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Instagram will be top marketing channel for SMBs within the next 5 years

New research by YouGov reveals how Instagram is helping small businesses in MENA grow at home and abroad

Instagram will be top marketing channel for SMBs within the next 5 years
Photo caption – from left to right Priya Patel, Karen Wazen, Chirin Khawatmi, Ala Alsallal, Mohamed Naji.

Instagram will be the primary marketing channel for 73% of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) within the next five years, the company claims. 

With Instagram's community of over one billion people coming to the platform to connect around their interests, businesses of all sizes, and in all sectors, can find audiences who are in a unique mindset of discovery and open to learning about products or brands.

According to the new SMB research in the UAE, Egypt and KSA, by YouGov, commissioned by Instagram, 77% of SMBs use Instagram as an effective way to reach new and global audiences - making it the top reason they are on Instagram. Additionally, 96% say that Facebook is also an important marketing channel for their business with 59% saying it helps them to directly engage with customers.

“Small and medium size businesses are the backbone of the MENA economy and are often some of the most creative users of Instagram. Whether it’s telling their unique brand story, showcasing a product or driving direct sales - the research shows that Instagram is a powerful marketing tool that drives real business value. Our priority is to help businesses of all sizes connect with new and existing customers to build deeper relationships online and offline.” says Priya Patel, Product Marketing Lead at Facebook Middle East.

With more than 90% of people on Instagram following a brand, the YouGov research shows that entrepreneurs and SMBs are using the platform as a place to show how they are different from competitors (74%), generate new leads (76%) and drive sales (77%).

“Instagram levels the playing field for small and medium sized businesses. No matter the size or budget, any business is able to directly engage with, and share their products and services with the Instagram community. We are committed to continuing to build new tools and features to help local small businesses grow into global success stories.” says Patel.

Instagram provides a range of free tools to support the growth of businesses around the world, including business profiles, which provide access to insights and the ability to promote.SMBs clearly believe in the long-term benefits of social media marketing with two in three (68%) expecting to increase marketing spend on Instagram over the next five years.

Three quarters (75%) of SMBs surveyed also say Instagram has been effective for saving on traditional and existing advertising costs and the research shows SMBs are choosing to blend paid-for branded content like boosted posts and ads with organic posts. The most popular content for the community includes short videos, offers and promotions and images.

Last night, Instagram hosted the first ever #ExpressYourself event in the MENA to celebrate small businesses and entrepreneurs building their business on Instagram. Attendees heard from a range of SMBs who have used Instagram to successfully grow their business.

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