Reaching youth audience through audio

“The youth of today!”

That’s what people say because they don’t understand them. But the youth audience are who you want to buy your products, who you want to utilise your services – they are your future customers. Brands and advertisers need to learn to understand the needs, wants, and desires of the youth market and identify the best way to engage with them.

Let’s start by breaking down who we are talking to:

  • Gen Z’s are aged 15 to 25
  • Millennials are aged 26 to 40

This is the youth audience many brands like yours are looking to speak to and engage with through their advertising campaigns. This blog will explore how these youth groups consume audio and how advertisers can use audio to best reach this tough to crack market.

How do Gen Z and Millennials consume audio?

According to Spotify’s 2021 Culture Next report, audio plays an vital part in how youth feel in their day to day lives.

Emotional effects of audio on youth market
Spotify 2021 Culture Next report

71% of Spotify free listeners are under 35 and the podcast streaming median age is 27

Spotify 2021 Culture Next report

This shows us that audio helps younger people to reduce their stress levels, feel more centred and generally feel happier in themselves. This research also shows us that a huge percentage of under 35’s are streaming free music via Spotify, a platform which offers extensive advertising opportunities. Plus, the average median age of a podcast listener is 27, again, an opportunity for advertisers looking to target a younger audience.

The IPA Touchpoints 2019 research shows us Gen Z and Millennial audio listening habits broken down as Live radio vs Music Streaming. What you will notice is that there is a slight difference between both sets of youth groups with Gen Z preferring to stream music and Millennials preferring to listen to live radio. Both great opportunities for advertisers which we will cover off in more detail later.

How advertisers can use audio to engage with Gen Z and Millennials?

Research carried out by Essence Global has discovered that when looking to engage Gen Z in audio campaigns there are some clear fundamental priorities:

  • Be native and non-interruptive: formats such as podcast host-reads, sponsored playlists, and good old fashioned radio promotions within shows.
  • Offer rewards: Gen Z are fiercely protective of their time and their spaces but understand value exchange, so look at formats such as Spotify’s Sponsored Sessions.
  • Be relevant: understand and respect need-state and mindset. Morning listening is about listeners setting themselves up for the day. Other times of day require a different vibe.
  • Be authentic: leverage young audio talent – trusted and relatable voices are key. See host reads/presenter promotions again and think carefully about who voices your ad.
  • Leverage music: it gets ads noticed and remembered.
  • Use humour and a hook: witness the popularity of TikTok and learn from it; feel free to be silly and NEVER underestimate the power of a catchy jingle!

Read their full findings here.

As a brand looking to reach and engage with the notoriously tough youth market, audio is a fantastic arrow to your bow. We know that they are listening to live radio, they are music streaming and that they are avid fans of podcasts. So as an advertiser, how can you reach them?

  • Live radio advertising campaigns on youth branded radio stations such as Kiss, Kiss Fresh, Capital or Capital XTRA, all guaranteeing strong national reach.
  • Music streaming services such as Spotify or DAX where you can run targeted ads to your desired audience who are streaming their favourite playlists and podcasts. A key fact to remember here – 71% of free Spotify listeners are under 35 so we know that this is where this audience have been hiding!
  • Podcast sponsorship and host read ads offer advertisers a native way to enter the audio conversation. By naturally weaving your advertising message into the podcast presenter’s narrative, this will provide cut through to your desired audience.

If your brand is looking to reach the youth market and you’d like to explore your options with audio, to speak to one of our audio experts today at We channel our love for all things audio into delivering the best campaigns in the business for our clients. We are your expert audio advertising department, trusted to handle our client’s clients – the agency’s agency. Check out our website here.