Who’s Linking? Research on Social Web Callouts.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Alumni, Analytics, Callouts, Embedding, Facebook, Flickr, Higher Education, Integration Week, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter, Web, YouTube | Posted on 03-13-2009

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This post wraps up Integration Week at SquaredPeg.  Be sure to check out the posts from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday!

Today I’m lending the platform over to my partner and co-founder of BlueFuego, Joe Gaylor. Joe has spent the last week working on some very interesting research.  Over the past several months we have noticed that some schools are very up front with their social media efforts, other bury their hard work deep in a 3rd level text link.

While we don’t have specific research on this, we can tell you one thing:  To your target audience, the Facebook ‘F’ is probably just as familiar as other ‘brand name’ logos. So why not put it where they can see it? If you have a great Facebook page with tons of quality content and engagement, brag about it!

BlueFuegoAnalysis of Social Web Callouts on .edu Sites

Research of 1,387 four year schools has been conducted to determine the usage of direct Social Web Callouts (SWC’s) to external social networking sites. Research was based on three criteria:

  • Main .edu page
  • Main Admissions/Prospective page
  • Main Alumni page

Of the 1,387 four year schools researched:

  • 285 schools (20.5%) had one or more Social Web Callouts (SWC’s) within the criteria
  • 10 schools (.07%)  had SWC’s on all three criteria (Main, Admission, Alumni)
  • 56 schools (4.03%)  had SWC’s on 2 of the 3 criteria

Of the 1,387 schools, 106 (7.6%) had SWC’s or links on the main .edu homepage. Of these 106 schools:

  • 60.4% linked to Facebook
  • 34.9% linked to YouTube
  • 24.5% linked to Twitter
  • 17.0% linked to Flickr
  • 17.0% linked to MySpace
  • 12.3% linked to YouTube (Embed)
  • 2.83% linked to LinkedIn
  • 2.83% linked to Flickr (Embed)
  • 1.89% linked to Issuu

Of the 1,387 schools, 113 (8.2%) had SWC’s or links on the main Admissions site. Of these 113 schools:

  • 64.6% linked to Facebook
  • 24.8% linked to YouTube
  • 18.6% linked to YouTube (Embed)
  • 14.2% linked to Twitter
  • 11.5% linked to MySpace
  • 8.0% linked to Flickr
  • 2.7% linked to Vimeo
  • 2.7% linked to Issuu
  • 0.9% linked to Flickr (Embed)
  • 0.0% linked to LinkedIn

Of the 1,387 schools, 130 (9.4%) had SWC’s or links from main Alumni site. Of these 130 schools:

  • 82.31% linked to Facebook
  • 10.77% linked to MySpace
  • 40.00% linked to LinkedIn
  • 10.00% linked to YouTube
  • 11.54%  linked to Twitter
  • 4.62% linked to YouTube (Embed)
  • 4.6% linked to Flickr
  • 3.08% linked to Flickr (Embed)

We will be taking this research further in-depth, so keep an eye out for future research on Social Web Callouts from BlueFuego. Thanks to Joe for compiling these numbers!

What do you think about the data? Alumni link out more than Admissions off their main page.  Facebook is the clear winner. MySpace can’t make it past 20%.  Nearly 1 in 4 4-year schools are linking to Twitter off their main page, but are they doing Twitter well? YouTube sets the standard for video, as expected. And only 10 schools have SWC’s on their top level homepage, admissions page and alumni page.

Sure, there are probably some callouts deeper in the site, but consider this… At Butler, we had no SWC’s on the top level admission site, only 2nd level at the http://go.butler.edu/cs page. The go.butler.edu page was the most visited page, the go.butler.edu/cs page was the 2nd most visited. However, the homepage received 5 x’s more pageviews than /cs. I can only imagine most other schools are the same. What would happen to your social media efforts if you had 5 x’s more eyeballs on the callouts?


Want to learn more about using Twitter for Higher Education? Sign up for the upcoming webinar on April 9th or 10th!  Only $99 to attend. Learn more and register at http://twitter-higher-ed.eventbrite.com.

Comments posted (10)

Great info to have. Thanks for doing this Joe, and thanks for posting!

I agree that as far as twitter goes, you hit the nail on the head. Are those schools with SMC’s to twitter doing it well? And are their markets listening? Alumni and the media are probably more than students. I’d like to see a study of twitter use by undergrads…is there one out there yet?

We’ve got research for that in the oven too. It’ll be hot, fresh and delivered to you soon. :)

This is great research, I’d love to see this carried out further. What about advancement sites? What about grad and undergrad main pages?

What about size and placement?

Thanks for compiling all of this, it would make a great whitepaper :)

Definitely taking it further and whitepaper/webinar in the future. I think @fjgaylor needs a break of the 3am nights on this research though, but we’ll be hitting it pretty hard to answer questions like the ones you have!

Thanks Bob:

We are in the process of digging much deeper into the data. It is a monster and takes some time to do it right and many questions to ask people in the field.

more to come

This is great information and represents a lot of work. I am looking forward the next round of data regarding size of school, public vs. private, and where the page links to (official school page versus department specific). Having worked closely with Brad and Joe, you guys are the best and I have learned so much from you. Thanks again.

Nice job Joe!

I agree, “takes some time to do it right” – much like producing a YT video. Just sayin.

[...] J Ward says this on his SquaredPeg blog: While we don’t have specific research on this, we can tell you one thing:  To your target [...]

Love that this research just keeps on coming!

Like Devin, I’d love to see more Twitter stuff.

Love that this research just keeps on coming!

Like Devin, I’d love to see more Twitter stuff.

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