2017 Higher Education Benchmarks

Adapted from an internal document we use for benchmarks.


Industry Snapshot

via Rival IQ | https://www.rivaliq.com/blog/2017-social-media-industry-benchmark-report/

College and Universities have the highest engagement rate on Facebook and Instagram.

What is surprising is that on Facebook, posts that are simploy status updates do almost as well as video and photo. This is unique to colleges and universities.

Best Practices for Higher Education

Use more status updates on Facebook

Higher Ed Average Engagement Rate & Posts Per Day

Colleges and Universities are second only to the media industry for the worst performance on twitter.

Higher Ed: Facebook Engagement


  • Engagement:0.33%
  • Facebook remains the top social channel for brands with a wider audience reach
  • Posts Per Day: 1.3 (Industry Average)
  • CUNY Posts ~ 1 per day

Facebook Post Engagement Rate By Type of Media:

M+R 2017 Social Media Director’s Guide to Benchmarks (August 2017)

  • Link: 4.3%
  • Photo: 5.2%
  • Video: 4.2%

Status updates gain engagement without investing in photos or video.

Higher Ed: Twitter Engagement

  • Engagement: 0.052%
  • Posts Per Day: 2.6
  • CUNY Posts: 5 – 10 per day.

Video and photos are the biggest opportunities for Twitter engagement.

Higher Ed: Instagram Hashtags

  • Engagement: 3.55%
  • Posts Per Day: 0.6
  • CUNY Posts: (Currently, ~1 per week)
  • Industries in this study post as frequently as once a day to every 3 days. Focus on quality photos rather than frequency to dial into your audience.

Top Hashtags by engagement rate (used by more than 10 colleges in study)

87% of posts on Instagram included hashtags.

Seasonal and nature photos from around campus are easy wins, driving higher engagement on instagram.

Competitor Schools

According to Rival IQ, the top 5 overall colleges and universities for social media engagement are:

  1. Northern Arizona University – public
  2. University of South Carolina – public
  3. James Madison University – public
  4. University of Dayton – private
  5. U.S. Military Academy -public

Out of BestCollege.com’s 25 “Stars of College Social Media,” 17 are public universities:

  1. University of Michigan
  2. Ohio State University
  3. Texas A&M
  4. University of Florida
  5. Louisiana State University
  6. University of Texas – Austin
  7. Michigan State University
  8. Pennsylvania State University
  9. University of California – Los Angeles
  10. University of Alabama
  11. University of Oregon
  12. University of Kentucky
  13. University of Oklahoma
  14. University of California – Berkeley
  15. University of Wisconsin
  16. Auburn University
  17. Indiana University – Bloomington

Email Marketing Averages

Gathered data from over 200 million emails sent from Constant Contact customers. The list below represents the averages for the Higher Education Industry (Update Constant Contact October 2017)

  • Open Rate All: 17.81%
  • Open Rate Mobile: 63.92%
  • Open Rate Tablet: 10.17%
  • Open Rate Desktop: 56.02%
  • Click Through Rate: 8.46%
  • Bounce Rate: 7.52%
  • Unsubscribe Rate:0.10%

MailChimp’s report focuses on Education as a whole, without making the notable separation between Higher Ed and Elementary – H.S.

  • Open: 22.00%
  • Click: 2.63%
  • Soft Bounce: 0.55%
  • Hard Bounce: 0.46%
  • Abuse: 0.02%
  • Unsub: 0.20%


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *