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Want to target the 16-24 age group using social media?

Updated April 2024

As a business owner, you likely know social platforms can provide an abundance of opportunities to connect your brand with your target audience, but which ones are the right fit for your business?

We last covered this topic 4 years ago in 2020 – boy, things have moved on since then!

This latest update looks at the changes over this time, new platforms that have emerged and shares some top tips on how to maximise business potential on these platforms.

What’s changed since 2020?

As we move through 2024, we find ourselves surrounded by social media platforms. Some have been around for years, such as Facebook and Twitter (now X). We know them, we use them, we are comfortable with them. Then we have the newer ones, such as Snapchat and TikTok, which may be a bit of a mystery to us less social savvy souls!

If you are wanting to target Generation Z – the content hungry 16–24-year-old age group, the question is – which should you be using and why?

Here’s what the stats are saying …

Ofcom’s media usage report from 2022 gives us some key statistics about the 16-24 year age group that can really help define your business social media strategy.

  • The 16-24 year old demographic shows to be the biggest users of online social and communication platforms.
  • 94% of Gen Z’s use social media (Sprout Social)
  • 16-24 years olds use multiple social platforms
  • 16-24 year olds spend on average more time on social channels than any other demographic

According to Statista’s latest stats about UK Gen Z social media engagement:

• 71% used Instagram
• 68% used TikTok
• 68% used YouTube
• 67% used Snapchat
• 46% used Facebook
• 33% used Twitter
• 24% used Whatapp

Back in 2020, YouTube was the most popular social platform, with 82% of 16-24 yr olds using the platform on a regular basis.

Facebook was a close 2nd with 80% – these latest statistics demonstrate that Facebook’s popularity with this age group has dropped significantly in recent years.

According to a Forbes article in 2020 – Generation Z is one of the most diverse generations yet, with high levels of education, digital nativism, social and cultural awareness and a high propensity to be more expressive. This is likely to be a reason for the popularity of more creative platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, as these platforms allow for self-expression, provide a creative outlet, and create a sense of community.

So how should you be using these key platforms?

#1 Instagram

With over 2 billion users worldwide (Statista), Instagram can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses looking to expand their presence and visibility.

As a highly visual platform, it’s an excellent social media tool to showcase innovative, interesting and beautiful products and services.

So how can you make the most of Instagram as a business owner?

how to use instagram for business to attract 16-24 year old demographic

  • Upgrade to a business account – Unlike personal accounts, Business Profiles unlock powerful features like auto-scheduling posts, tagging collaborations, and even direct sales through your Instagram page. They also have access to “Instagram Insights,” which offers analytics data that can help you better understand user interest and behaviour, such as number of accounts reached, accounts that engaged with your content (ads and organic), the number of posts you’ve shared, and the most active times your content is being seen.
  • Use Reels – Instagram reels really allow you to show off your brand’s creative side! They also allow your brand to be perceived as more relatable, and have the ability to reach a wider audience. When a user creates a reel, it appears in a dedicated section where users can discover and engage with new content.
  • Always use hashtags – While trendy to the point of being overused, hashtags are still an important marketing tool. Adding relevant hashtags can help get your brand in front of users who don’t currently follow you, and give you a chance to get them to follow your business account.  If you’re unsure which hashtags to use, you can find some in a few ways. First, check competitors’ accounts to see which hashtags they use frequently, and start a running list of hashtags that you can integrate into your broader social media strategy.
  • Maintain a consistent visual aesthetic – Instagram is primarily a visual medium (which explains the importance of hashtags). Your images must reflect your brand in design and spirit. Eye-catching images will get people to notice your brand, but a consistent look and feel will help them remember it.  So, carefully craft your images to a standard using a branded approach to development and editing that helps make your Instagram posts feel like an extension of your brand. Create a design template to keep your designs consistent and to simplify the process.
  • Use influencer marketing strategies – Influencer marketing is a strategy that includes collaboration with niche social media personalities and like-minded brands. Finding an influencer who appreciates your product or service can help build confidence in your brand. Since influencers are generally trusted by their followers, they can have a significant influence on the future purchases of their followers.

#2 TikTok

With everyone TikToking nowadays, having a brand presence on this social media platform is essential. It’s the perfect platform for those with a passion for video content and the place where Gen Z spends a lot of their time.

TikTok provides a number of ways for users to engage with your content and show the algorithm what they want to see.

