News & Insights

6 things to know about marketing to Gen Zs on Spotify

Our guide for marketing to Gen Zs on Spotify, with insights and tips on the best ways for reaching this audience through Ad Studio.

It’s been quite a year for Gen Z, a generation now on the edge of newfound independence. Even though traditional markers of adulthood look different for them — like hanging out with friends unsupervised, attending college in person, or starting their first post-grad jobs — one thing is certain: Music and podcasts are at the center of their lives.

  • 66%

    of Gen Zs said audio helped them feel less alone over the past year.

    Source: Spotify Culture Next vol. 3, 2021, US
  • 69%

    of Gen Zs feel “more centered and generally happier” when listening to their favorite music on a daily basis.

    Source: Spotify Culture Next vol. 3, 2021, US

What advertisers need to know about Gen Zs

For this rising generation, digital audio is so much more than background noise. It’s how they set the right vibe for daily activities like gaming or studying, how they discover more about the world around them, and how they connect with others — and pop culture at large. In our annual Culture Next trend report, our global research revealed some surprising facts about Gen Zs.

Audio helps them find balance.

This generation of digital natives is more conscious of their tech habits than you might think, and audio is their escape from screen time. The majority of Gen Zs (51%) said audio is a more “wholesome” type of content compared to visual, and 71% of Gen Zs say they use audio to reduce their stress levels.1

Music discovery is a cross-platform experience.

While you won’t find this generation flipping through CDs at the mall, their hunger for seeking out new tracks and artists is just as strong compared to other generations. Unsurprisingly, they’re more likely to discover new music via social media: 42% of Gen Z Spotify users in the U.S. said they’ve heard a song on social media and then searched for it on Spotify.1

Gen Zs aren’t “cord cutters.” They’re “cord nevers.”

A growing percentage of Gen Zs are “cord nevers” — people who have never used traditional cable TV.1 You’re much more likely to find Gen Z’s media consumption happening on streaming platforms. Speaking of...

Streaming drives culture.

62% of Gen Zs believe that streaming platforms at large, including audio, have significantly shaped how they discover and connect with a broader culture, and 54% of Gen Zs believe brands have the power to create communities based on common interest and passion.1

They believe audio enables diverse viewpoints.

Gen Zs, the most culturally diverse generation to date, are passionate about seeking out diverse voices and viewpoints: 59% of Gen Zs agree that as a culture, we’re more open to hearing from diverse voices than ever before, and half of Gen Zs said they’ve sought more content from diverse creators and podcasters in the last year.1

Spotify is where Gen Zs are creating, curating, and experiencing culture — in real time, all the time. If you’re unfamiliar with digital audio campaigns, great news: They’re easy (and pretty fun) to create. And with Ad Studio, Spotify’s self-serve advertising platform, advertisers can reach Gen Zs in critical moments when they’re engaged, attentive, and open to hearing from brands.

Tips for marketing to Gen Zs with Spotify ads

1. Keep up with culture in real time
Audio offers a unique opportunity to deeply engage listeners using minimal production resources. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a startup, Ad Studio offers free audio ad production, including custom voiceover, allowing creative teams to produce new messages easily and get them live quickly.

2. Pass the mic
Give underrepresented artists the stage to share your brand message in their own way. For instance, Cinnamon Toast Crunch partnered with Cuco, an emerging Latinx artist, to create custom audio and video spots that share the inspiring ways he continued to grow his music career and live life to the fullest despite challenging times in 2020.

3. Build campaigns for collaboration
Foster connection with Gen Zs by including them in the creative process. For instance, Calvin Klein drove Zs to a digital experience to ask, “What do you hope for?” Once they answered with their specific dream for the future, they could then add one song to a collaborative playlist for that specific hope.

4. Provide escape through education
Podcasts are a portal to a cool, new kind of school — and Ad Studio customers can now access podcast ads to reach Gen Zs as they listen to learn. Create custom podcast midrolls that deliver short knowledge drops to listeners to increase their curiosity and nourish their brain.

5. Take them to another dimension
Learn how to use 3D audio, which mimics the way humans perceive sound, to immerse listeners in an authentic virtual listening environment, creating a dynamic and sensory experience. Achieve undivided attention for your brand through soundscapes that take Zs on a journey from near and far to left and right.

Looking for some creative inspo? Hear how the BBC took Gen Z listeners to the furthest reaches of the planet with 3D audio

6. Think about interests, not demographics
Take Gen Z gamers, for example. For a long time, “gamers” was shorthand for young and male. But as of 2019, 44% of total global Spotify Free gamers are female. Get in with gamers through the content they crave by sponsoring their top playlists, such as Top Gaming Tracks. Ad Studio also offers targeting options that go beyond basic demographics to give advertisers a better picture of their audience — including device and connectivity, listening behaviors, predicted interests, off-platform behaviors, and more.

Spotify Ad Studio offers advanced targeting options, creative formats that are easy and straightforward to produce, and real-time campaign management. Sign up for Ad Studio, or log back in to be part of Gen Z’s daily soundtrack.

  1. Source: Spotify Culture Next vol. 3, 2021, US

Looking for something a little more custom? Let's talk.