Prior to Wave of Delta Variant Concern, Students Seemed Optimistic about Returning to Campus

As is our end-of-summer tradition, we asked data partner Shareablee to look at consumer engagement with back-to-school social posts. The data were provided exclusively to PRNEWS and predate the late-July CDC mask advisory the Delta variant spurred.

There were more than 12mln consumer actions on posts (6/1 to 7/18/21), from colleges and universities (chart 3). This is a 6 percent increase year-over-year from the same period in 2020. Actions are the sum of social likes, comments and shares.

While most of the conversation reflected excitement for a return to campus, other themes included updates about vaccination and masks, says Madison Busick, a Shareablee analyst.

On these latter topics, there were 192K actions (chart 2). New York University’s posts about masks and vaccines received the most consumer engagement. Its posts reminded students to get mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations before returning to campus.

Some colleges and universities posted about back-to-school topics without mentioning the pandemic (chart 1). Engagement with those posts totaled 83K actions.

The most efficient post came from the University of Cincinnati, with a post on Instagram receiving 4,700 consumer actions. The caption, “Happy Bearcat Friday! Enjoy the holiday weekend. Only 7 more weeks until you’re back on campus!” speaks to students’ desire for a semblance of normalcy this school year.