Like other platforms, TikTok allows you to like and comment on content, but you can also download content from TikTok and save posts to your favourites within the platform.

TikTok’s algorithm will also take note of whether your content has been sent to another TikTok user, how long you watched the video, and whether you watched it multiple times.
how to use tiktok for business to attract 16-24 year old demographic

How to increase your TikTok engagement

  • Post consistently – Maintaining consistent posting is crucial for optimising your TikTok presence, as it allows the algorithm to learn your content and potentially place it on more “For You” pages. While aiming for three posts per day is a guideline, prioritise quality over quantity, and focus on creating engaging content at a pace that is sustainable for you.
  • Reply to comments with a new video – Replying to your comments is essential but responding with a new video is going the extra mile, and definitely worth the effort. Making more TikToks in response to comments shows that you are engaged with your audience, making them feel seen and heard.
  • Utilise the Q&A feature – Making use of this feature allows you to create the most relevant content for your audience and build up your relationships with them. The more questions you answer, the more questions you will get — so try your best to make the time to reply to as many as you can.
  • The three-second rule for TikTok – crafting captivating content for TikTok is crucial. Grab viewers’ attention within the first three seconds or risk them scrolling past. Not only is this critical for engagement, but the algorithm also prioritises videos that hold viewers’ attention for longer than three seconds, increasing “For You” page reach
  • Include call to actions in your posts – Adding calls to action (CTAs) in your TikTok videos or captions nudges viewers to interact with your content in various ways. Creators crafting a series might encourage viewers to “follow” for upcoming episodes, while others might offer specific content based on “likes.” These interactive prompts can significantly boost your engagement.
  • Use popular trends to your advantage – Embrace relevant trends and challenges that resonate with your brand and audience – they’re popular for a reason! This, combined with strategic use of trending sounds and hashtags in your captions, can significantly boost your content’s discoverability. Don’t forget to inject your unique style and have fun along the way!

#3 YouTube

Although YouTube is used mostly by 25-34 years olds, 15.5% of YouTube users are between the ages of 18-24. And with 2.4 billion active monthly users, this isn’t a platform to ignore.

YouTube is the world’s most popular video-sharing social network that boasts a potential ad reach of 2.56 billion. Not only does YouTube offer a huge audience, but it’s also an effective platform for promoting products and services by driving traffic to your website, improving your SEO, and building brand awareness.

So how should you be interacting with YouTube?

Here’s some of the key activities you need to be doing.
how to use youtube for business to attract 16-24 year old demographic

  • Post with a purpose – The key is to know why you’re using YouTube in the first place. Consider what results you want to see – for example, whether you want to increase traffic to your website, raise general brand awareness, or increase sales through your online store.
  • Create a community – It’s easy to think that as soon as you upload a video, all you need to do is sit back and wait for the views to come in. But to really build an engaged customer base on YouTube, your business should be active on the platform, and interacting with other users.
  • Share, like, comment – Sharing content, liking videos, and replying to comments is essential. When doing any of these, make sure to use your commercial judgment – don’t share or like videos produced by your competitors, only like relevant content, and give personal responses to the comments posted on your videos.
  • Collaborate with other YouTubers – Working with other companies or influencers on YouTube that complement your business is a great way to boost your reach, by tapping into their audience. It’s also a great way of building relationships that could lead to other opportunities.
  • Stay topical – If you can, it’s a great idea to quickly produce videos that cover new developments in your industry, whether that’s new product launches or impending government regulation.

Not only will this help to position your business as a leading authority in the field, but videos that address relevant news stories will attract large amounts of engaged viewers.

#4 Snapchat

While Instagram, YouTube and TikTok may see more 16-24 year old users than Snapchat each month, using Snapchat for business could still be an effective way for your brand to reach a new audience.

That’s because, according to Statista, there are 319 million users active on Snapchat each day. That’s millions of Snaps created, sent, and seen every day. If your business wants to connect with young people, Snapchat is the place to be.

Learn these essential Snapchat business tips:

how to use snapchat for business to attract 16-24 year old demographic
Make it a business account – Setting up a Snapchat Business account allows you to do more within the platform. It lets you access more features that will support your marketing strategy such as detailed analytics and targeted ad options.

Stand out and show your brand’s playful side – The Snapchat app was designed to be casual and fun. It’s about being authentic, not picture-perfect. Many of the features you’ll use are about being light-hearted, creative, and fun.

