How are American teens using the internet?
March 29th, 2023, YouGov

How are American teens using the internet?

Data from YouGov US Teen Profiles allows us to explore how American teens are using the internet – and what kind of content they’re most likely to click on.

Overall, two-thirds (65%) are using the internet to listen to music, while three in five (59%) are browsing social media or watching YouTube videos (57%). Over half are using the web to play online games (54%), or generally browse (52%). We can see, then, that internet usage among teens is significantly driven by leisure – but not entirely. Half (50%) are using it to augment their schoolwork and studies, while over two in five (43%) are interacting with friends and family or using messaging services such as Facebook Messenger (42%).

A similar proportion are using it for streaming or downloading content (41%) or video/audio calls (39%). And while teens do not have the purchasing power of adults, over a third are using the internet to buy or browse products online (36%), with over one in nine (12%) using it to buy or browse services online.

But how can marketers reach this audience? When American teens are browsing their newsfeeds, they’re most likely to click on music (53%), video games (47%) celebrity content (36%), content revolving around animals and nature (36%), and food and drink (35%).

Depending on the brand, it might not be totally appropriate to post content about video games, celebrities, or cute animals – but a proportion of teens are also interested in sports (27%), computers (27%), fashion (25%), and beauty content (23%), as well as travel and holidays (22%), science (21%), and educational materials (19%). At the other end of the scale, a minority of teens are interested in business and finance (12%) – which, given the rise of TikTok investors in recent months, might make a degree of sense – politics (12%), and esports (12%).

In any case, brands trying to reach an audience of American teens will require an understanding of how they use the internet and the kind of content that appeals to them. The data here represents only a fraction of the insights our tools can provide.

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The data is based on a sample size of 10,302 US teens aged 13 – 17. All interviews were conducted online and panellists were recruited via YouGov Chat. Data is weighted by age and gender.