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The Relationship between Post Formats and Digital Engagement: A Study of the Facebook Pages of Mexican Universities

Relación entre los formatos de publicación y el engagement digital: estudio de las páginas de Facebook de las universidades mexicanas

Abstract

Higher education institutions have acknowledged the importance of social networks for multiple purposes, such as exploring innovative mechanisms for teaching-learning processes, colonizing new social communication channels and strengthening their institutional brand. The primary aim of this study was to identify the impact of various post formats on digital engagement in the context of the Facebook pages of some of the most important Mexican universities. It likewise sought to evaluate the use that universities made of each format. A quantitative methodology was used to analyse 31,590 content units posted by 28 universities, resulting in a total of 1,270,621 likes, 252,399 shares, and 80,620 comments on their respective Facebook pages. The study found that: a) there is a statistically significant relationship between a post’s format and the digital engagement it generates; b) while links are the least conducive format for boosting digital engagement, they are also the most frequently used; and c) although images usually boost digital engagement the most, only 18% of the studied universities chose this format first.

Resumen

Las instituciones de educación superior están reconociendo la importancia de las redes sociales para múltiples propósitos como explorar mecanismos innovadores de enseñanza-aprendizaje, colonizar nuevos canales de comunicación social y reforzar su marca institucional. El objetivo de esta investigación fue identificar el impacto que tienen los distintos formatos de publicación, usados en las páginas de Facebook de algunas de las principales universidades mexicanas, en el nivel de engagement digital asociado a esa publicación específica. Adicionalmente se evalúa el uso de dichos formatos de publicación que hacen las mismas universidades. Para ello, se siguió una metodología cuantitativa y se analizaron 31.590 contenidos, de 28 universidades mexicanas, que a su vez generaron 1.270.621 «Me gusta», fueron compartidos 252.399 veces y registraron 80.620 comentarios. Entre los resultados de esta investigaciín se obtuvo que: a) existe una relación estadísticamente significativa entre el formato de una publicación y el nivel de engagement digital que genera; b) los enlaces son el formato asociado a un menor engagement digital y, sin embargo, su frecuencia de uso es la más alta; c) en general, las imágenes son el formato de publicación asociado al mayor nivel de engagement digital, pero solo el 18% de las universidades estudiadas lo utilizan como primera alternativa frente a los otros formatos de publicación.

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Correspondence to Gabriel Valerio.

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Valerio, G., Herrera-Murillo, D.J., Villanueva-Puente, F. et al. The Relationship between Post Formats and Digital Engagement: A Study of the Facebook Pages of Mexican Universities. Int J Educ Technol High Educ 12, 50–63 (2015). https://doi.org/10.7238/rusc.v12i1.1887

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Keywords

  • Post formats
  • Facebook pages
  • digital engagement
  • universities

Palabras clave

  • formatos de publicación
  • páginas de Facebook
  • engagement digital
  • universidades