Here in the Gulf, we just love our pictures and photos. We love it so much that you’ll be hard pressed to find many in the Gulf who aren’t on the social media app. Last week – after less than five years – Instagram announced that it had crossed the 400 million user mark (the app added 100 million users in the last 10 months alone). Seventy-five percent of those 400 million users live outside the United States, and the Gulf in particular has taken to the photo and video-sharing application.
In terms of the Gulf, it’s no surprise that Saudi leads the way – there are 10.7 million monthly active users in the Kingdom (just over a third of the population). The UAE follows with 2.2 million monthly users. And, to the west, Egypt has 3.2 million monthly active users. What’s even more impressive is daily active users – a whopping 6.1 million for Saudi, 1.2 million for the UAE, and 1.1 million for Egypt.
This all makes good news for Facebook, Instagram’s owner, which introduced advertising on the platform this month in the MENA region. The launch earlier this month included both regional brands such as telcos Saudi Telecom and Zain and retailers Souq and AlShaya, as well as global advertisers such as Unilever, P&G, Nestle, Mondelez, Visa, L’oreal and Pepsi. The first ad to go live was Souq’s, which you can see below.
So far, from what I’ve been told, engagement with the adverts has been far higher than expected and much more than these advertisers are used to on Facebook. While there’ll be some negative sentiment from consumers who aren’t used to seeing advertising in their Instagram feeds, it seems that both Facebook and advertisers are onto a winner when it comes to Instagram advertising.
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For disclosure, I’m a P&G employee.