By Arjun Kolady
For a while now, brands have been looking for more impactful ways to connect with the often-distracted-by-excess-information generation of Zs. The onset of the pandemic accelerated the shift in marketing campaigns as brands sought fresher ways to reach this audience through digital mediums and build cultural relevance. And in all this, audio emerged stronger than ever before.
The Z’s affinity to stream audio across devices, and increased interest in music and podcasts, owing to screen fatigue and doom scrolling has put audio front and center. With millions of Z’s streaming music to accompany their moments, here’s all you need to know on what makes audio an indispensable part of their ‘everyday,’ and why marketers cannot ignore the role of audio in their brand communication.
Zs don’t just listen to music, they are living it to amplify or escape their surroundings
Music is an integral part of how this generation balances their digitally saturated and socially distanced lives. Songs that help them relax and unwind or soundtrack their daily activities, play an important role in expressing and feeling their emotions. In fact, findings from our recent Culture Next report show that in India, 80 per cent of Gen Zs feel more centered and generally happier when listening to their favourite music, daily.
This opens up opportunities for advertisers to engage with listeners during moments when they feel connected to themselves. The willingness of consumers to listen to an advertisement allows brands to strategically place uncluttered, region specific, and perfectly timed audio ads that resonate with the Zs.
Through playlists, every mood and moment is an opportunity to tap into a highly engaged Z
Gen Z has grown up on the internet, often reposting, remixing, and rehashing culture through social connections that they build online. They discover new songs, artists and trends through social sharing, whether friends or like-minded communities This is a huge opportunity for advertisers to speak the generation’s lingo and become a part of social conversations through personalized playlists, music that speaks to a cause, or even artist advocacy programs.
Customized playlists are also a great tool for brands to connect with Zs through contextual, immersive, relevant, and original ads. For instance, an e-commerce clothing brand can associate with a shopping themed playlist during big Indian festivals like Diwali or a fitness brand can collaborate with a health-conscious artist to curate an upbeat workout playlist.
Podcasts create a sense of trust and brands are listening
In the Culture Next Report this year, nearly 50% of the Gen Zs ranked their trust in podcasts higher than their average trust in traditional media sources, including national TV news, newspapers, and radio. Not only that. The average podcast listenership increased over 300% among Zs, year-on-year, and for nearly 70% of them the podcast hosts “sometimes feel like a friend”.
The wide array of podcasts, diversity of creators, and open discussions create an intimate connection between creators and listeners while also building a sense of trust. Advertisers can build on this momentum through the creation of custom podcast ads and content integrations that result in an increase in the listener’s awareness about the brand in a trusted, wholesome, and lean-in environment.
While listener connection with audio has always been strong, the easy access to every genre of music and every type of podcast on streaming platforms has made this connection even deeper. Audio is the most immersive form of media and now is the time for brands to create communities and campaigns based on common interests and passion of consumers who matter to them.
The author is the head of sales at Spotify India. Views expressed are personal.