As Millennials Go Through Life, Radio is There to Reach Them

Author: Victor Texcucano, Content Coordinator, RAB

While the oldest are now nearing their mid-40s and the youngest not yet 30, millennials now represent the largest generation group in the U.S. The U.S. Census in 2022 estimated that there were more than 72.24 million millennials.

Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials fall within the age range often considered the time when people go through the biggest life changes. Whether they are getting married, buying a home or a car, adopting pets or planting a backyard garden, millennials are a consumer base that arguably should be one of the most important to advertisers currently.

Millennials grew up in a world before smartphones, and they have certainly had to adapt to the digital revolution in the early 2000s. Reaching millennials comes with nuances. For one, millennials react well to nostalgia.

A 2023 report by GWI notes that 59% of millennials like it when they see brands or companies use old ads or logos, so brands shouldn’t be shy about reminding this consumer group why they fell in love with their brand in the first place. Millennials, obviously, are nostalgic for the 1990s, which is when they were children.

Sixty-four percent of people that agree that they buy the brands they grew up with are radio-listening millennials, per MRI-Simmons data. The brands that their parents bought are the brands that still resonate with them.

Millennials also want inclusivity from brands. Millennials tend to care more about social issues than the average American. Equal rights, as well as diversity and inclusion are more important to millennials than Gen X or baby boomers, and one in four think traditional gender roles are outdated.

When it comes to issues like body positivity, sexual health, gender equality, LGBT+ rights, anti-racism, disability rights and other similar issues, millennials want to support brands who place importance on these topics. The GWI report also states that two-thirds of U.S. millennials would boycott a brand or company for homophobic, racist or transphobic behavior or views.

According to MRI-Simmons, 62% of millennials listen to the radio each week, and 34% of radio-listening millennials agree that they buy from brands that support social causes they care about. An additional 40% say they go out of their way to buy products that are environmentally safe.

Millennials also spend a significant time with audio, so reaching them this way should be paramount for advertisers. The GWI report notes millennials spend one hour daily listening to broadcast radio and an additional 1:03 listening to podcasts.

Millennials not only have the highest rate of podcast listening when compared to other generations (36%, versus Gen Z – 29%, Gen X – 30%, baby boomers – 5%), but they also spend the most time daily listening to them (1:03, versus Gen Z – 0:59, Gen X – 0:46, baby boomers – 0:31).

As a large consumer base, advertisers should not only work to maintain millennials as purchasers of their products but also target them for brand consideration. Their social perspectives and expectations are key for brand success. Brands should appeal to millennials’ affinity for nostalgia and promote their support of social causes. As a medium that is tuned in and listened to by millennials, and one that engages emotionally, broadcast radio can drive these brand messages.


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