It started on the luxury car lots of Lexus, moved to the frozen-food isle with some Ben and Jerry's and even meandered through the isles of Target featuring one of the first carousel ads. Now, Instagram advertising is open to all. This is great news for college marketing offices that can act fast.
Why Instagram Ads Matter to Colleges and Universities:
1. First mover advantage. Higher education will benefit from moving quick on the fresh advertising platform. Prospective students haven't become numb or fatigued to ads on Instagram. And someday they will.
2. Clarity. Advertising on Instagram provides a rare moment of clarity for colleges and universities to display a message. It's not a display ad in the corner of Sparknotes.com, it's not a Facebook ad buried in a busy newsfeed and it's not a land-filling direct mail piece. Colleges are notoriously photogenic. Instagram ads can only be seen on a mobile device, making them inherently simple to view.
3. Targeting. Backed by the same data capabilities as Facebook, Instagram targeting is powerful. Upload a list of emails from your CRM and target Instagram accounts with matching email logins. Create lookalike audiences.
4. Geotargeting. What would an announcement on GeoFli be without some talk of geotargeting?! Using location as a targeting parameter, focus on high yield application states, zip codes, or regions. Make the announcement to ages 13 to 18 about an upcoming admission's trip.
5. Demographics. Instagram demographics are attractive to college and university marketing offices. With short attention spans when it comes to direct mail paragraphs or a virtual college tours, Instagram commands attention. One image, one screen, one-at-a-time.
Instagram Advertising Prerequisites:
Business Manager Account: Advertising on Instagram requires a bit more technical know-how than boosting a post on Facebook. Quite a bit more.
First, any college or university hoping to advertise on Instagram needs a Business Manager account. Facebook business manager was created to easier manage admins, advertisers and editors on Facebook business pages. Business manager allows admins and advertisers to separate their personal account from their business account.
Connect Instagram to Business Manager: This step is pretty simple, but finding it can take some navigation. Connect Instagram account(s) and select which ad-account (who's paying for the ads) you want to associate with the Instagram ads.
Facebook Power Editor: Next, any college or university hoping to advertise on Instagram will need access to the bulk advertising tool Power Editor. It operates with Google Chrome. Download it here. Building a campaign in Power Editor requires some patience, but once you understand the ad architecture (campaign, ad-set, ads), the possibilities are incredible.
Specific Campaign Goals: For colleges, the campaign goal required to run Instagram ads is "clicks to website" or "Video Views." If you want to promote a mobile app install, that's available through Instagram as well. Those are the only three on the list above that will work with Instagram.
If you've built an ad using Facebook Power Editor in the past, you will be comfortable building an Instagram ad. The ad below features a small, highly targeted campaign. Large midwest cities targeting students 13-18 on Instagram interested in marine biology, animal science, zoology or veterinary science. Now, anyone meeting those parameters will see an ad on Instagram featuring marine biology.
If you're interested in advertising on Instagram and need some support. Feel free to reach out. Oh, and don't forget to subscribe to our email list featuring digital marketing news and updates as they apply to higher education.