Social Media in the Middle East: Instagram Continues to Grow Rapidly 

This is the fourth in a series of ten short extracts from my sixth annual round-up of social media trends from the Middle East and North Africa (written with University of Oregon student Amanda Lam). Social Media in the Middle East: The Story of 2017 is available for download from the University of Oregon Scholars’ Bank and on Scribd, SlideShare and Academia.edu.

  • There are 63 million Instagram users in the MENA region, equivalent to 10% of total global users. (In contrast, the region is home to just over 3% of the global population.
  • Usage has grown from 7% of MENA’s internet users in 2013 to 42% by 2017, according to research in the media habits of Arab Nationals by Northwestern University in Qatar.
Image: Daily social media usage. Source: Arab Youth Survey, 2017.
  • Usage of the network is a source of “good news for businesses in MENA,” says Jonathan Labin, managing director of Facebook Middle East.
    • “We know that more than 70% of Instagrammers follow a business, with 75% saying that they take action after seeing a post, from visiting a website to searching, shopping or telling a friend.”
  • In 2017, Istanbul was the ninth most Instagrammed city in the world, behind New York, Moscow, London, Sao Paulo, Paris, Los Angeles, Saint Petersburg and Jakarta.
Image: Post from @Istanbul Instagram by @tolgy75.
  • Dubai was the fourth most hashtagged city on Instagram between June 2015 and July 2016.
Image: Post from @Dubai Instagram by @adrianredcom.
  • The visual social network is also growing fast among young people in the region, with daily usage up 20% according to the annual Arab Youth Survey.
Image: Daily social media usage. Source: Arab Youth Survey, 2017.

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