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What Advertisers Need to Know About Gen Z & The Future of Digital Audio According to Spotify



Spotify, the world leader in audio streaming, dropped the third volume of Culture Next, the Annual Global Culture and Trends Report, designed to give advertisers an inside look into what inspires and motivates millennials and Gen Zs

This year’s report explores how Gen Zs and millennials are navigating a common challenge - rebuilding culture from the ground up as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to upend our idea of “normalcy and the ongoing global movement for social justice ” - and the role of digital audio in their lives as they drive us forward.

Culture Next looks at the differences and commonalities in how millennials and Gen Zs are engaging with and driving culture, and the best ways for marketers to use digital audio to thoughtfully connect with them. 

Why Spotify? With 71% of Spotify Free listeners under the age of 35 and the median age of our podcast listeners being 27 (March 2021), Spotify is the go-to authority on how Gen Z and millennial audiences are consuming, curating, and creating digital audio content. It’s how we know Olivia Rodrigo is the great uniter between Gen Z and millennials with “drivers license” being the most streamed song by both generations on the Spotify "Top 50 - Global" chart year-to-date (additional ranking data can be found below).

Below, we’ve included key findings from the study which highlights the unique ways Gen Zs and millennials are leveraging podcasts, embracing diversity and ultimately becoming the ‘Curation Generations.’ Assembled through dozens of interviews with listeners, creators, and advertising execs in 18 countries, along with a combination of qualitative, quantitative, and first-party data analysis, we’ve identified the most influential trends shaping the future of audio and advertising. The data in the report is localised for 16 markets globally.

You can download the full report HERE, as well as an infographic showcasing the study results HERE

Culture Next Key findings include: 

 

  • 70% of millennials and 62% of Gen Zs believe that streaming platforms at-large, including audio, have significantly shaped how they discover and connect with broader culture.
  • 55% of millennials and 47% of Gen Zs believe that they have become part of a global community because of either music or podcasts
  • 60% of millennials and 54% of Gen Zs believe brands have the power to create communities based on common interest and passion
    • Leverage podcasts. Podcast creators are fast becoming the 6 o’clock news for Gen Zs who already turn to their phones as their primary news source. The intimate nature of podcasts makes them an ideal medium for advertisers looking to win over new, younger audiences.
      • Among millennials and Gen Zs, 40% ranked their trust in podcasts higher than their average trust in traditional media sources, including national TV news, newspapers, and radio.
      • 62% of millennials and 52% of Gen Zs report using podcasts to learn about social issues.
      • 69% of millennials and 61% of Gen Zs think that audio formats like podcasts are one of the greatest ways to tell stories
    • Embrace diversity. This is worth repeating: Zs are the most racially and culturally diverse generation yet, and they expect brands to reflect, represent, and empower them through their campaigns, talent partnerships, and participation in social justice movements.
      • 62% of millennials and 52% of Gen Zs think that audio amplifies more diverse perspectives than traditional media (e.g. TV, print, etc)
      • 58% of millennials and 48% of Gen Zs have sought content from more diverse creators / podcasts in the last year.
      • 71% of millennials and 61% of Gen Zs have used music as a way to learn about cultures and experiences that differ from their own.

 

Most Streamed Songs by Gen Zs on the "Top 50 - Global" Chart YTD:

1.       drivers license by Olivia Rodrigo

2.       MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X

3.       good 4 u by Olivia Rodrigo

4.       Astronaut In The Ocean by Masked Wolf

5.       Peaches (feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon) by Justin Bieber 

Most Streamed Songs by Millennials on the "Top 50 - Global" Chart YTD:

1.       drivers license by Olivia Rodrigo

2.       Peaches (feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon) by Justin Bieber 

3.       DÁKITI by Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez

4.       Levitating (feat. DaBaby) DaBaby, Dua Lipa

5.       Blinding Lights by The Weeknd

 

Full Methodology:

 

For this issue of Culture Next, Spotify conducted a combination of qualitative, quantitative, and first-party data analysis of Gen Zs (15-25) and millennials (26-40).

  • Surveyed 9,000 Gen Z and millennial respondents in April 2021 (500 respondents per market — 18 markets in total): United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Japan, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Malaysia. 
  • Partnered with youth culture agency Archrival to conduct Zoom focus groups, 40 in-depth interviews, and a dozen ethnographies, ultimately directly speaking to more than four dozen respondents in 16 markets - the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Japan, Australia, the United Arab Emirates
  • Conducted in-depth interviews with artists, podcasters, and advertising industry thought-leaders.
  • Findings were additionally grounded in Spotify’s unique Streaming Intelligence and first-party data.

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