TikTok is getting all the attention, but more teens spend time on YouTube, survey says

TikTok is getting all the attention, but more teens spend time on YouTube, survey says
A survey showed that nearly one in five teens reported using YouTube "almost constantly."RUBEN BONILLA GONZALO
  • YouTube, not TikTok, is the most popular social media platform among teens, new data by Pew Research says.
  • Nearly one in five teens say they use YouTube "almost constantly," more than TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat.

YouTube — not TikTok — reigns supreme among teen users in the US, according to new survey data.

The survey of 1,316 US teens found that significantly more young users — 95% — reported using YouTube than other social media platform, including TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. The Pew Research Center conducted the survey earlier this year.

Pew found that these users are loyal: Nearly one in five teens ages 13 to 17 report using YouTube "almost constantly," compared to 16% for TikTok and 10% for Instagram.

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TikTok, which has only existed in its current form since 2018, is one of the fastest growing social media apps of all time, reaching 1 billion users quicker than Facebook or Instagram, and many see it as threatening to upend the social media hierarchy.

In fact, Instagram owner Meta recently tested TikTok-like changes to its interface to try to stem slowing growth.


However, the Pew survey data may challenge the narrative that TikTok is the biggest competition for older social media companies like Facebook and Instagram owner Meta. Alphabet-owned YouTube, which has existed since 2005, still seems to most successfully attract teens' attention.

Still, TikTok does come in second place among social apps, with 67% of the survey's respondents saying they use the popular short-form video app. And because it's so new, its trend line isn't yet clear when it comes to how fast it could catch up with — and potentially dethrone — YouTube.

Social Media PlatformsPercent of teens who say they ever use them

Already, TikTok is eclipsing Instagram, owned by Meta. "TikTok is a dangerous competitor because of its massive adoption and unique ability to penetrate teens and tweens that goes at the core of Instagram's base," said Dan Ives, technology analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Notably, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch, a video game-streaming platform owned by Amazon, don't appear to be as popular among young users. Less than half of the survey respondents say they use those platforms at all.

That could signify waning interest in Facebook, which once counted 71% of teens as users when Pew conducted a similar survey in 2014 through 2015.