Share User Generated Content (UGC) – Snapchat user generated content is the best of all. UGC provides a constant stream of fresh content ideas, so you don’t have to shoulder the burden of coming up with new ideas all the time. Plus, it showcases your product or service in real-world scenarios, making it more relatable to viewers.

So will it work?

Social media for business comes in many flavours, each with strengths for reaching specific audiences and achieving different goals.

16–24-year-olds value connection and community, and gravitate towards positive content.  This tech-savvy generation is a dominant force on popular platforms, and quick to embrace new ones.

Make sure you’re always considering what kind of content resonates with them and what you hope to achieve through social media.


Updated December 2020

With so many different social media platforms to choose from, it can be difficult for businesses to target the right ones for their audience.

This is especially tricky when it comes to reaching the 16-24-year-old age group. This group is the most likely to change to new platforms and leave behind established sites like Facebook.

If you’re struggling to connect with this age group, help is at hand. Whizz Marketing has taken a look at the latest statistics to find out what’s hot, and what’s not. We’ve selected the top social platforms to help you to:

  • Effectively market your products or services to your target group
  • Enhance your brand presence
  • Connect with the audience you want as customers

Statista recently released the following list, showing the reach of leading social networking sites used by 15-to-25-year olds in the UK in the third quarter of 2020. Here’s the top six:

  • 82% YouTube
  • 80% Facebook
  • 79% WhatsApp
  • 76% Instagram
  • 57% Snapchat
  • 44% Twitter

The Top Performers


YouTube is the largest streaming video website in the world. And according to Ofcom figures, it’s the most popular platform for young people. A new report revealed that 16 to 24-year-olds are watching 73 minutes of YouTube every day, compared to the 53 minutes watched by 25 to 34-year-olds.

YouTube is also used frequently before making purchases. Approximately 80% of shoppers said they accessed a video review on YouTube during the initial stages of their planned purchase.

As well as hosting your videos on YouTube, you could also use video advertising to attract more customers. The idea is simple. You create a short video ad that’s played before the main content for the demographic you’ve chosen – you only pay the ad fee when the video is watched.
YouTube regularly assesses what viewers are watching and makes recommendations. This means you can target your ideal customers such as men aged 16 and 25 who live in London, or women over 20 interested in beauty.


Although some feel there’s been a shift away from Facebook amongst the younger age groups, the sheer reach of the site means it still ranks highly.

In fact, the largest age group using Facebook in the UK is 25 to 34 years old, with 11.2 million users. It’s still a platform that young people access for finding out news, joining group discussions, and posting updates.

Often seen as a more ‘informal’ platform, Facebook is great for companies looking to sell directly to consumers. Facebook advertising works by utilising data held in cookies to see what users have been viewing on other sites. Ads are then targeted based on what users are already interested. So, if you’re selling handbags, your advert will be shown to people in your target demographic who have already been looking at handbags online.


29.6 percent of global Instagram audiences were aged between 18 and 24 years as of October 2020.

Often thought of as a channel where people share photos of food (and there are a lot of those), it’s also ideal for visual or product-based businesses who want to share images.

Instagram can help you create a strong visual identity for your brand, and advertisers on the platform have seen impressive results. You can find more information here on advertising on Instagram to reach a younger audience.


Twitter is one the fastest growing social networks around with 340 million users. Of these, it was found that 21.6 percent were in the 18-to-24-year age group while 28.9 percent of global Twitter users were aged between 25 and 34 years.

Twitter is a fantastic social platform for targeting new customers and making contact in an informal and friendly way. Find out more about reaching your target audience via Twitter advertising.

The Ones to Watch


30 percent of internet users aged 26 to 35 use Snapchat and approximately 61% of users are female and 38 percent are male.
Influencers in tech, gaming, food, fashion, music, and culture have massive followings and create a big impact on Snapchat. Advertisers are able to effectivity target niche audiences on this platform.


TikTok has grown in popularity in a very short space of time. The biggest age group of users in the UK was 18-to-24-year olds in 2019. This accounts for 26 percent of users accessing TikTok from smartphones.

In the Statista list above of leading social networking sites used by 15-to-25-year olds, Tiktok was in 9th place in the UK in the third quarter of 2020, with 24 percent.

This audience is increasingly rapidly, and you can find out how to tap into this market with advertising on TikTok for Business.

