Audience

5 Teen Audience Trends and What They Mean for Brands

Casey Fandacone, Manager, Sales MarketingJan 31, 2024

From what’s hot, to the latest slang, to their parents’ lives, teenagers are running it. Thirteen to 17-year-olds are setting trends and influencing household budgets as they get ready to take over the world. For brands, connecting with these powerful definers of what’s cool and relevant is critical. And with teens representing $65B in annual spending, the potential payoff for advertisers is huge.

Decoding the Teen Mindset

Though we’ve all been there, what defines the teen years is unique from one generation to the next. And understanding who they are and how they express themselves is the first step to resonating with them. So, let’s dig into some key teen audience trends that can help brands build a connection with today’s youth.

1. Culture Is at the Center of Teen Life

As members of Gen Z, teenagers are a part of the most culturally diverse generation ever—and culture is central to their identities. Nearly five in 10 teens identify as multicultural, with 50% of teens saying their race and ethnicity is important to defining their identity. And, like so many generations before them, music is a key vehicle of both self and cultural expression.

The vastness of the music landscape at their fingertips allows teens to find the tempos, lyrics, and melodies that reflect their interests and the uniqueness of their cultures and communities. Over four in 10 teens say music preference is important when defining their identity, and one in three feel their musical tastes represent their culture/identity.

Advice for Brands: Follow the Culture

As a part of the most diverse generation ever, teens require a culture-first strategy from brandsstarting with ad your creative. Two in five teens say they prefer ads that feature people of diverse backgrounds, so it’s important for advertisers to feature diverse voices, faces, and stories in their messages. To maximize ad effectiveness, brands should lean into culturally relevant spaces like SoundCloud, where 44% of the audience is multicultural.

2. Teens Are Music Obsessed

The teen years are a time of self-discovery, experimentation, and forging one's identity, and music often plays a central role in this journey. Everyone’s taste in music is personal, but teens take their passion for music to a whole new level. So, it’s not surprising that 99% of 13- to 17-year-olds listen to music—and 79% rate music as a key interest above gaming and movies. Music serves as an outlet for teens to form their identity and express themselves.

Advice for Brands: Press Play on Teen Music 

Bring the music that defines teen audiences into your media strategy to make your brand a part of their lives. From integrating into the genres by sponsoring Pandora stations that teens love, to elevating emerging artists by promoting tracks, advertisers can enhance the music discovery journey. 

3. Content Creation Is in Their DNA

With the ease and power of technology, content creation is more accessible than ever—and teens are savvy and obsessed. Thirteen to 17-year-olds are playing a key role in creating the content that goes viral, defines trends, and influences older generations. From social posts cultivating community, to original songs exploring all-new genres and beats, to podcasts dedicated to niche interests, teens are exploring their passions and connecting with peers through content creation. 

Advice for Brands: Let Them Create 

Teens love an opportunity to express their creativity and get rewarded for it. Give them the opportunities to show off their skills (e.g., with Creator Contests on SoundClound) and leverage the power of their social savvy to generate excitement around your campaign. 

4. Teens Crave Authentic Brand Experiences 

Teens expect more transparency from mainstream media. Over nine in 10 Gen Zers feel that being authentic or true to oneself is extremely/very important, so it’s no wonder “authentic” emerged as the word of the year for 2023. In a time when social media has people questioning truth and reality, podcasts emerge as a sanctuary for authenticity, connecting with teens who are looking for authentic voices.

Advice for Brands: Align with the Voices Teens Love 

Over eight in 10 teens feel that influencers aren’t just trying to sell them something. So, giving the influencers they love the power to speak about your product can help brands build a connection. And podcast hosts are the new, more authentic influencers, allowing advertisers to leverage the medium’s authenticity. 

5. Audio and Video Capture Teens’ Attention

As trends one through four indicate, teens want more from advertisers than the generations that came before them. They want relevance, interaction, and connection. And with all manner of communication and entertainment at their fingertips, teens crave brand experiences that go across platforms, making audio and video integrations the perfect way to reach them.

Advice for Brands: Diversify Your Ad Formats

With teens getting their content fix across platforms and mediums, your ads should reflect a diverse set of formats. Find more ways to reach them through the content they're avidly consuming while creating opportunities to engage.

Inspiring brand loyalty with teens is not one-size-fits-all, but we’re here to help you resonate—and we reach 59% of US teens online (that’s 12M 13- to 17-year-old listeners). With SiriusXM Media, brands can incorporate a variety of ad formats into a campaign, including audio (of course), video, display, and more. And we have the content, sponsorship opportunities, and targeting capabilities to get your message into their ears.

Let’s chat to see how our insights can help your brand identify authentic ways to reach today’s teens.

Sources

  • 1.

    Piper Sandler, Taking Stock with Teens, 2022

  • 2.

    US Office of population Affairs

  • 3.

    SiriusXM Media, Gen Z & Millennial Study, P13-17, March 2022

  • 4.

    GWI Q4 2022

  • 5.

    Comscore SiriusXM Media Custom Study, July 2023 Base: US Ages 13-17

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