TikTok and Snapchat battle for Gen Z, as Instagram trails with kids
TikTok is making a run for the Snapchat generation and has already surpassed Instagram with Gen Z users, according to an eMarketer report. Meanwhile, TikTok also just advanced its e-commerce aspirations with a new retail feature being tested in Europe.
Meanwhile, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, trails among Gen Z as of this year, reaching 33.3 million people in that age group, whereas Snapchat and TikTok are reaching 42 million and 37.3 million Gen Zers, respectively, this year.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that TikTok was building more e-commerce tools to offer retailers a chance to sell directly to its audience, too. TikTok is testing a digital storefront with Hype, a streetwear brand. It’s not TikTok’s first foray into digital sales, and Facebook and Instagram both have digital storefronts, too, which are venues for brands to sell merchandise direct to consumers.
The eMarketer Gen Z report serves as another reminder that social media habits are shifting within the younger generation, giving Facebook rivals a chance to catch up among a key set of consumers. Snapchat has been marketing itself aggressively as the platform of choice for the “Snapchat Generation.” Snapchat touts that it reaches 70% of 13-to-34-year-olds in the most advanced markets, like North America. And it has wooed advertisers with studies that show its generation of users represents about $4.4 trillion in spending power per year.
Facebook and Instagram are still the largest platforms, by far, in terms of total global usage and ad revenue. By 2023, Instagram will reach 127.2 million total users in the U.S, while TikTok will eke past Snapchat with 89.7 million total users in the U.S., according to eMarketer. Snapchat will have 89.5 million U.S. users by 2023.
The youth audience, however, is a key battleground for all the apps. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg knows it, too, and his company has said it will develop an Instagram kids app, for users younger than 13. In the U.S., children under the age of 13 are not allowed to open social media accounts on the top apps, although many get around the age gates. There are different rules for how internet companies can collect and use data coming from users younger than 13.
Instagram’s plan to create a special app for kids has run into resistance, however, from states, regulators and children advocacy groups. YouTube has a “kids only” video app, developed to give parents more control over what children watch in a more secure environment.
This week, state attorneys general sent notices to Facebook advising the company not to develop an app for kids. Facebook is already in the spotlight over concerns about social media abuses all over the world. The company’s detractors worry that social media usage is unhealthy for children.
In another play for Gen Z, TikTok also launched a job recruitment website, specifically for that age group. Axios reported on the jobs service, which encourages TikTok users to create video resumes, and it could get them in front of large companies, like sports leagues.