1 in 4 American Youth Say They’re Using TikTok

March 30, 2020

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Digital | Featured | Social Media | Teens & Younger | Youth & Gen X

EdisonResearchTritonDigital Social Brand Usage 12 34 Y O Mar2020Instagram use among younger Americans has been increasing over the past few years, with nearly 7 in 10 (68%) Americans between the ages of 12 and 34 now reporting that they use the popular app. But, while Instagram leads in usage with this age group, the most recent Infinite Dial Report released by Edison Research and Triton Digital reveals that TikTok is also making a splash with youth.

New to the report this year, TikTok has done well in brand awareness, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of the more than 1,500 Americans (ages 12+) surveyed saying they are aware of the social media app. That said, only 11% are using the platform. And, although this pales in comparison to the usage of more established social media platforms like Facebook (63%), Instagram (41%) and Snapchat (31%), TikTok adoption has grown quickly since its release in the US in late 2017.

This is particularly true among younger Americas, with one-quarter (25%) of respondents ages 12-34 reporting they used the app that enables users to create and share short videos. Indeed, separate research has found that the likelihood of 13-16-year olds using TikTok matches that of them using Facebook and Twitter. The current report also shows that TikTok has already become the most used social media platform for a small (3%) share of respondents in that age group.

The quick adoption of TikTok among younger consumers is inviting news for marketers who have committed to increasing their spending on TikTok this year, as well as the 16% of marketers and agencies who plan on using the platform for their influencer campaigns. However, it may not be the platform of choice if they are aiming to engage with older Americans, as only 3% of respondents ages 35+ report that they use TikTok.

Nonetheless, marketers should be prepared to see additional adoption of TikTok, particularly as it is experiencing a surge in usage that has been attributed at least in part to people turning to the app while isolated in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

WhatsApp Usage Grows

WhatsApp is another social media platform enjoying increased usage in the US, albeit modestly. This year, 20% of consumers 12 years old and older say they use WhatsApp, compared to 18% in 2019. As with TikTok, younger users are driving this growth. Some 29% of 12-34-year-olds say they are currently using WhatsApp, up from 23% last year, while usage by users 35+ has not changed from the 15% reported in 2019.

The messaging app, which was recently named the top internet social media brand that US consumers would recommend to a friend or colleague, is also the most used social media brand for 4% of younger consumers.

Facebook Remains the Most Used Platform

While newer social media brands continue to make headway, Facebook has not lost its place at the top of the social media heap. More than three-fifths (63%) of Americans are using Facebook, which is actually up slightly from 2019 (61%) and 2018 (62%).

More than half (54% share) of respondents cite Facebook as the platform they use most often. And, while Facebook usage is highest among 35-54-year-olds (74%), usage has also rebounded slightly with younger individuals (64% vs. 62% in 2019). Nonetheless, the number of younger users who say they use Facebook more than other platforms has dipped considerably in the past 5 years, falling from 58% in 2015 to 32% in 2020.

To read more, find the report here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,502 Americans ages 12+ fielded in January/February 2020.

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