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TikTok surpasses Snapchat as the favorite app of teens

The news: TikTok has supplanted Snapchat as the favorite social media app of US teens, with Facebook and Twitter lingering far behind, according to Piper Sandler’s “Taking Stock With Teens” survey.

More on this: TikTok’s popularity with teens (and advertisers) is climbing, and though platforms have come for its lunch with short-form video products of their own, it’s still a dominant force in social media.

  • Thirty-three percent of respondents said TikTok was their favorite social media app, surpassing Snapchat (31%) for the first time. But popularity doesn’t tell the whole story: Despite TikTok’s popularity and influence on culture, Instagram still led engagement with 89% of respondents saying they used it at least once per month, followed by Snap at 84% and TikTok at 80%.
  • TikTok’s popularity, along with its push toward in-app shopping and social commerce, is helping drive its ad revenues far above its competitors. The app’s global ad revenues will triple to $11.64 billion in 2022, more than both Snapchat and Twitter combined, according to our inaugural TikTok ad revenue forecast. Over half of those revenues will come from the US.
  • Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter’s problems attracting young users persist. Only 31% of respondents said they use Facebook at least once per month. We expect Facebook to lose 1.7 million teen users between 2020 and 2025, leaving it with 8 million. Twitter will lose 200,000 teens in the same period, leaving it with 5.2 million.

More trouble for Meta: Instagram’s high engagement is a saving grace for Meta, which has been struggling with young users for years. But the survey showed that its plans for the metaverse aren’t making inroads with teens either.

  • Just under half (48%) of teens say they’re not interested in or are unsure about the metaverse. Game companies like Roblox and Epic Games have enjoyed success attracting young users and brands looking to offer them virtual advertising experiences, but they have the advantage of being easily accessible on a variety of devices including phones and tablets.
  • Meta’s vision for the metaverse relies more heavily on wearables, even if it does include game-like experiences such as Horizon Worlds, a social game which has hosted a number of brand campaigns. Penetration of VR wearables is relatively high among teens at 26%, but only 5% use it daily, suggesting there isn’t enough VR-only content capturing their attention.

Looking forward: Visually oriented social media apps have a tighter grip on teens. TikTok’s dominance is made clear by the copycat products launched by its competitors and its rapidly growing advertising revenue. If other social platforms want to mimic its success, they’ll have to find ways to create similar highly personalized experiences for users in ways that comply with tightening privacy and data regulations.