Some recently published statistics demonstrate the rising influence of Instagram. For instance:
- 53 percent of young adults ages 18-29 use Instagram daily (roughly 400 million active daily users).
- 90 percent of Instagram users are being under the age of 35.
- 51 percent of Instagram users are Male, and 49% are female.
- There have been 1 billion downloads of the Instagram app from the Google Play Store.
These statistics are surely music to the ears of higher education institutions looking to reach their target markets. Most colleges have Instagram accounts, which help them gain an organic following with visual content. In addition, Instagram offers a paid ad format to target people based on a number of factors, such as whether someone has shown previous interest in a school through a website visit. With Instagram advertising, institutes of higher learning can also target an audience based on interests, behaviors, age, gender, and education level as well as a variety of other socio-economic factors. Let’s take a closer look at Instagram advertising.
There are currently four available ad formats:
- Photo ads (Single photos available in square or landscape format).
- Video ads (Up to 60 seconds in length).
- Carousel ads (users can swipe to view additional photos or videos).
- Stories ads (complement your feed content with ads on Instagram Stories).
Canvas ads (A full-screen ad experience) are currently available in Facebook and should be offered in Instagram in the future.
Instagram continues to revise its targeting options. We recommend ongoing testing of audience performance as a best practice.
While it is important that the ads/videos used on Instagram remain generally consistent with the design and feel of other marketing campaigns to maintain brand identity, keep in mind that Instagram is a social platform. So tailor your ads to align with the more laid back lifestyle feel of Instagram. Be sure to include a logo. And use images that are interesting and visually appealing, as many users view Instagram as an inspirational platform.
Instagram can be an effective outlet for showcasing the best features of your institution to potential students. Well-conceived imagery can help students easily visualize what it would be like to attend your place of learning. Here are some tips for getting the most out of Instagram ads:
- Promote your faculty by using images along with a personal quote or an endorsement from a current student. If a quote is pulled from a relevant article, it can be linked through the post itself or via the Instagram bio.
- Feature campus sponsored-activities throughout the year – for example, images from move-in day, picnics, concerts, prominent speakers.
- Highlight your campus community by including promotions about clubs, intramural sports, Greek life, and so forth.
- Reach out to sports enthusiasts with ads promoting your various collegiate teams and information about upcoming games or highlights from key wins.
- Consider testing a story ad that follows a day in the life of a current student to profile the student experience.
- Put the beauty of your campus on full display through a video or series of images. Highlight those features that would be most appealing to potential students – high-tech classrooms; well-appointed dorms; favorite gathering areas such as the student union and campus quad; or a sports arena that’s filled with students supporting school teams.
The key to successfully engaging with a target audience is to help them envision themselves being a part of your school, whether it’s sitting in a classroom, walking across the quad, cheering in the stands at a sporting event, or being a part of a fraternity or sorority. And, don’t forget to include a call to action button in your ads such as “Learn More,” or “Contact Us” to ease the communication process. A picture is worth a thousand words — so incorporate Instagram and create a visual marketing punch. Contact KeywordFirst for more insight into using Instagram to reach your audience.