Reach Your Target Audiences With Spotify (PART 1)

Could targeted Spotify ads help your college or university to break through the noise and reach the Gen Z and millennial prospects you seek?

With over 240 million listeners enjoying an average of 25 hours of ad-supported content every month, Spotify is the world’s leading music and podcast streaming platform. And while online and mobile streaming continues to gain in popularity across all age groups, the majority of Spotify’s users are under 35, making it an ideal channel to reach Gen Z and millennial prospects while they study, exercise, and work.

What’s more, Spotify makes it easy for advertisers to fine-tune their audience with advanced targeting tools that go beyond the usual demographic and geographic parameters. With flexible creative options, a minimum spend of just $250, and access to real-time analytics, it’s easy for higher ed marketers to get started with their first Spotify campaign – and Lightstream is ready to help.

Sound intriguing? Read on for more info about the importance of engaging Gen Z and millennial consumers and how Spotify can drive that goal.

📣 FAST FACT: Audio ads drive 24% higher recall on average compared to display ads.



Your mid- and late-Gen Z audiences are the right target for recruiting traditional college students. They are the high school students considering their prospects, community college attendees planning a transfer, young adults who’ve taken a few years after high school to work and figure things out, and current college students who are not completely satisfied with their current campus.  According to the Pew Research Center, Gen Z is the most likely to go to college, compared with previous generations; they consider education highly important; and they enjoy a hands-on approach to learning.

Millennials are the most educated generation in American history (so far). According to Pew Research Center statistics from 2019, 39% of millennials have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Those who have already completed their undergraduate degrees are prime candidates for graduate programs that will allow them to advance in their careers or make a change. Those who have not could be seeking affordable, accessible, nontraditional educational programs like hybrid and online offerings.


Here’s how you can use this popular audio platform to engage with your ideal audiences:

  1. Go Mobile-First: What better way to promote your college’s or university’s digital prowess than on a digital channel? Position your Spotify ads to focus on your tools that make routine tasks easier, like virtual campus tours and online applications, as well as your social communication channels. In combination with broader messaging, this can boost brand awareness as well as your credibility as a college or university that respects people’s busy lives.
  2. Focus on Device Type: As we’ve noted, Spotify’s overall customer base trends young. But you can further hone in on Gen Z and millennial audiences – while avoiding any potential age-related targeting restrictions – by sending ads only to mobile devices. Around 95% of Gen Zers and millennials own smartphones.
  3. Target by Topic: Most people equate Spotify with music, but it’s also increasingly the go-to platform for podcasts – especially for members of Gen Z who prefer Spotify to Apple® Podcasts by a wide margin. You can target ads to appear on podcasts favored by these demographics – focused on everything from comedy to wellness and self-improvement to true crime stories.
  4. Seize the (Micro) Moment: Audio plays an integral role in many everyday activities like driving, studying, working (especially at home), cooking, cleaning, and exercising. Many users have specific playlists for these tasks, and you can target them by keyword to deliver perfectly timed pitches. Plus, you can take advantage of Spotify’s contextual targeting capabilities to deploy multiformat campaigns that display complementary video and still-image content when users are actively scrolling.
  5. Tap Into Psychographics: Custom playlists can also reflect transitory moods and mindsets. Someone listening to a playlist named “Calming” might appreciate a low-key message of reassurance, while “Summer Dance Mix” might call for something more irreverent and celebratory. Creative options like these are great for A/B testing – you can try out two very different approaches and see which one drives more conversions.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll cover the different types of Spotify ads and tips for crafting ads that inform, entertain, and convert.

📣 FAST FACT: Lightstream currently serves dozens of higher ed institutions from coast to coast.

Since the earliest days of streaming, search engine marketing, and social media, we’ve been helping colleges and universities use these powerful tools to their fullest potential. What are you hoping to achieve with your next marketing initiative? Reach out to our digital strategists today, tell us your story, and find out how we can support your goals.