Higher Education Social Media Effectiveness Ranking

background image for social media effectiveness ranking

Higher Education Social Media Effectiveness Ranking


The Social Scene

For our recent #PSEWEB blog article we identfied and analysed the official social media accounts Canada’s universities and colleges use, along with their publicly-available content and audience data. Content data measures posts, pins and video uploads: marketing output. Audience data measures likes and followers: the response to marketing output.

Our article sets out the social media network landscape and examines aggregate usage and uptake statistics. While researching the article we speculated that a ranking or league table might highlight otherwise unnoticed over- and under-achieving post-secondary institutions.

The following describes our ‘first cut’ at a higher education social media effectiveness ranking index covering Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube (the FITLY) accounts. 


bar chart showing estimated social media audience share for Canadian post-secondary institutions


Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions: Estimated Social Media Audience Share


The Arithmetic

We divided each institution’s Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn “follower” count and Facebook “like” count by the corresponding value for the number of alumni recorded on LinkedIn (LinkedIn users’ post-secondary institution affiliations are automatically registered on completing a profile).

For the purposes of this index, the total LinkedIn alumni count could be regarded as an addressable market size proxy. By adjusting the raw follower/like counts by each institution’s addressable market size estimate, institutional size disparities are potentially normalized.

We excluded institutions without LinkedIn accounts (three) and institutions with fewer than 500 LinkedIn flagged alumni (five) from our calculations. No LinkedIn alumni data means effectively dividing by zero, which we consider an error. And, by inspection, we noted that institutions with fewer than 500 alumni were (a) low volume social media users and (b) generated follower to alumni ratios that were outliers.

We ranked the resulting ratios (followers/alumni) for each social media network into deciles.

YouTube subscriber numbers are small, meaning inferences based on this data are likely ambiguous. However, the data for the number of YouTube video views intuitively seems a stronger measure of the ‘popularity’ of uploaded video content. So, we used this for assessing YouTube. Again, we ranked the overall set of YouTube views data into deciles – matching the treatment for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

We combined the five individual decile rankings to produce an overall ranking covering 135 of the original 173 higher education institutions examined. Twelve institutions ‘eliminated’ themselves, as they did not have full sets of FITLY accounts.

Initial Results

A second #PSEWEB article will examine the main five social networks used in Canadian higher education.

Here are our first-pass results, based on the methodology described above:


Consider the eQAfy higher education social media effectiveness ranking™ a work-in-progress.

Data as of February 2019



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