YPulse has told you before that young consumers use different social media platforms for different kinds of content. And that’s likely because they view each platform in a different way; some apps are more entertaining, or they are perceived as more popular, while others are relegated to labels like fake, or worse: boring. But Gen Z themselves will tell you that their generation is addicted to social media—so there is a reason they return to each platform nearly daily.
In YPulse’s Social Media Behavior report, we ask Gen Z which social media platform is best described by a list of adjectives, ranging from addictive and popular, to boring and mean, their options including top platforms TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, or none of the above. These are the platforms they say are best described by the words “addictive,” “fake,” “entertaining,” “mean,” “boring,” and “creative”:
TikTok is the most addicting app to Gen Z
TikTok is Gen Z’s second most used social media platform, just behind YouTube, with 67% using it compared to 69% who use YouTube. And as our data shows it’s also their favorite social media platform, it should come as no surprise that nearly half of Gen Z say TikTok is the most addictive one, too. YPulse’s TikTok Effect trend report data shows 45% Gen Z TikTok users spend three or more hours a day on TikTok, with 18% saying they spend five or more on the app daily. But for many, their scrolling time may soon be reduced drastically, as TikTok recently implemented a one-hour screentime limit for users under 18-years-old (which they can, and will, bypass) in light of the addictiveness of their platform for young users.
Of course, it makes sense Gen Z are also most likely to describe TikTok as entertaining, even more than YouTube. YPulse’s Media Consumption Monitor data shows 48% of Gen Z now say they’d rather what a short video than a long video—certainly because of TikTok, where all their favorite content is now. Just about every viral trend the gen is involved in now revolves around TikTok, and 70% say this is the place where the most trends are created or catch on first. YPulse has even begun exploring how intertwined TikTok is with subculture communities, as it’s become a space for people to connect through their niche interests like no other (thanks to the omnipotent algorithm which hands them content that perfectly suits even their most specific interests).
Older platforms took the less ideal titles
For every positive word we ask them to associate with a social media platform, Gen Z’s top choice was TikTok—aside from Pinterest winning their vote for most creative. But when it comes to “boring,” “fake,” and “mean,” Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, in that order, came out on top. Now, that’s certainly not to say it’s a majority who chose these options; when it comes to which app is most “fake,” Instagram’s top spot only had 22% of the vote, followed closely behind by 20% who said none of the platforms there to choose from were fake. The same ranking goes for Twitter being best described by “mean”—though 31% said so, compared to only 15% who said none. But these rankings re-emphasize that Gen Z sees value in every platform, and our data has shown before that each has their own purpose for this gen.