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Gen Z marketing: How to reach and resonate with Zs on Spotify

Our guide for marketing to Gen Zs on Spotify, with insights, examples, and tips on the best ways for reaching this audience through Spotify's ads manager.

  • 560B

    In the first half of 2023, Gen Z listened to more than 560 billion songs on Spotify²

  • 3B

    In the first half of 2023, Gen Z listened to more than 3 billion podcast episodes on Spotify³

For Gen Zs, the digital world isn’t just a backdrop—it’s the main stage. These digital natives live online, where every click, stream, and share is an intentional reflection of their identity and values.

So, it should come as no surprise that Zs are increasingly turning to podcasts and playlists as their guide to cultural milestones that matter. Spotify's Culture Next 2023 report found that Gen Zs listened to more than 560 billion songs and 3 billion podcast episodes in 2023 alone—a 76% increase over 2022—making them the fastest-growing group of music and podcast listeners on our platform.1

Read on for our comprehensive guide to Gen Z marketing on Spotify and what advertisers need to know.

Who is Gen Z?

With technology firmly embedded into their day-to-day lives, Zs don’t just scroll through content—it’s how they connect with the world, and each other. The average Gen Z has had a smartphone since their pre-teen years4—and today, the majority of this generation spends nearly half their waking hours engaging with screens.5

But Zs aren't content with surface-level scrolling: Culture Next 2023 found that US-based engagement with podcasts among Gen Z is surging across categories like Education (+53% from 2022 to 2023), Religion/Spirituality (+67%), Government (+59%), and History (+36%)6—indicating this generation has a serious thirst for knowledge. Further, a resounding 78% of Zs in the US agree that Spotify brings people deeper into culture.7

How to understand Zs and capture their attention

Why include Gen Z in your marketing plans? For one, Zs have emerged as both creators and curators of global trends—and their smart devices are their compasses. With mounting purchasing power, this connected generation now wields considerable influence.8 By understanding and addressing their unique characteristics and preferences, marketers can create more effective campaigns and, ultimately, help instill brand loyalty.

Engaging this coveted cohort of customers means thinking outside the box of traditional advertising tactics. Zs tend to value realness above all, and when they discover a brand that "gets" them, they’re all in. They're also at a critical age when they're deciding which brands to be loyal to—potentially for years to come.

To quickly tune into Zs' frequency to unlock a loyal, vocal customer base, check out the fifth edition of Culture Next—the report gives you a front-row seat to Gen Z insights, showcasing how they engage with media and brands on Spotify. This helpful guide can give you key insights into Gen Z marketing strategies that create genuine connections.

Tips for marketing to Gen Zs

Here are six ways to fine-tune your brand's Gen Z marketing strategies.

1. Embrace Gen Z’s quest for depth

Younger audiences crave content that scratches beneath the surface, seeking music and podcasts that offer depth and provoke dialogue. Brands can leverage this with podcast ads that speak to these priorities, or playlist ads that align with moments like Study or Focus. Think: Ads that aren’t just ads, but engaging snippets that offer insights and stories that Zs are likely to find authentic and intriguing.

2. Craft personalized journeys of discovery

Tap into Zs' individuality by creating experiences that reflect their unique tastes and preferences. Need some inspo? The “Listen & Book” campaign by easyJet is a prime example: The brand used Spotify’s streaming intelligence to create a bespoke Gen Z advertising experience that matched listeners with travel destinations based on their music preferences.

3. Reach Zs across the board with a variety of ad formats

With Spotify's ads manager, you can build ads with ease and run them in a range of formats to help you reach audiences with a message that resonates. Campaigns that combine audio and video ads help to create a sight-meets-sound user experience that gets your message seen and heard—while display ads and custom formats such as Playlist Sponsorship add further dynamics into the media mix.

4. Ignite curiosity and inspire learning

With podcast ads, your brand can enter Zs' learning ecosystem. With Spotify's ads manager, tailor your content to align with the topics this generation is passionate about using our targeting tools and voice talent reads to add authenticity and depth. Or, experiment with host-read ads if you prefer to launch a direct Spotify Advertising campaign.

5. Connect through the soundtracks of culture

If you opt for a direct campaign, you can align your brand with Gen Z’s world through playlists that mirror their interests. For example, ITV sponsored playlists like ‘90s Love Songs to promote its reality show, Love Island, crafting audio ads narrated by show host Iain Stirling that resonated with the show’s theme—and listeners’ hearts.

6. Ride the wave of viral moments

In a world where trends come and go at lightning speed, staying relevant to Gen Z means harnessing the power of now. Spotify's ads manager's real-time access to tools can help you pivot your strategy, optimize performance, and inject your brand into viral trends. Tap into Spotify’s network of creators to make your brand’s presence felt right where these moments are reflected and amplified.

Examples of marketing to Gen Z on Spotify

Still wondering how to reach Gen Z in your digital campaigns? Below are a few examples that speak to younger Spotify users.

LinkedIn connects with young professionals

Think LinkedIn is all business? Think again. The career-focused social media platform tapped Spotify to connect with young, budding Gen Z professionals. Teaming up with Spotify’s creatives, the platform jazzed up its message and hit the podcast circuit. The vibe? “Find your in” with LinkedIn. The result? It clicked, sparking a surge of young professionals to embrace the platform.

Burger King launches a campaign with real bite

Tapping into Gen Z’s love of surprises and self-discovery, Burger King took Spotify listeners on an adventure with their Mystery Burger campaign in France. The campaign used Spotify’s first-party data to craft a music-infused, personalized experience that linked burgers with beats.

Erste Bank educates Zs about money matters

Erste Bank took a creative leap in its Generation Z marketing with a Spotify campaign focused on financial literacy. They used the soothing whispers and rustles of ASMR (3D audio) in their spark7 campaign to transform a mundane topic into an engaging auditory experience.

Calvin Klein addresses Gen Z's values

Using Spotify to amplify voices that crave change and inclusivity, Calvin Klein’s #ckone campaign sparked a conversation by asking, “What do you hope for?” It then wove those dreams into a collective playlist that echoed Zs’ calls for empathy and unity.

Ready to put these Gen Z trends to the test?

Create your first ad and make a real connection advertising to Gen Z—and don’t forget to download our Culture Next report to get the inside scoop on what makes Zs tick.


  1. Spotify First Party data, Q1-Q2 2023 vs. Q1-Q2 2022. 2, 3: Spotify First Party data, Q1-Q2 2023 vs. Q1-Q2 2022.
  2. Gen Z Has $360 Billion to Spend, Trick Is Getting Them to Buy, Bloomberg. November 2021
  3. Cost of Living Crisis Spurs “Failure to Launch" among Gen Z, Intuit. June 2022 6, 7: Spotify Culture Next survey, June 2023.
  4. Gen Z's growing buying power pushes companies to innovate, Insider Intelligence. July 2023

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