EGYPT – Facebook’s Instagram platform will become the main marketing channel for 73% of SMEs in the Middle East and North Africa over the next five years, a new research by Market research company YouGov’s has shown.

Instagram, an American photo and video-sharing social networking service says that its community contains more than a billion people around the world.

Its popularity among users has made it an attractive marketing ground for SMEs seeking to grow their revenues.

 According to the research, 77% of SMEs globally are active on Instagram and mainly use it as an effective way to reach new audiences.

The research added that 96% of SMEs consider Facebook an important marketing channel for their business, while 59% said it helps them communicate directly with customers.

Priya Patel, product lead in Middle East, Turkey, and Africa at Facebook, said SMEs are the backbone of the Middle East and North Africa’s economy and are often among the most creative users on Instagram.

Research shows that Instagram is a powerful marketing tool that drives real business value, added Patel in a news release.

According to YouGov’s research, more than 90% of people follow a brand on Instagram and about 74% of entrepreneurs and SMEs use the platform to show how they are different from competitors.

YouGov further noted that at least 76% of businesses use it to reach new customers, and about 77% use the platform to increase sales.

Instagram provides a range of free tools to support business growth around the world.

This includes a business account which provides access to statistics and gives people the ability to promote their brands.

SMEs believe in the long-term benefits of social media marketing, with two out of three companies expecting to increase their market spending on Instagram over the next five years.

The survey shows that 75% of SMEs believe that Instagram has been effective in saving traditional and current advertising costs.

Instagram in recognition of this rising trend of SMEs using it’s platform recently organized the first of its kind event in the Middle East and North Africa region to celebrate small businesses and entrepreneurs who base their business on Instagram.