Kids Spend More Time on TikTok Than YouTube — And Google Is Terrified

Kids spend more time on TikTok than YouTube

Photo Credit: Mitchell Luo

Kids and teens spend more time on TikTok than YouTube, according to new data. That’s bad news for Google, who is in danger of losing Gen Z for some of its core products.

TikTok has been more popular than YouTube with the younger generation since June 2020. That’s the month TikTok surpassed YouTube in terms of average minutes per day people ages 4 to 18 spend on the platform. That age demographic averaged 82 minutes per day on TikTok versus 75 minutes per day on YouTube.

Since June 2020, TikTok has continued to dominate young people’s time. TikTok now averages 91 minutes of their time, compared to just 56 minutes for YouTube. The data was compiled for TechCrunch by Qustidio, a parental control software maker. The data was collected among 400,000 families who use the software to manage their children’s time spent online. While the figures are averages, it shows how kids’ focus online is shifting away from some of Google’s core products.

Google executives are terrified of losing Gen Z eyeballs on its core services like Search, Maps, and YouTube. Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan, who runs Google’s Knowledge & Information organization, mentioned TikTok and Instagram by name as competition.

“We keep learning over and over again, that new internet users don’t have the expectations and the mindset that we have become accustomed to,” Raghavan said during a discussion about the evolution of search. “The queries they ask for are completely different. In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people when they’re looking for a place to eat lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

Google is working on deals to allow it to index TikTok videos in its search results. For example, searching “music videos tiktok” will return a row of music videos available on TikTok before anything else on the search engine now. YouTube Shorts is Google’s main effort to get the younger generation more interested in YouTube again. It offers short-form videos in a format that closely mimics the TikTok ‘Discovery For You’ feed.