A few studies have emerged recently about the growing untapped potential of kids’ podcasts.
When you read about studies on young audiences, it’s easy to think none of it is relevant to you. If you’re not explicitly creating kids’ podcast content, why should you care?
In reality, there are a whole load of reasons why you should care about getting our youngest listener demographic – ‘Generation Alpha’ – on your radar.
Let’s take a look at who exactly Generation Alpha are, why you should start thinking about this demographic right now and how to appeal more to them with your podcast content.
Who Are Generation Alpha?
Generation Alpha (also known as ‘Gen Alpha’ or ‘Gen A’) listeners are those born roughly between 2010 and 2025. So, if you were born today, you’d be Gen Alpha. The oldest members of this demographic are 13 years old right now, so there’s some overlap with Generation Z.
As Gen Alpha are still being born, it can be difficult to characterise them or establish clear trends at the moment. But what we can say about Gen A right now is:
Most are online from birth. Their parents are millennials, so most of Gen A are on social media before they even understand what it is. They’re even more immersed in the online world than Gen Z
They’re the first generation where online streaming has been normalised from early childhood
They’re often referred to as ‘Generation COVID’ because they’re the first generation to grow up in a post-COVID world characterised by remote classrooms, socialising online and doing schoolwork almost entirely on a screen.
They’re natives to AI. Asking Siri, Alexa and chatbots like ChatGPT to find answers for them is pretty standard to Gen Alpha.
Why You Should Care About Gen Alpha
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of paying attention to Gen Z podcast listeners (now the fastest-growing segment of podcast listeners on Spotify, FYI). But what about the generation that comes next?
Here are a few reasons to get Gen Alpha on your radar right now:
Gen alpha listenership is growing
More than 2.8 million Gen Alphas are born every week, and they’re expected to reach 2 billion by 2025. This is a huge (and growing) segment of the population. And studies are already showing that podcast listenership is growing rapidly amongst children under 13.
For example, we know that 49% of 6-12 year olds in the US now listen to podcasts.
And of those kids who listen, 91% listen (or watch) podcasts on a weekly basis, and almost half (48%) listen every day.
93% of parents surveyed in a UTA study also said their kids have become more interested in podcasts over the last twelve months (between 2022-2023). Looks like we’re entering a big growth period with this demographic, too.
They’re listening with their parents
Thanks to two years of lockdowns, ‘Generation COVID’ are used to spending a lot of time at home with their parents. This means they’ve naturally picked up some of their listening habits, and this naturally involves podcasts.
Reaching Generation Alpha isn’t just about gaining young listeners. A study by Edison suggests as much as 68% of parents listen to podcasts along with their children. So, in this sense, creating child-friendly content has the potential to double your listener engagement as you’ll be reaching their parents, too.
Gen A is a massively untapped audience for podcasters
There are so many things about Gen A that sets them up to be podcast enthusiasts. They’re extremely tech-native and a generation of everyday streamers.
It’s likely we’ll see the industry giving a lot more attention to kids’ podcasts in the near future, too, as studies are revealing a multitude of benefits. For example, podcasts have been reported to improve grades and self-esteem among young people.
Gen A comes with (ethical) monetization opportunities
Monetizing your podcast with a young audience probably doesn’t sound lucrative, or perhaps something you’d be comfortable doing. But there are ways to do it ethically and within the law.
A recent study suggests parents are keen to pay for podcast content that they know their kids enjoy. The survey showed that 9 in 10 parents with children who consume podcasts at least monthly were willing to pay for a podcast subscription.
Brands are also talking a lot about the potential of Gen A already:
“We’re going to see a lot more happening with Gen Alpha in the next two to three years”
Christina O’Toole, VP of marketing at Refuel Agency. Source: Marketing Brew.
How to Create Gen Alpha-friendly Podcast Content
Creating podcast content that appeals to Gen Alpha isn’t just about starting a kids’ podcast (although that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea – use our AI-powered Showplanner tool to firm up any kids’ podcast plans you might have).
Reaching this audience is about creating content that’s at least inclusive and accessible to young listeners. That way, parents will be more likely to share it with their kids.
A few things that will make your podcasts more Gen A friendly:
Short episode length
Research suggests keeping your podcast between 11 and 20 minutes long is the sweet spot for Gen Alpha. Demand for mini-podcasts is generally high, so experimenting with shorter content could be a good thing to try.
Keep a conversational tone (you can’t build parasocial relationships with young people if you sound like their school teacher) and avoid using a lot of complicated words. If you do need to use a complex word, make sure you explain or define it. Essentially, just keeping under-12s in mind when creating your content will help you cover this. As a writer, the general practice when writing for the web is to always write for someone with the reading ability of a 12-year-old. Podcasts should be no different.
Use storytelling techniques
We know that using storytelling techniques is always good for podcasts. But when you’re aiming to grab (and hold) the attention of young people, it becomes way more important.
As the ‘tablet generation,’ Gen Alpha have been using portable screens since early childhood. So much so that some even say Gen A have been “raised by YouTube.” So it’s not so surprising that it’s the most common way this generation consumes audio: 88% of young people listen to podcasts on YouTube, compared to just 55% on Spotify.
Optimise for voice search
This might be hard for a lot of us to imagine, but most of Gen Alpha don’t know the search engines outside of voice search. Before they can even read, they’re shouting at Alexa and Siri to find and play their favourite programs and YouTube clips. This shows just how important it is to optimise your podcast for voice search.
Optimise for AI
While AI tools like ChatGPT are still pretty mindblowing to most millennials and even Gen Zs, Gen Alpha are growing up with AI. Over the next few years, it’s going to be much more normal to them to ask ChatGPT for podcast recommendations than doing their own research through search engines.
Futureproof your podcast with Gen A
So, while you might not be gunning for an audience of under-13s for your podcast, there are loads of benefits to making your content more inclusive to Gen A right now.
The more we know about the next generation of listeners and what their needs and listening habits are, the more futureproof our podcasts will be – and the sooner we can start tapping into this demographic with our content.