TikTok Overtakes Instagram in Teen Social Preference

November 2, 2020

This article is included in these additional categories:

Demographics & Audiences | Digital | Featured | Social Media | Teens & Younger | Video

PiperSandler Teens Favorite Social Platform Oct2020It hasn’t taken long for TikTok to become a favorite among US teenagers. Indeed, after being deemed the third favorite social platform for teens in Spring of this year, it has sailed past Instagram to become the #2 platform for teens during Fall 2020, per the most recent report on teens from Piper Sandler.

In its latest semi-annual survey of 9,800 US teens, Piper Sandler reveals that 34% cited Snapchat as their favorite social media platform, a position it’s held since 2016. Although Instagram has been working hard for the past couple of years to win the hearts of teens, its share of teens who consider the platform their favorite has dropped to 25%.

At the same time, the share of teens who named TikTok as their favorite has more than doubled in about six months’ time, rising from 13% in Spring to 29% in this latest survey. Although usage of TikTok was already growing among young people, COVID-19 and the resulting school closures and stay-at-home mandates during the early months of the pandemic led to an increase in the amount of time kids are spending with the app.

In the meantime, the share of teens who consider Twitter and Facebook to be their favorite dropped from 4% each to 3% and 2%, respectively.

Instagram Retains Lead in Engagement

This most recent survey found that the average teen reported spending 12 hours per week on social media. It’s safe to say that a lot of that time is likely spent on Instagram. Although the platform dropped to the third favorite among teens, it retains the widest adoption among teens, with 84% reporting that they use Instagram at least once a month.

The good news for brands is that, per recent data from AudienceProject, more than one-third of Instagram users ages 15 and older use the platform to follow brands.

With the second-highest engagement, Snapchat is used by 8 in 10 teens, down slightly from 82% this past spring. By contrast, TikTok adoption is on the rise — up to 69%, compared to 62% when it debuted on the list in Spring.

Twitter (39%), Pinterest (32%) and Facebook (28%) trail TikTok distantly in engagement, while LinkedIn, not surprisingly, sits at the bottom of the list with only 3% of teens using the platform at least once a month.

Netflix Remains on Top in Video Consumption

Amid indications that video consumption among adults has risen as a result of the pandemic, there has been little change between Spring and Fall insofar as the percentage of time teens spend daily on the various platforms consuming video. Netflix remains at the top of the list, with the average teen spending 34% of their daily video consumption on the platform.

Netflix is followed closely by YouTube (32% share), while far less time is spent with cable TV (9%), Hulu (7%) and Disney+ (6%).

Although cable TV has retained its #3 spot in daily video consumption, the survey shows a steady increase of households without cable. Some 35% of teens report that they do not have cable TV in their home, with this up from 32% in Fall 2019 and 25% in Fall 2018.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 9,800 US teens with an average age of 15.8.

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