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5 key reasons audio ads are the best way to target Gen Z



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April 19, 2023 | 6 min read

Born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, Gen Z is the first generation to have grown up in a completely digital world

Born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, Gen Z is the first generation to have grown up in a completely digital world. Now they're entering adulthood and starting to make their mark as consumers — and their impact is already being felt in every corner of the economy.

With their unique attitudes, values and expectations, Gen Z is actively shaping the future of business and challenging marketers to adapt to a new kind of customer profile.

And of the ad channels doing well to break through to ‘Zoomer’ audiences these days, digital audio — which has grown 71% since 2021— is quickly establishing itself as one of the favorites. Here's why.

1. Audio ads are mobile-friendly

Gen Z is a mobile-first generation, and it goes without saying that they spend a lot of time on their smartphones. Digital audio ads, such as podcasts or music streaming ads, are easily accessible on mobile devices, making them an effective way to reach this demographic.

As a matter of fact, audio streaming ranks as Gen Z's number one mobile activity and 64% of Z’s and Millennials now call themselves regular podcasters. (Reflecting this trend, podcast ad budgets swelled 47% last year alone). Moreover, 94% of Zoomers cite listening to music as either an important or very important part of their lives.

So it should almost come as no surprise that audio ads have found their groove with Gen Z: because, clearly, they’re all a bunch of audiophiles to begin with.

2. Gen Z despises displays

Gen Z has easily been exposed to more advertising than any other consumer group before them. The downside of that is now a lot of them have grown up hating online advertising as a result. Especially display ads.

Nearly two-thirds of Z's use ad blockers. And if they do happen to see an ad, most of their time is spent looking for a way to close it. This same ad avoidance extends to video as well. According to that same survey, Zoomers will choose the skip button over the play button 99% of the time if given the option.

But audio ads, on the other hand, they don't seem to mind.

That's because since the days of radio, audio advertisements have always been an accepted part of the listening experience. So they're generally not perceived as too disruptive or annoying. It also helps that the hands-free nature of listening to music and podcasts can make their ads rather hard to skip.

Though for all of these reasons, it’s normal for an audio ad campaign to have listen-through-rates (LTRs) in the high 90s, which is to say over 95% of listeners will enjoy an entire 30-second promo all the way through.

Enough time to get even the most distracted of Z's attention.

3. Multitasking = multiple touchpoints

Gen Z is famously known for doing too much. But the good thing about their constant multitasking, as it relates to audio ads, is that you can still effectively market them in the middle of all sorts of activities - working out, commuting, partying, studying, you name it.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to reach them too, as the average Zoomer clocks almost 4 hours of music listening every single day. A whole 40 minutes more than everyone else.

4. Audio ads are getting personal

It's not to say Gen Z hates all online advertising. It's just the general and overly promotional ones in particular.

When asked about it, 81% of Z’s said they actually welcome highly personalized ads. Having spent a lifetime being broadly bombarded with celebrity spots, they would rather hear from brands that speak genuinely, and directly, to them.

And to help meet those needs, today's audio adtech has gotten more and more precise at offering targeting options around behaviors, interests, and other contextual data to make your messaging even more relevant and personal to your listeners.

5. Gen Z are emotional

Gen Z are an emotional bunch, and one of the best ways to appeal to their wallet is through their heart. The majority of Z’s agree that they’re more inclined to buy from companies who are aligned with their values. While brands nowadays are increasingly turning to audio formats to tell their story.

We already know Gen Z aren't the biggest fans of display ads, but there's only so much that can be conveyed in an image with a few words anyways. If you really want to connect with younger, distracted audiences it helps to have real voices do the talking.

And for a group of music and podcast lovers that's constantly on their phones, on the go, and in their “feels”—audio ads are proving that they can resonate with Gen Z on a deeper, emotional level. Which should help any business build loyalty among their next generation of customers.


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