands to navigate safely and successfully in this feature.

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