Pinterest for Higher Education Marketers: 5 Tips for Getting Started - Converge Consulting

Pinterest for Higher Education Marketers: 5 Tips for Getting Started

Pinterest has been steadily growing year over year, and now with over 250 million active users per month, there’s no doubt that much of your target audience is engaged on this platform. Your target audience is searching for unique recipes, browsing trending apparel and hairstyles, and planning their next home renovation. So how can higher education marketers reach and engage prospective students with messaging and creative while their in this lifestyle browsing mindset?


When discussing higher education marketing opportunities with our Pinterest rep, we honed in on Pinterest’s mission: To Help people discovery and do the things that they love. Pins are ideas. And ideas are possibilities that inspire people to act. When browsing Pinterest, you’ll most likely notice that all pins are either personal, future-oriented and actionable. And the best ideas come from the 1.5 million brands and businesses on Pinterest.

If other brands can do it, so can you. Here are 5 tips for getting started with Pinterest for higher marketers to engage with prospective students:

1. Leveraging Existing Content

Pinterest users seek this platform for valuable content. 78% of people on Pinterest say content from brands is useful-much higher than on other platforms. Get started with your Pinterest account by pinning content from your top visited blogs or blogs that provide the most value content for prospective students. If your pushing blog posts out to other social media platforms, there’s no reason to not test adding Pinterest to the mix.


2. Reaching Your Target Audience

Of course, add the Pinterest icon to your website and email communication to start building a following. Then, look to further engage new and existing audiences by leveraging Pinterest’s advertising platform.

Source: Pinterest 101 for Agencies


Similar to Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads and many other advertising platforms, Pinterests allows you to target both known and unknown audiences.

Known / Engaged Audiences:

  • Customer List: Upload an email list of current prospects or current students and target with specific content or next step messaging (ie: info session, upcoming application deadline)
  • Visitor Retargeting: Place pixels are your website and setup custom retargeting segments to retarget users with content and CTAs that align with the content they have engaged with. For example, target admissions page visitors, who didn’t apply, with a pint that features an admissions timeline or checklist.
  • Engagement Retargeting: Similar to other social platforms, retarget users who have engaged with pins previously with the same pin or a new pin to spark their interest.

Unknown Audiences:

  • Interests: Target users based on the content they have search or engaged with before. Pinterest has many predefined interest categories to leverage including: Career, Education Level (Graduate/High School), specific education Subjects, University, Teacher Resources, Health, Finance and Parenting.
  • Keywords: Customize targeting by plugging in specific keywords that directly or indirectly align with your institution and specific programs: Going back to school, best grants and scholarships, fashion design, email marketing tips, dorm room ideas. Pinterest is unique in that is uses keyword match types negative keywords, similar to Google Ads Search, allowing you to get very specific with your targeting.
  • Actalike: Similar to Lookalike Audiences and Similar Audiences on Facebook and Google Ads, leverage an email list of current students or recent alumni to identify similar audiences to target. You can also leverage any retargeting list to build an Actalike audience as well.


3. Creating Engaging Pins

In addition to the standard pin, Pinterest continues to introduce new Pin formats that encourage further usability and engagement for users.

Rich Pins allow you to easily add extra details to make your Pins more useful. They are often used for products and recipes, but can be used for any piece of content to include a title and description.



Video Pins have increased 60% from last year. Leverage existing or create new video assets to align with your content. Pinterest allows use of various aspect ratios for both organic and promoted video.

Promoted Carousels are another way to increase interactiveness and engagement with your content. If you’re running carousel ads on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, this ad format is a perfect addition to your Pinterest creative mix.

4. Leverage Insights to Refine Strategy

With Pinterest being used infrequently in higher education, there aren’t clearly defined best practices to follow to be successful with engaging and converting prospective students. Leveraging insights from other verticals can be powerful but leveraging your own insights can be instrumental for further refining your strategy to better reach, engage and convert your target audience.

As mentioned above, start with Google Analytics to assess what content topics and specific content pieces have yielded the highest website engagement. You can also use analytics at audience interests including Affinity Categories and In-Market Segments to inform audience targeting and content creation.


Once you’ve started to push out content on Pinterest, use Pinterest’s Audience Insights for detail about your target audience to further refine audience targeting and content development priorities.


5. Searching Pinterest for Inspiration

Need more inspiration for getting started? Try searching Pinterest related to interests of your target audience, your institution’s competitive advantage and / or terms specific to your degree programs.


Also, check out Pinterest’s Creative best practices, Success stories and News for up to date ideas, trends and insights from Pinterest and other Pinterest marketers.

Interested in learning more about Pinterest and other social media marketing strategies for higher education? Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on everything new and next.

Hayley Warack
Hayley Warack
July 24, 2019