Spotify’s Liz Song explains how music streaming and financial services advertising can work together to support Gen Zs and millennials throughout their financial journey.

Traditionally, the consumer journey for financial services and insurance was marked by major life milestones: landing a first job, getting married, buying a house. These discrete inflection points, however, are no longer enough for financial services and insurance brands to engage Gen Zs and millennials. To connect with these valuable audiences, it’s more effective for brands to play a consistent part in their daily moments – big and small.

The Gen Z and millennial opportunity

Reaching Gen Zs and millennials now is an imperative for today’s financial services providers (FSPs) if they are to sustain future growth. These generations have yet to hit peak profitability (that’ll happen in the 2030s for millennials, and around 2050 for Gen Z1), although the oldest millennials are already almost 40 years old, well into their earning and child-raising years. They have and will use many financial products as their needs continue to mature.

And yet, only 57% of millennials in the US are financially literate,2 as many feel unsure how to achieve their financial goals. For instance, half of millennials want to invest in the market but don’t know where to start, compared with 32% of Gen X and less than 20% of Baby Boomers.3 Similarly, Gen Zs still have a lot to learn, despite taking control of their finances at an earlier age than other generations; in fact, 72% stress about finances.4

They need guidance on how to best pay off student loans, budget for everyday expenses, secure the right insurance coverage, and save for retirement, but Gen Zs and millennials tend to distrust financial institutions.3 Millennials, in particular, remember how difficult it was to find a job after graduating college during the Great Recession and know their lower starting salaries mean reduced lifetime income.

As digital natives, Gen Zs and millennials are used to instant information – so they’re more discerning consumers at a time when there’s more choice of FSPs and switching is easy. When it comes to financial and insurance products, they seek digital-first solutions that offer maximum convenience, flexibility, speed, and personalization.

What it means for your brand

To connect with Gen Zs and millennials in the right moments — not just major life milestones, but also their daily routines — you need to meet them where they are. Specifically, on mobile-first platforms as they engage with content that matters to them.

For example, nearly two-thirds of the Spotify Free audience is made up of listeners aged 16-345 and multi-device users are streaming for 2+ hours a day6. Brands have an opportunity to drive incremental reach to connect with an otherwise hard-to-reach audience, whilst high engagement levels generate first-party, contextual data that reveals moods, mindsets, habits, and tastes in the moment.

Plus, audio has a unique presence in daily moments that other platforms can’t reach. In these screenless moments — like cooking, working out, and studying — listeners turn to Spotify to soundtrack their lives with the podcasts and playlists they love. One consequence is that over two-thirds of users consider Spotify a trustworthy and credible brand,7 which is crucial for the financial services sector when it comes to connecting with this audience.

When we put all this together, we were able to drive a 22 point lift in ad recall for insurance brand Nationwide in a multi-format campaign targeting 25-49 year-olds. In particular, younger millennials (aged 24-34) outperformed for attribute rating (associating Nationwide with protection) and favorability.

So as the Gen Z and millennial audience take each new step on their financial journey – from day-to-day budgeting to long-term planning – FSI brands should consider music streaming an increasingly important channel for their marketing efforts.


1. “Bank Branches Are Dead. Long Live the Branch!” The Financial Brand, August 2020

2. “Millennials and Financial Literacy: A Global Perspective,” Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, May 2017

3. “A Guarded Generation: How Millennials View Money and Investing,” The Wall Street Journal, March 2020

4. Logica Future of Money Study, October 2019

5. GlobalWebIndex, Spotify Free Users, US, FY 2020

6. Spotify First Party Data, Global, 2019, based on daily content hours / daily active users, free users multiplatform

7. Spotify Brand Tracker, US Spotify Users, 2020 Average

A version of this piece originally appeared on Spotify Advertising