Ultimate list of Instagram influencers in the UAE
When was the last time you talked about influencers? We read about them, we follow them, we have debates over them, we research them, and we often end up working with them! In this post, I’ll help you find the right ones who match your interests or criteria.
From nano and micro-influencers to macro-influencers, celebrities, and royalty, this list covers all sizes. It’s also got pretty much all the industries out there - entertainment, food, travel, lifestyle, and fashion.
Bonus tip: download the full directory for more industries including tech, family, entrepreneurship, luxury, humanitarian, comedy, and more…
Influencers in the United Arab Emirates
In 2019, the term ‘influencer’ has been used over 33.4K times in the UAE across online and social media based on Talkwalker Quick Search data. The term has engaged over 182K users with an estimated potential reach of 2.4B. Interestingly, 3.6% of that conversation is about influencer marketing.
The 2019 edition of the Social Media Influencers survey commisioned by Dubai-based BPG Group and research agency YouGov, revealed that 73% of respondents aged 18-35 years across the UAE and Saudi Arabia have purchased a brand or tried a service based on a trusted social media influencer's recommendation.
With these numbers - who wouldn't want to jump on the opportunity?
Among the top influencer categories are entertainment (94%), food (92%), travel (91%), tech (90%), lifestyle (89%), arts and culture (88%), fashion and beauty (85%).
Let’s take a look at some UAE Instagram influencers from these categories to help you make the most of all that potential.
Boasting over 25 million business profiles and 200 million visiting at least one business profile every day, Instagram is quite a competitive market for brands. And Instagram influencer marketing can be just the right tool to brave that storm. Don't forget, you'll need Instagram analytics tools to measure your success.
Have you got the right Instagram influencers down for your marketing strategy?
Table of contents
- Entertainment influencers
- Food influencers
- Travel influencers
- Lifestyle influencers
- Fashion influencers
- 3 key guidelines for working with influencers
While her following is largest on Instagram, she also has an engaging YouTube channel, where she posted a viral and entertaining video combating stereotypes about the Middle East as part of YouTube’s #CreatorsForChange initiative.
Noor (noorstars) is the Middle East's top subscribed YouTube content creator. Her YouTube channel is a platform that allows her to be herself and interact with her audience in a fun, engaging way. Whether they tackle beauty or lifestyle, her videos are always entertaining.
But her humor and success don't just stop at Youtube. Her Instagram profile is a world of engaging fun too!
Abdulaziz (bin__baz) is a comedian, model, entertainer, and actor! He has one clear mission - to make you smile.
Hayla Al Ghazal
Hayla (HaylaTV) is a 21-year old content creator who lives in Dubai. Her entertaining and satirical videos shed light on traditions in our society today.
Hayla is also the founder of a bridal and evening gown shop in Wafi Mall - Hayla Couture.
DubaiNameShame is the product of one bored - and creative - employee. Back in May 2011, he created this outlet to share his thoughts, opinions, and humour with a core belief that sarcasm engages and provokes. Raw and uncut, the thoughts he shares on Twitter and his blog are the real deal. The Instagram feed comes with bonus food-related posts (more of that right below)!
Samantha (foodiva) is an award-winning food critic who prides herself on impartial and intelligent resturant reviews through her website/app. She is a member of the Guild of Food Writers and provides more than just reviews on her website - you'll also find food features, interviews with chefs, drink stories, competitions, events, and more.
Some of her most well-known features include the mystery #DineAroundDubai, the annual FooDiva's top Dubai restaurants list and the #ThreeChefsDinner which brings three chefs together for one night in one high-end licensesed restaurant, each cooking a different course under one theme.
