YouTube and Instagram are the leading social media platforms among Gen Zers broadly – but TikTok is number one for girls, and YouTube and Instagram tie in first place for boys.
That’s according to research conducted by Joy Ventures and getWizer, which tracked Gen Z’s social media habits in the US during March 2021, among a representative sample of males and females aged 15-24.
The study found that while YouTube is the platform most are active on, Instagram is the platform they use the most, followed in second place by TikTok.
When gender is taken into account, however, TikTok rises to number one for girls, while YouTube and Instagram tie in first place for boys.
The study highlights the importance of segmented targeting for organisations seeking to engage and influence Gen Z audiences – with TikTok ranking as the leading platform for those aged 15-17, while Instagram is favoured most by those aged between 18-20, and Facebook leads the way for the 21-24 age group.
“We were surprised at how varied social media usage is among Gen Z depending on age and gender,” says Shani Broner, SVP Global Research, getWizer.
“This is incredibly valuable information for brands looking to use social media to connect with Gen Z.”
The research also shed further light on social media patterns throughout the day, with Snapchat being the platform most Gen Zers wake up with in the morning, while TikTok is the app they go to sleep with.
Morning usage, however, sees little variation between the age groups, but those aged 17-20 are most likely to use social media immediately before they fall asleep.
“Getting to understand Gen Z social media habits and behaviours enables us to support our entrepreneurs in the well-being space, with the goal of developing innovative products that meet consumers where they are,” says Miri Polachek, CEO of Joy Ventures.
Highlighting the addictive nature of social media, 20 per cent of respondents say they spend five hours or more on TikTok while 18 per cent spend a similar amount of time on YouTube. Gen Z finds these most addictive platforms in terms of the time spent using them every day.
Only 21 per cent set clearly defined time limits for their social media usage, whereas 34 per cent use the platforms with no regard for how long they spend using them. Interestingly, 26 per cent of boys set a time limit, whereas only 17 per cent of girls do likewise.
Gen Z’s interaction with social media platforms also satisfies various needs. Instagram, for example, is the number one destination for Gen Zers when it comes to connecting and interacting with one another. YouTube, on the other hand, is the go-to platform when they are seeking information or just want to pass time — if they are bored, sad, or alone.