NEW YORK: Facebook and Twitter are the top social networks currently used by US marketers but Instagram will replace Twitter in the next two years according to a new report.

According to insights provider eMarketer, some 88.2% of companies with more than 100 employees use social networks for marketing purposes, and that figure is set to edge upwards to 88.9% in 2016 and 89.4% in 2017.

Facebook is the dominant network, already being used by 84.7% of companies, rising to 85.3% and 85.8% over the next two years.

Around two thirds (65.8%) use Twitter and it too will see marginal gains – to 66.6% and 67.2% – over the same period.

But Instagram is growing fast. In 2015 it was being used by 32.3% of marketers and that is projected to increase to 48.8% in 2016 before overtaking Twitter in 2017, by when 70.7% of companies will be using it for marketing purposes.

It is only within the past few months that Instagram has opened up advertising on its site to all brands as part of a major global expansion programme.

Before that, advertising opportunities had been restricted to a select group using the platform in the US, UK, Australia and its five other established markets.

eMarketer has previously estimated Instagram's global mobile ad revenues would grow from $595m this year to $2.81bn by 2017.

Recent research by Shareablee highlighted the power of Instagram to drive social actions such as likes, comments, shares, retweets, favourites.

In the third quarter it reported that US brands had captured a total of 19.8bn social actions. Instagram generated the most, at 10.4bn, Facebook was second on 8.6bn while Twitter lagged on 840m.

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff