Social Media Benchmarks for Higher Ed: Review of Rival IQ Report

A higher ed review of 2022 social platform benchmarks report by Rival IQ

Social media benchmarking is an important step to gauge the success of your efforts in the crowded social media space. With social media benchmarking you get an understanding of how you are performing with respect to your peers. It also helps give you a sense of what works with your own audience. It is typically an effort-intensive process that requires analysis of scores of data points.

Rival IQ, a social media analytics company, came out with their annual report in which they analyze the social media performance of thousands of the most engaging brands across 14 top industry verticals. In this blog post I’ve put together some highlights for the Higher Education domain.

Rival IQ analyzes engagement rates, posting frequency, post types, and hashtags on the top three social channels for brands: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To generate their 2021 report, Rival IQ selected 150 companies at random from each industry in their database. Companies selected had active presences on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as of January 2021, and had Facebook fan counts between 25,000 and 1,000,000 and minimum Instagram and Twitter followers of 5,000 as of the same date.

Social Media Benchmarks for Higher Ed

Before we break it down by platforms here is an overview for the Higher Ed vertical:

  • Higher Ed boasts of the highest engagement on Instagram among all the industries analyzed
  • #3 in terms of engagement on Facebook (behind Sports Teams and Influencers), and #2 in Twitter engagement (after Sports Teams)
  • Average posting frequency on Facebook was around 7 posts per week, on Instagram was 3 per week, and on Twitter was 10 tweets per week

Overview of Higher Ed engagement on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


Photo posts generated the maximum engagement as a media type, and they were the most-posted media type.

Facebook engagement by post type


Higher Ed earned 4 times the median engagement rate on Instagram in 2021 thanks especially to Carousel posts.

Instagram engagement by post type

Investing more in Carousel posts could be a great way to boost engagement for your college or university account. Rival IQ data also suggests that higher ed institutions could consider increasing the volume of posts on Instagram to leverage the strong engagement that this vertical enjoys.

Note that this only includes feed posts, not Stories and Reels. The Instagram landscape has changed in the last year with the advent of Reels. They are being pushed more by Instagram, and they tend to have higher visibility and a longer lifespan. You might be seeing better returns on Reels, as we recently have:


Video and Status updates were the most engaging tweet types, even though they were least-tweeted. Also, holiday-themed hashtags were among the most popular on Twitter.

Twitter engagement by post type

Based on this data, you could consider tweeting more native videos to improve your Twitter engagement.

You can view the complete Rival IQ report here.