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As more college-aged students join Instagram, using the platform as a marketing tool grows more beneficial. Universities nationwide are constantly pumping out content for Instagram campaigns to attract, engage, and interact with students, and it’s your job to stay ahead of the game. It may feel like your posts get lost in the sea of content posted daily, but we’re here to give you an edge over the competition.

In this blog, we give you a list of relevant Instagram statistics that will help guide you in developing a successful Instagram marketing strategy.

College Student Activity on Instagram

Considering that 66% of college students are under the age of 24, while 85% of college students are on Instagram, it’s important to know how wide your reach will be when posting on social media.

According to a study conducted by Hootsuite, when people want to connect with your brand—or in this case your institution—this younger age group is more likely to engage with your Instagram than other sources to find the information they need.

Not convinced? Here are some additional statistics that demonstrate college students’ increasing reliance on social media. 

  1. About 71% of people aged 18–29 are active on Instagram. (Source

  2. Nearly 63% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram on a daily basis, which is the highest percentage of any age group. (Source

  3. Out of the 47% of adults that use Instagram, around 13% use the platform as a news source. (Source)

  4. Instagram is the most popular social media platform for people ages 16–24—even beating out TikTok. (Source)


The Rise in Visually Engaging Content

There's a common perception that Instagram is just another photo-sharing platform. However, did you know that single photos actually attract the least amount of engagement with users? If you want your posts to get more interaction, consider these statistics about the success of Instagram Reels and Carousels.

  1. Instagram Reels are the most engaging form of social media content with an average engagement rate per post of 1.99%, followed by carousels at 0.80%. (Source)

  2. Instagram Reels only make up 14.66% of the content posted by education brands/institutions, which is overshadowed by photo content at 51.98%. (Source)

  3. Brands that include a variety of media in their content strategy often see the most engagement instead of those that only stick to one kind of post type. (Source)



Instagram’s Geographics

It’s safe to say that wherever you go, you’ll run into people who are connected through Instagram. It’s important to reach out to prospective students in various different territories and lifestyles, and Instagram is the perfect platform to do just that.

For example, urban areas have the highest number of users, while rural areas are almost half that. Here are a few more statistics that show geography’s role in Instagram

  1. Instagram is most popular in urban areas, with 45% of respondents stating that they have used the app. (Source)

  2. Suburban areas are not far behind, with another 41% saying they are also active on Instagram. (Source)

  3.  Rural areas, however, are falling short with only 25% of respondents saying they have used the platform. (Source)



Peak Posting Times For Colleges

It’s important to post content when the highest number of users are online. If not, your content could easily get lost in people’s feeds. Therefore, posting at an optimal time is a key factor in your social media strategy. 

While there’s no one perfect time to publish your content, there are several studies that can offer guidance on how to create an optimal social media schedule. Here are some statistics to help you find the opportune time to post for your college. 

  1. HubSpot recently did a survey with 300 industry professionals and found that posting on a Monday, around 9pm to 12am was most effective in the education industry. (Source)

  2. The best time to post Reels is Monday to Thursday at 9am to 12pm. (Source)

  3. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to how often you should post, it’s important to stay competitive with the other accounts showing up in your user's feeds. Accounts ranging from 0 to 100k followers average about 3 posts a week, so aiming for that amount might be a good place to start. (Source)

    Best Time to Post on Instagram for Colleges

Average College Engagement Rate and Follower Count

Even though everybody wants their account to have millions of followers, the more important metric to measure is engagement rate. According to a study by Colorlib, smaller accounts between 1,000 and 5,000 followers have higher engagement rates than larger ones.

Here are a few statistics showing that you should be more focused on your engagement rate than your follower count. 

  1. In 2021, research showed that out of 1,717 college Instagram pages, 66% of them had under 10,000 followers. (Source)

  2. In 2022, higher education had the highest engagement rate out of any industry on Instagram, at 2.99% (Source)

  3. Accounts with 1,000–5,000 followers also had the highest engagement rate out of any follower range in 2022—topping off at 4.84%. (Source)


Instagram Advertising Insights

As stated before, Instagram is a hub for all industries to promote their products and services. With the platform growing daily, marketing managers are capitalizing on its success. They often turn to methods other than organic reach, such as influencer marketing, story advertising, or video promotion.

But where is all of the advertising money going? Here are just a few statistics giving you some insight into how advertising money is spent.

  1. Instagram marketers on average spend 69% of their budget on influencer marketing. (Source)

  2. On average, a promoted post on Instagram will cost a minimum of $100 and can soar upwards to $2,085. (Source)

  3. Instagram Stories ad revenue is expected to increase to $20.03 billion by the end of 2023. (Source)

  4. Nearly 93% of marketers have already used Instagram to connect with new customers. (Source)

Key Takeaways

After researching the various factors of Instagram’s success and reach, it’s evident that the platform is a valuable marketing tool and can be leveraged in higher education promotion and advertising. 

Here are some of the main takeaways you should consider when using Instagram in your marketing strategy.

  • The average engagement rate for a college Instagram page is 2.99%. (Source)

  • Higher education has a higher engagement rate on Instagram than any other industry. (Source)

  • Education marketers found that posting on Monday from 9pm to 12am was the most optimal time to post. (Source)

  • Only 25% of people in rural areas are on Instagram. (Source)

  • Instagram Reels are the most engaging form of media, with an average engagement rate per post of 1.99%. (Source)

  • Around 71% of people aged 18–29 are on Instagram. (Source)

Want more in-depth tips on what it takes to make a successful post on all social media platforms? We've got you covered! Download our "Social Media Checklist" and level up your posting game!

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