The Social Side of College Admissions

More Data on College Facebook Pages - Most Active and Engaging Colleges

November 16, 2010

The data in this post has been updated, as of November 16, 2010. Due to data limitations from the Facebook API, the original data pull had not been complete. We re-pulled the data for the 4-week period October 17-November 13, 2010 and re-ran our analysis.

As a company that focuses on the intersection of higher education and social networking, specifically Facebook, Varsity Outreach has been tracking the performance of college Facebook Pages for over a year now. You can visit our Directory of College Facebook Pages to see trends in growth of fans (or likes, depending on which term you prefer). Recently, we've begun analyzing the posts that are shared on these college Facebook Pages. A couple months ago, we shared some analysis we did on 601 U.S. college Facebook Pages, trying to uncover some general trends around engagement.

Now, we're releasing some additional findings on college Facebook Pages. Unless otherwise specified, the data shared is for October 17, 2010, to November 13, 2010.

Most Active College Facebook Pages

First, we wanted to see which schools were doing their best to keep their Facebook Pages fresh with a constant flow of content. Below are the top 20 college Facebook Pages by the number of posts over this 4-week period. We only counted posts from the page itself, not from fans. All of these schools averaged more than two posts per day on their Facebook Page, with the top school, South Carolina, averaging a whopping 14.5 posts per day.

1Official University of South Carolina Page
(Columbia, SC)
Average Engagement Score: 0.915
408 posts
2Syracuse University
(Syracuse, NY)
Average Engagement Score: 0.796
231 posts
3Harding University
(Searcy, AR)
Average Engagement Score: 0.550
142 posts
4Jackson State University
(Jackson, MS)
Average Engagement Score: 0.915
138 posts
5Taylor University Trojans
(Upland, IN)
Average Engagement Score: 1.173
128 posts
6Northwest Missouri State University
(Maryville, MO)
Average Engagement Score: 0.650
124 posts
(Baton Rouge, LA)
Average Engagement Score: 0.854
120 posts
8Westminster College
(New Wilmington, PA)
Average Engagement Score: 0.461
118 posts
9McNeese State University
(Lake Charles, LA)
Average Engagement Score: 0.585
115 posts
10Eastern Illinois University
(Charleston, IL)
Average Engagement Score: 0.255
113 posts
11Penn State
(University Park, PA)
Average Engagement Score: 0.766
106 posts
12The University of Arizona
(Tucson, AZ)
Average Engagement Score: 1.181
101 posts
13Brock University
(Saint Catharines, ON)
Average Engagement Score: 0.591
97 posts
(Green Bay, WI)
Average Engagement Score: 1.232
92 posts
15Howard University
(Washington, DC)
Average Engagement Score: 0.503
92 posts
16University of Michigan-Flint
(Flint, MI)
Average Engagement Score: 0.941
91 posts
17Northeastern Illinois University
(Chicago, IL)
Average Engagement Score: 2.616
87 posts
18Florida A&M University
(Tallahassee, FL)
Average Engagement Score: 1.768
86 posts
19University of Miami
(Coral Gables, FL)
Average Engagement Score: 1.995
81 posts
20Missouri State University
(Springfield, MO)
Average Engagement Score: 0.368
79 posts

Most Engaging College Facebook Pages

We also wanted to see which schools had the most engagement over this month-and-a-half long period. We used the same formula to track engagement that we used in our previous analysis:

Engagement Score

Varsity Outreach Engagement Score

We have only included college Facebook Pages with at least 5 posts during this period. We have also broken them out into four categories based on the size of their fan base so that the comparisons were more apples-to-apples.

Very Large (25,000+ Facebook fans)

RankSchoolEngagement Score
1Texas A&M University
(College Station, TX)
38 posts
2The University of Kansas
(Lawrence, KS)
11 posts
3Auburn University
(Auburn, AL)
14 posts
4Kaplan University
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
16 posts
5Mississippi State University
(Starkville, MS)
34 posts
6Oregon State University
(Corvallis, OR)
15 posts
7Oklahoma State University
(Stillwater, OK)
39 posts
8Indiana University
(Bloomington, IN)
8 posts
9University of Oregon
(Eugene, OR)
27 posts
10University of Wisconsin-Madison
(Madison, WI)
18 posts

Large (7,500-24,999 Facebook fans)

