Teens spend more than 3 hours a day using their smartphones to go online, but they also like to skip adverts

Teens aged 16 to 19 years are spending an average 3 hours 38 minutes in front of their smartphones. That’s according to 2016 findings from GlobalWebIndex.

Having grown up in the era of smartphones, teens are using their smartphones an average 48 minutes longer than the global average of consumers aged 16 to 64.

Time spent on their devices to go online only slightly differs between age groups, with teens allocating an average 3.08 hours a day to accessing the Internet via their smartphones. Millennials rank second at 2.87 hours daily.

That means mobile now accounts for more than 40% of teens’ online time, approaching the 50% mark by the end of 2017.

Pew Research Center data confirms that teens rely more heavily on smartphones to access the Internet compared to older age groups.

Social apps are a major focus among younger generations. The majority (88%) of 16-24 year-olds use social networking apps and 86% employ messaging apps.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Snapchat is the clear winner among the leading social networks as voted by US teens. It is narrowly followed by Instagram. Interestingly, according to these Statista findings, Twitter trumps Facebook among American teens.

Think With Google recently also presented insights on Generation Z, highlighting the age group as a growing audience for mobile purchases.

Evidently, advertisers trying to reach and engage teens can benefit from a mobile-first approach.

However, a study by Millward Brown found that teens may prefer desktop ads compared to mobile display or video ads. Generation Y (20 to 34 years) appears to be the most responsive to all online advertising formats.

But teens can be won over. Mobile rewarded video was found to be significantly preferred among teens compared to other age groups. Skippable pre-roll ads are also on their list of top formats.

In addition, teens are keen on branded events and social celebrity content. However, given their preference for skipping adverts (66% of Gen Z skip ads when they can), it’s more important than ever before to focus on highly personalised and engaging content. Targeting mood moments and developing content that resonates with this young audience are important factors to be considered when trying to reach teens.