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TikTok, the New Social Playground for Advertisers to Reach Gen Z

New Kids Tech Consumer Research Explores Changing Viewing Habits and New Media Usage

Video entertainment continues to play a pivotal role for brands seeking to attract the attention of kids, with the impact of COVID-19 and resulting rise in screen-time, a consequence of stay-at-home measures, further emphasising this trend.

Highlights from Futuresource’s latest Kids Tech consumer research however identified an accelerated trend away from traditional broadcast channels during the lockdown. A notable rise in time spent consuming free online content (including social broadcasting) and SVoD services – three quarters of kids are spending more time watching SVoD services since lockdown; driving new trends among influence and promotion and necessitating a re-evaluation in the approach of grabbing kids’ attention.

Now in its 12th wave, the twice-yearly Kids Tech survey conducted across USA, France, Germany, UK, China, Brazil and Mexico, monitors digital behaviours across video, music, gaming, education, social media and device usage of over 10,000 3-to-16 year olds.

Social Broadcast Platforms and Circuit Key to Reaching Gen Z

This wave of Kids Tech research, conducted during this unprecedented lockdown and school closures saw both SVoD and online video consumption overtake traditional linear TV across most markets for the first time, while this trend is perhaps short-term, influenced by more people being at home vying for the TV-set, it presents significant disruption and perhaps contributes to accelerating the trend away from the importance of linear advertising.

This disruption gives rise to opportunity for social media platforms and influencers working the social broadcasting circuit, with findings from the research highlighting that social media personalities are now heavily influencing buying behaviours and critical in building brand awareness, over two thirds of US respondents citing YouTube celebrities such as Ryan and Ronald & Katrina now impacting purchase decisions.

In terms of what platforms are hot, usage of the ad-free WhatsApp service is still ahead, used by 40% of the respondents, so is it a matter of time before Facebook reignites plans to introduce advertising and take advantage of this significant userbase?

However, the real success story according to this wave of Kids Tech research is TikTok, with kids & parents undeterred from posting, despite the ongoing tensions with the Chinese owned company and the Trump administration. This wave of research saw the platform overtake both Instagram and Snapchat and requiring a minimum age of 13 to join hasn’t stopped usage with 43% of the kids surveyed using either their own or someone else’s account.

Futuresource also found that 35% of all 3-16 year-olds are using social media every day, rising to 65% among 13-16 year olds, 60% of parents do restrict total daily internet access to a maximum of two hours per day however. Considering these figures, it is no surprise that TikTok is a serious contender for brands that hold the purse strings and like all social broadcast channels, will be grappling for its piece of the advertising pie.

Disney+ an Instant Hit with Kids

The second wave of Disney+ launches in March coincided with lockdown, with the platform gaining significant instant traction among the Kids Tech respondents. In the UK and France, the research identified that more children are viewing content on Disney+ than on Amazon Prime Video, while in the USA the two services are almost level pegging. In Brazil, Mexico and China, where Disney+ has yet to launch, awareness ranges from minimal in China to significant in Brazil.

Despite prominent local players competing in all the markets surveyed, uptake in all cases is far lower than the leading international players, with Brazil’s GloboPlay, Now TV in the UK and Hulu in the USA being the most notable.

When it comes to screen choice, the TV is still the dominant platform in all countries except Brazil and Mexico, where smartphone and tablet is on par – often as a result of competition for the TV-screen.

Focusing in on free online video viewing, portable screens win out across all markets, fuelled by the widespread usage of smartphones and tablets, even among pre-school kids. The survey highlighted that 65% of the 3-6 year old base had access to a smartphone.

For more information on Futuresource Kids Tech Wave 12, please contact Kailash Morjaria via

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Margherita Grosso

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Margherita Grosso

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