Original Article posted in 2015

Choosing the right social media platforms for your business can be tough, with hundreds of different platforms to choose from, all aimed at different users.

This is the first blog of a series that will provide you with some tips and guidance on how to reach your target market through social channels.

We are going to start with the 16-24 age group and will cover the most popular target groups in coming weeks, so keep checking back so you don’t miss out on more Whizz Tips on how to reach your target market through social channels.

When it comes to selling to a younger audience, it can seem impossible to keep up and with the latest trends and know where to start, so at Whizz Marketing we have selected our top picks for social platforms that will help you to market your products or services more effectively to this target group, enhancing your brand presence and connecting with the audience you want as customers.

Top 4 Social Platforms


Facebook is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, with more than 64% of their 1.3 billion users visiting the site every single day.

25% of the total daily users are 16-24 year olds who use the platform to check-in at home, college or work and even when they go to the pub. Users can post updates, join group discussions, advertise businesses or selling items and even play games with their friends. Often seen as a more ‘informal’ platform, Facebook is great for companies looking to sell directly to consumers.


YouTube is a fantastic platform that has been bringing users videos of cats for years.  Video Marketing research studies have found that YouTube is very popular with teenagers and adults alike.  Over 1 billion hours of video are played EVERY DAY! 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube EVERY MINUTE!  YouTube has 1.5 billion users worldwide.  More than 50% of video footage is now consumed on mobile devices, and the average viewing time is more than 40 minutes.  According to a YouTube Demographic analysis, the main users of YouTube tend to be aged between 18 and 24, with 1-17 and 25-34 in close second.


Instagram has over 300 million users and a whopping 41% of these are aged 16-24 yrs! Instagram is often thought of as a channel where people share photos of food and as an image-sharing site this does happen, but it’s also fertile soil for very visual or product based businesses who want to share their product images and tap into this popular social network. You can use this platform to create a string visual identity for your brand, and if you are wanting to target a younger audience, then this channel is highly recommended. If you’re new to Instagram, check out this introduction from Social Media Examiner which gives you lots of information on how to use Instagram for marketing.


Twitter has over 236 million active users, and was recorded as one of the fastest growing social networks around. The ‘micro blogging’ service allows users to post short, 140 character messages, interact with each other and start discussions with members in other countries using Hashtags. Users range anywhere from 17 to in their 70’s, with the average user being around 23 and female. Twitter is fantastic for targeting new customers and clients and making contact in an informal and friendly manner.

What About Paid Advertising?

With some networks, just being present and interacting with your target audience isn’t enough. On these occasions, paid advertising is often a good route to go down. Each of our top 4 social platforms offers it’s own advertising channels, and another way to get your message seen by the right people.


Facebook advertising works by utilizing data held in ‘cookies’ to see what users have been viewing on other sites, and can target adverts based on what users are already interested in. So if you’re selling handbags, your advert will be shown to people in your target demographic who have already been looking at handbags online.


In addition to hosting your videos on YouTube, you also have the option to use video advertising to attract more customers. The idea is simple – create a short video ad that will be played before main content for the demographic you have chosen, and only pay the ad fee when the video is watched. Because YouTube regularly assesses what it’s viewers are watching and makes recommendations, you can use this to hone in on your ideal customer – for example, men aged between 16 and 25 who live in London, or women over 20 who are interested in beauty.


Twitter is the new kid on the block when it comes to advertising. Businesses are able to promote their tweets, accounts and trends to Twitter users. Users will see your promoted posts when they are relevant to their listed interests, recent interactions or when they are relevant to their other web activities (Twitter uses cookie data just like Facebook). Find out more about reaching your target audience via Twitter advertising.


Instagram is a network relatively new to advertising, having launched its programme just last year. Already they have seen some impressive results, and those selected partners who were chosen used creative and visual adverts to reach out to their consumers. We recommend building up a profile and following on Instagram ready for the rollout of general advertisement.  Find out more about advertising on Instagram to reach a younger audience.

Whizz Marketing specialise in helping you to traverse the social media minefield and make the most of your social profiles. From profile creation and in depth training to support you in setting out on your own, or lightening the load by managing some of your profiles for you, we are here to help. For your free social media consultation, get in touch today – call Louise on 01252 622129 or find out more about the social media services provided by Whizz Marketing by visiting

By Louise Cranstone, Whizz Marketing Services, Fleet in Hampshire

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