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Gen Z Social Media Preferences

TikTok and Instagram Are in a Battle Over Stories, DMs, and Video

About This Report
Instagram and TikTok are both popular among Gen Z, but this generation shows a preference for one over the other for certain social activities, like viewing Stories and direct messaging.
Table of Contents

Instagram and TikTok are two of the most popular social platforms among Gen Z, though how they use each app varies. Our inaugural survey of 1,005 US teens and adults ages 15 to 26 shows how these platforms, along with Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitch, stack up when it comes to social activities like viewing Stories, sending direct messages, and watching long videos.

Key Question: For which social activities do Gen Zers prefer Instagram over TikTok—and vice versa?

Key Stat: Gen Z largely prefers Instagram for sending direct messages and watching Stories, while TikTok has an edge when it comes to livestreaming, short videos, and long videos.

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Instagram and TikTok are standouts among Gen Z
  3. Gen Z prefers Instagram over TikTok for DMs
  4. Instagram still dominates Stories
  1. YouTube and TikTok are winning long video
  2. Gen Z chooses TikTok over Instagram for livestreams
  3. TikTok is Gen Z’s undisputed go-to for short-form video
  4. Methodology
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery


Minda Smiley


Jasmine Enberg
Principal Analyst
Na Li
Director, Primary Research
Jennifer Pearson
VP, Research
Max Willens
Senior Analyst
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