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I give you three hugely talented chefs showcasing modern Middle Eastern cuisine to 60 guests. Swipe for the video of our #𝗧𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗖𝗵𝗲𝗳𝘀𝗗𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿 last week. All cooking together in the magical, al fresco setting of @ninivedubai 🌟 Canapés including Dibba Bay oysters and Champagne. 3 courses. 15 dishes. 4 wines. All in one night. Many thanks to @gillesbosquet and Soufian from Ninive, along with the front-of-house team; modern Middle Eastern master chef @gregmaloufchef and Emirati pastry chef @saharyp from @burjalarab Our key partner @monvisowater kept us hydrated over the consumption of @exploreleclos and @mmidubai wines that sommelier Lindsay from @thetastingclass explained. 🙏🏼 to @avantchatea and @the.goodnesscompany for the generous gift bags - and of course our wonderful guests for such great company. For more see story highlights curated by @el_mirina 𝗜 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘂𝗽 𝗺𝘆 𝘀𝗹𝗲𝗲𝘃𝗲, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗮𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗲? 😜👨🏼🍳👩🏼🍳👨🏼🍳📷 @carpe.lux 🎥 @farooqsalik
Taim Al Falasi
Taim (taimalfalasi) is an Emirati food, travel, and lifestyle influencer. She is a restauranteur, with several restaurants in the UAE now under her belt including X Burger, Crave, Peach of Cake, and Chic Bae.
She rose to fame through hosting the online radio program, the TaimShow, which established her as a vlogger and filmmaker and helped her build a large following across her social media channels.
She is also the founder of TAN, a food and beverage digital markeing network.
Naomi (naomi_dsouza) is an engineer by background and a digital strategist by day. She's also one of the UAE's most influential bloggers, particularly in the food space.
With over 1 million views, her blog covers everything from travel and lifestyle to Naomi's favorite recipes, tips and insights into her personal journey.
She spoke at 3 TEDx platforms and has been recognized as one of the #Hot100 most influential Asians in the UAE. Quite the resume!
Her blog takes readers through a culinary journey of traditional and modern Middle Eastern cuisine with delicious, healthy and easy recipes. Zahra aims to inspire you to enter the kitchen and not be intimidated by it and to highlight not only the nutritional value of eating and cooking, but also the social and therapeutic value they can hold.
Namrata & Nancy
Namrata & Nancy (shesaidshesaid_dxb) are a couple of Dubai-based friends who love food and travel. They keep an online journal that documents their shared passions in this blog. Favorite things to eat, fabulous treats, and hidden gems in and around Dubai are some of the things you can expect to discover through their blog and social media channels.
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@kulturehousedubai one of our favourite cafes in Dubai ☕️👩🏻💻📖 Do you know we’ve got a whole list of our favourites on the blog? Click the link in bio, scroll all the way down, type your email address and hit SUBSCRIBE 📩 You’ll receive posts direct to your mailbox ✅ . . . . . . . #kulturehousedubai #cafesindubai #foodbloggers #foodgawker #littlestoriesofmylife #droolclub #igersdubai #infatuation #bonappetit #eattheworld #bffs #visitdubai #gatheringslikethese #appetitejournal #thatsdarling #foodbeast #buzzfeast #getinmybelly #foodshare #dailyfoodfeed #huffpostgram #omnomnom #forkyeah
Kim & Den
Kim & Den (wheremyfoodat) are a foodie couple! Their blog celebrates their love of all things delicious and is full of food and resturant reviews not just for UAE spots but also for wherever their travels take them.
They recently launched #WhereMyGetawayAt to shed light on some of the best hotels that the UAE has to offer - helping locals with their staycations and tourists with their trips to the UAE.
Their honest reviews and the variety of cuisines they cover has paved the way for a wide range of social media awards including the 2018 Cosmopolitan Food Influencer Award.
Bonus tip: hop on over to this blog post that's all about travel influencers to deep dive into the different types of travel influencers the Middle East has to offer.
Na'el Abu Alteen
Na'el (nael_abu_alteen) left the world of engineering to travel the world. Can you blame him?
He's been all over - from Indonesia, Greece and Uzbeakistan to Georgia, Turkey and the Maldives. He's got an Instagram feed that will give you major travel envy.
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أعطوني ٣ امنيات طال انتظارهم ؟ طبعا انا وحدة من امنياتي كانت أني ازور اندونسيا و الحمدالله تحققت و اليوم شاهدت احلى شروق شمس من مرتفعات جزيرة padar island 🌴 و أحدث هاي الصورة شو رأيكم ؟ رحلتي ب التعاون مع وزارة السياحة الأندونيسية @indtravel , و عاملين رحلة ل ٥ أيام لاستكشاف اندونسيا شوفو اللينك ب البيو بصفحتهم @indtravel . . . . . . #tripofwonders #wonderfulindonesia #indonesia #explore #beautifuldestinations #wonderful_places
There might be a theme here...but I couldn't miss out on Wael's (waelalteen) travel feed either. More travel envy and #InstaJealousy!
