Generation Z Digital Connections

According to a new Refuel Agency survey, teens (GenZ 13-15) are more connected and tech-fluent than the generations before them, with Instagram and Kik the messaging applications that young teens are most apt to often use. Both appear to be used frequently by more young teens than Snapchat and Facebook Messenger.

Young Teens (13-15) Most Frequently Used Messaging Apps (… Used Most Often on a Regular Basis)


% of Respondents







Facebook messenger






Source: Refuel Agency, December 2015

Despite its strong skew towards youth, says the report, Snapchat appears to be more popular among older (16-19) than younger teens. In a separate question which asked the full sample of respondents (13-19) to cite the sites or apps they spend the most time on, both Facebook and Snapchat were indicated more often by the older than younger set.

By contrast, younger teens were more likely than their older counterparts to say they spend most of their time on YouTube (73% vs. 60%) and Instagram (46% vs. 43%).

Most Heavily Used Social Platforms (… Spend Most Time On)

App or Site

Younger Teens (13-15)

Older Teens (16-19)
















Source: Refuel Agency, December 2015

The popularity of Instagram is supported by studies conducted by Piper Jaffray, the most recent of which revealed that Instagram is teens’ “most important” social network, ahead of Twitter and a fast-rising Snapchat.

More recently, a Forrester Research study found that while YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram are considered to be “cool” by the largest share of their teen users, Facebook is the platform with the most “hyperusage” (defined as on the site “all the time”), says the report.

Young teens likely stick to those leading social platforms, says the report, as relatively few (39%) said that social networking apps are among the types they are most likely to download and use. Games (72%) and music (57%) apps are the types of apps that younger teens are most likely to download.

These are also the app types favored by older teens, according to a previous Refuel Agency report. As for music apps, 58% of the young teens surveyed reported sometimes or always using apps with music identification capabilities such as Shazam and SoundHound, while only 19% said they never use such apps.

Meanwhile, says the report, when it comes to the activities these young teens most commonly perform on their phones during the school day:

  • Texting (52%)
  • Playing mobile games (52%)
  • Social media (44%)
  • Taking and looking at pictures (42%)
  • Browsing the web (38%)
  • Make phone calls or check voice mail (17%)
  • Email (15%)

Other findings from the Refuel Agency report include:

  • While younger and older teens estimate spending the same amount of time each day with various devices, younger teens spend more time with tablets and video game consoles and less time with computers, mobile phones and TV
  • Younger teens are more likely than older teens to cite tablets, TVs and MP3 players as their most important device
  • Both younger and older teens cite privacy and security as their top 2 features in a browser
  • Online videos would influence the most younger teens to try a new app, while older teens are most influenced by social media recommendations
  • As with older teens, younger teens name Apple, Samsung and Google (in that order) as the brands that they cannot live without

ßFor additional information from the Refuel Agency, please visit here.



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