RankSchoolEngagement Score
1Siena College
(Loudonville, NY)
10 posts
2New Mexico State University
(Las Cruces, NM)
6 posts
3North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
(Greensboro, NC)
6 posts
4Capella University
14 posts
5Tarleton State University
(Stephenville, TX)
17 posts
6Smith College
(Northampton, MA)
34 posts
7Northwestern University
(Evanston, IL)
26 posts
8California State University, Northridge
(Northridge, CA)
15 posts
9North Carolina State University
(Raleigh, NC)
37 posts
10Miami University
(Oxford, OH)
9 posts

Medium (2,500-7,499 Facebook fans)

RankSchoolEngagement Score
1SUNY New Paltz
(New Paltz, NY)
8 posts
2California Lutheran University
(Thousand Oaks, CA)
8 posts
3Bryn Mawr College
(Bryn Mawr, PA)
15 posts
4Kenyon College
(Gambier, OH)
16 posts
5Dixie State College
(Saint George, UT)
17 posts
6Pacific Lutheran University
(Tacoma, WA)
17 posts
7University of St. Thomas
(Saint Paul, MN)
38 posts
8Iowa State University
(Ames, IA)
10 posts
9Hollins University
(Roanoke, VA)
28 posts
10Winston-Salem State University
(Winston-Salem, NC)
10 posts

Small (<2,500 Facebook fans)

RankSchoolEngagement Score
1McPherson College
(McPherson, KS)
15 posts
2University of Minnesota Rochester
(Rochester, MN)
13 posts
3Marylhurst University
(Marylhurst, OR)
18 posts
4VCU School of Business
(Richmond, VA)
7 posts
5The Citadel Alumni Association
(Charleston, SC)
29 posts
6College of the Rockies
(Cranbrook, BC)
7 posts
7Elon University Admissions
(Elon, NC)
7 posts
8New Mexico Tech
(Socorro, NM)
29 posts
9Kaplan College
(Multiple Locations)
5 posts
10Paul Smith's College Admissions
(Paul Smiths, NY)
14 posts

When Colleges Post on Facebook

This last chart highlights when colleges post on Facebook by day of the week. As you'd expect, colleges don't do a lot of posting on the weekends. However, posts on the weekends seem to be the most engaging (especially on Saturday, which may have to do with college football, given the period we analyzed).

Post and Engagement by Day of the Week

Posts and Engagement Score by Days of the Week (College Facebook Pages)

We'll continue to share periodic updates regarding the data we collect on colleges and Facebook. We'd love to hear any insights or interesting anecdotes that you have to share in the comments.

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Blogger cjmitch said...

The N.C. State page is not the University page, it's a page run by a fan. Are you measuring unofficial pages versus official?

November 11, 2010 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Varsity Outreach said...

We typically try to measure the official pages. Thanks for the heads up. For future stats, we'll incorporate the official NC State page.

November 11, 2010 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger saweb said...

Noticed that you've included UWGB in your "Directory of College Facebook Pages" but didn't include them in your "Most Active College Facebook Pages" list. Well over 100 posts during that time frame (Sept26-Nov10). Just sayin.

November 15, 2010 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Varsity Outreach said...

Thanks for the heads up. We just noticed an issue with the Facebook API results we pulled back. Facebook doesn't go back more than 30 days for Page posts. So we're going to re-run the data and update the post.

November 15, 2010 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Varsity Outreach said...

We have updated the data in this post for the 4-week period (October 17-November 13).

November 16, 2010 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger sjk said...

Interesting stats! I noticed you didn't include Dordt College in your list. Could you please add it? We've grown by 1,000 fans in the last 4 months, to almost 2,600, and I'm guessing we would have made one or more of your lists had you looked at our data. Thanks for your consideration.

November 17, 2010 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing these stats! I will say I'm more interested in the most engaging pages; quality is better than quantity. And Posting 14+ times a day will get you hidden from newsfeeds - not sure that's a good strategy!

November 30, 2010 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Varsity Outreach said...

@holly I would agree that quality trumps quantity. Interestingly, though, some of the most engaging college Facebook pages do still average more than one post a day. When we did a quick look at some of the more prolific pages, it's often times related to sports updates (posting scores throughout a football game, for example). It might be worth creating a separate sports presence for your sports fans (and avoid driving off alumni that don't want constant score updates).

@sonyajk We've added Dordt to our list of schools for future analysis.

December 1, 2010 at 9:54 AM  

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