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🧳 Bags packed and ready to go with @oppoarabia! 🌎 Guys I’m invited to a trip in a secret location with so many amazing people to discover the #OPPOReno2! 🎁 📱 Also you won’t believe it, @oppoarabia are giving 10 phones as a gift in the next days, follow them to know how to win big! #OPPODubai #OPPOJourney
Max of Arabia
Max (maxofarabia) is a half American, half British third culture kid who moved to the UAE in 2007 to study marketing at the American Unviersity in Sharjah and fell in love with the Middle East. So much so, you couldn't tell him apart from an Arab when you hear him speak Arabic!
He's on a mission to share the beauty of the world around him and take his followers on adventures to disover different cultures - particularly the real Middle East.
Max also supports a lot of local humanitarian activities.
Dubai Travel Blog
A Dubai Expat sharing adventures, hotels, food, culture, and experiences in the UAE. DubaiTravelBlog is NMC-licensed. Beyond Instagram, is packed full of detailed reviews that guarantee a great time in Dubai!
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City view from the room at @thehdubai hotel. #ithappensatH Seeing the road made me recall the times I used to get anxious driving through this area because this roundabout is so huge and I just got my driver's license. But I'm happy that Dubai develops and maintains their roads well that it's good to have learned to drive as an expat here. #uaebloggers #mydubai #picsdubai
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (faz3) is the Crown Prince of Dubai. He is fondly known as Fazza, which is the name he uses to publish his poetry. Fazza is very active on social media and records many moments of his life on Instagram - his feed regularly features posts about travel, adventure, horses, and falcons.
Mohamed (movlogs) is a young UAE-based vlogger well-known for his videos about Dubai's luxurious lifestyle, especially when it comes to cars! He is a member of the SuperCar Club Arabia and a regular attendee of regional car events.
He updates his channel with new vlogs daily at 9PM Dubai timing.
He also used to run this gaming channel!
Rashed (rsbelhasa) is an Emirati social media star. He is the son of a Dubai-based billionaire, Saif Ahmed Belhasa, and he's got the Instagram feed to prove it.
He is well-known for his family farm that is home to many tigers and his Ferrari F12 Berlinetta with a 6.3 litre V12 engine, wrapped in a Louis Vuitton/Supreme collaboration print. He also has an exclusive and rare shoe collection that is claimed to be worth over $1 million.
He's friends with many a celebrity including Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Lionel Messi.
Mthayel Al Ali
Mthayel (mthayel) is the founder of Takhayyal, a platform that aims to bring together and showcase great content creation resources. It is also a social media marketing consultancy that helps personal and business profiles achieve unique and genuine exposure.
Mthayel is an avid Twitter user and her profile has attracted quite the following!
Milli (millimidwood) is the digital editor at Harper's Bazaar Arabia. She is also an NMC-licensed lifestyle blogger.
Lana (lanarose786) is a YouTube singing sensation who also vlogs about beauty, fashion, art, and music.
Noha (nohastyleicon) has been blogging since 2009! She initially rose to fame as a TV presenter. Since then, she's developed her personal profiles across multiple social media channels including Instagram, earning the Forbes Middle East Top 5 Influencers title in 2017/2018.
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و دخل علينا البرد فجأه و طلعنا الملابس الشتويه ❄️☃️ هذه شويه من لوكات الشتاء القديمة ❤️ اكتشفت إني ما استغني عن درجات البني و البيج كل سنه 😅 لازم أجرب ألوان جديده ! شنو اللون اللي تحبين تلبسينه كل شتويه؟ . . Some of my favorite winter looks! I guess That I have something for earth shades 😅 which one is your favorite!? #نهى_نبيل #تنسيقات_شتويه #تنسيقات_ملابس #ootd #winteroutfit #موضه2019 . .
Nadya (thefierce_nay) is a UAE national who is passionate about fashion and luxury. Her blog, The Fierce Diaries, is amongst one of the most influential in the UAE and features a travel section as well as others such as beauty, style, and jewellery. She has recently collaborated with luxury brands like Aigner and Gucci.
