Increase your return on investment from Instagram


Higher Education social media accounts are growing faster than any other industry in the US, and the most engaging social network for colleges is Instagram. Instagram has an engagement ratio that is over 4x that of the next closest social network.*

Colleges and Instagram are a perfect fit for each other. Your college is full of beautiful buildings, exciting events, and the sharing of social ideas and concepts. You have a campus full of vibrant young people doing fun and interesting things - and that’s what gives your higher ed instagram account so much marketing potential: your current student and target student spend a considerable amount of time on Instagram.


If you market to traditional undergrad students, you are probably already aware that Instagram is popular among that demographic. Instagram’s user stats show just how integrated the app is in the lives of young people:    

  • 63% of 13-17 year olds use Instagram everyday*

  • Users under the age of 25 spend more than 32 minutes per day on Instagram**

If you are tasked with marketing to adult learners or graduate students, you might assume that your audience is too old for Instagram. However, the majority of Instagram users are adults, and they are more active than you might think:

  • 40% of Instagram users are over 29ˆ

  • Instagram users over the age of 25 spend more than 24 minutes a day on the app**


The statistics listed above, coupled with Instagram's educational demographics, makes the platform a prime channel for successfully reaching your target demographic.

We have been on hundreds of college accounts this year and a lot of schools are doing a great job posting engaging photos, gaining followers, cultivating community, and growing brand awareness. If you're looking to grow your account, check out our 10 ways to grow your higher ed Instagram (includes a free download).

If you're looking to use your Instagram to generate leads, applications, visits, and enrollments, read on!

Most of the users that follow a college on Instagram are current stakeholders. If you want to get outside of your group of ‘current customers’ and take full advantage of your prospective audience, Instagram offers clever ways to do so. It just takes a little Instagram know-how and a whole lot of targeting.


Instagram has photo, video, carousel, and Story ad formats. The platform uses Facebook’s advertising interface and offers targeting based on location, gender, age, interests, and behavior. This is where most higher ed marketers stop.

In addition to the basic targeting criteria, specialized targeting and customized strategies are where you can really start to maximize the return on your Instagram investment:

  • Geo-fencing allows you to target the specific location of a feeder high school, community college, or competitor campus 

  • Lead Ads allow a prospect to request info, sign up for a visit, or any other action without leaving the app

  • Target your page fans from Facebook, as well as those who engaged with your Facebook ads, page, or video

  • Show ads to prospects who visited your website, or took specific actions on your site

  • Target those who interacted with your ads, but didn’t convert

  • Avoid serving ads to those who have already converted

  • Look-alike audiences allow you to show ads to prospects who closely resemble your current students