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TikTok and Snapchat beat out Instagram as teens’ favorite platforms

Teenagers may be scrolling past Instagram

TikTok and Snapchat beat out Instagram as teens’ favorite platforms
Instagram// Illustration by Kate Walker

Teenagers may be scrolling past Instagram


Instagram is struggling to keep teenagers interested in the platform, as many of them are decamping to competitors like TikTok and Snapchat for communication and entertainment. Instagram has been doubling down for years to win them back, to no avail. Getting kids back on Instagram might be a losing battle, but Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to shift to a metaverse company could do the trick.

Pipeline people

Instagram has a teenager problem.

  • According to a recent study, TikTok and Snapchat beat out Instagram as teens’ favorite platforms.
  • Overall, teen usage is down, with the typical three-to-four hours a day (double that of adults) spent on the platform dipping.
  • Instagram is very aware of the issue, with leaked internal documents stating that “if we lose the teen foothold in the U.S., we lose the pipeline.”
  • Since 2018, Instagram has used most of its global marketing budget ($390 million this year) to target teens — specifically 13 through 15-year-olds that the company calls “early high school.”

The slip in numbers puts into perspective why Instagram is so bullish on creating its controversial Instagram for Kids. Those plans were put on hold after the company faced backlash from documents leaked by whistleblower Frances Haugen, which revealed that teen girls reported an increase in body image issues after using Insta.

Kid challenge

While Instagram still has a larger user base than TikTok and Snapchat… an Instagram strategy document from last year admitted that the other platforms (including YouTube) are gaining popularity because “these apps offer things that Instagram is less known for — communication interests and entertainment.”