Kat Le Brasse
In her own words, “fashion is a lifestyle choice and travel is a necessity.” Follow Kat for a curated fashion and lifestyle portal detailing her journey as a Dubai-based Aussie who lives like every week is fashion week and the world is her runaway. Don’t forget to check out her blog too.
Mariam (mrskeepa) has a passion for design which she used to launch a career in fashion after spending 12 years working as a media professional.
Her journey started with launching her personal style page which quickly gained a lot of traction. She also enrolled at Esmod Dubai to learn the technical side of the trade, after which she launched her atelier and pret-a-porter line, Mrs. Keepa in May 2016.
Teresa (teresa_karpinska) is a fashion stylist and art director based between Dubai and Stockholm. Her portfolio contains both conceptual fashion editorials for international fashion houses like CHANEL, DIOR, and Cartier as well as commercial advertisement campaigns for globally renowned brands such as Mercedes, Emirates Airlines, and Burj Al Arab hotel.
She won the Middle Eastern Fashion Awards Stylist of The Year award in 2015 and has since then, in the capacity of an influencer, fronted campaigns for Galleries Lafayette and Shiseido. Teresa also freelances for various publications in the Middle East.
Gemma Louise Deeks
Gemma (gemmalouisedeeks) is a freelance fashion editor and stylist who has worked in Dubai for over six year. She is a former fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar Arabia.
Louise (louisenichol) is a former editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar Arabia. She has overseen cover shoots with the likes of Queen Rania of Jordan, Rihanna, Janet Jackson and Kim Kardashian-West. Since leaving Harper's Bazaar, she has been pursuing a freelance career as a presenter, host, and consultant in the UAE.
In 2019, she as part of BVLGARI's Middle East campaign featuring women of achievement in support of its partnership with Save the Children. She was featured alongside regional celebrities Aseel, Tara Emad, Dorra Zarrouk, and Nadine Nassib Njeim.
Now that you’ve found the influencer (or several) who fits with your brand identity and persona, someone you can see yourself and your brand building a human connection with, let’s talk about some basic guidelines for working with them.
1. Define your own KPIs before you define them for your influencer
What are you looking for from this influencer partnership? Is it simply for brand awareness and perception? Are you looking for an influencer who can create content that you can then leverage on your own social channels? Or are you expecting them to have a direct impact on increasing your sales?
If so, do you have a plan in place to track conversions from the influencer’s pages? And are your expectations in line with the average engagement rates of the influencer?
An influencer could have millions of followers without having a lot of influence over them. They could have bought likes and comments - i.e. fake engagement. They could also have a limited but highly targeted and engaged niche follower base that is ideal for your brand.
If you want to deliver on your influencer marketing campaign, you need to start by measuring your own needs and ensuring they align with your influencers and social media platforms of choice.
2. Be crystal clear about all aspects of the partnership...without infringing on your influencer’s creative license
While the connection you want to build is personal and human, don’t forget that this is ultimately a business transaction. For the partnership to achieve its maximum potential, you should ensure that you are on the same page as your Instagram influencer.
A formal agreement or contract is best practice as it allows you to clearly outline deliverables and gives the influencer a clear action plan that allows them to map out their content ideas and activities as best suits them without interfering with their creative autonomy.
Your agreement should cover:
Duration of the partnership/campaign
Expected compensation, if any (consider the format of payment - barter deal, fixed amount, or percentage of direct conversions?)
Exclusivity (of brand affiliations, influencer content usage, etc.)
Quantity and type of influencer content (photos, stories, carousels, videos, blog posts. etc.)
Approval rights and process (indicate whether the content needs to pass through the brand manager for certain approvals before posting)
3. Closely monitor the analytics - pre, during, and post campaign
Don’t fall into the trap of using analytics only at the start of your influencer campaign. The role of analytics doesn’t end with vetting the influencer’s social performance and history before partnering up with them.
After both you and your influencer put a lot of hard work into the partnership, you need to be able to assess what worked and what didn’t and report on results.
It’s very important to have a powerful analytics tool that empowers you to analyze and optimize your influencer marketing performance.
Now that you have the main guidelines down, simply download the directory of Instagram influencers and get cracking on your next winning influencer marketing campaign!