Trying to reach Gen Z? They’re listening… to podcasts. With an estimated 24 million Gen Z listeners per month, podcasts have become an unexpectedly effective tool for engaging with this powerful but elusive generation of consumers.

With their unique worldview and extra-particular brand preferences, Gen Z is one consumer group that advertisers are still working to connect with and understand. Fortunately, recent data from SXM Media and Edison Research is helping to provide some potential direction. The key takeaway? Podcasts are in.

Podcast popularity is growing (like, a lot)

While many brands are focusing on social media to reach Gen Z, the majority are overlooking the power, potential, and popularity of podcasts. According to 2023 data, almost half of Gen Z consumers listen to podcasts on a monthly basis – a 57 percent increase from just five years ago.

Not only is listenership increasing, but so is engagement. Among Gen Z listeners, 75 percent cite having listened to a podcast within the past week and 78 percent even say they enjoy binge-listening. In fact, Gen Z listeners spend an average of 7.7 hours per week listening to podcasts. This provides advertisers an almost too-good-to-be-true opportunity to connect with the sought-after customer base.

Information shouldn’t go in one ear and out the other

It’s not enough just to catch Gen Z’s attention, you have to keep it too – and podcasts are an incredibly effective way to do so. The studies found that 47 percent of Gen Z listeners say they are more likely to remember brands promoted on podcasts and 43 percent have actually bought a product after hearing about it on a podcast. Additionally, a whopping 83 percent of Gen Z listeners have visited a brand’s website after hearing about it on a podcast. Despite what older generations may say about these youngins, they clearly do know how to listen.

What’s the best way to make your podcast ad stick? According to the research, Gen Z listeners most enjoy when the podcast host directly discusses products and services.

Social media is a gateway media

You may be wondering how Gen Z listeners are finding their podcasts and well, the answer is quite on brand for the digital delinquents – social media, of course! Yes, unsurprisingly, 85 percent of Gen Z listeners engage with podcasts through social media. Over 80 percent cite using YouTube or TikTok to discover podcasts and 70 percent say they do so using Instagram. So while Gen Z is exploring the realm of audio entertainment, social media still serves as a homebase for information and a gateway to the podcast world.

Connect with the correct content

There is an endless array of podcasts out in the audio universe, but which ones are getting the most attention? According to SXM and Edison Research, comedy, celebrity gossip, true crime, music, and hobby podcasts are all raking in the most listeners. Additionally, over 90 percent of Gen Z listeners prefer to hear their content as real-life stories, back-and-forth banter, or interviews.

As you can see, podcasts are providing more than just entertainment. Listeners are searching for knowledge, advice, world updates, and yeah – maybe even a few laughs. This allows for any and all brands to find a podcast that fits with their specific image. Connect your brand to the right podcast content, and you can vastly expand your potential customer base.

Podcasts are a major media being consumed by Gen Z and should not be overlooked by advertisers. With the sheer amount of monthly podcast listeners and the almost excessive engagement, brands are now faced with ample opportunities to connect with the world’s newest generation of consumers. So if you have something to say, go on and say it. Gen Z is listening.

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