Most popular UK universities on the web and on social media


Focus on Listening has looked into 169 UK universities and their presence on the internet.

The idea is to find out which university is the most popular on social media channels as well as which university sites get the most traffic onto their websites.

In this investigation, we have looked at five different social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube) as well as the traffic to the universities’ official websites during a period of 6 months (September 2019 to February 2020). 

All the findings can be seen in this online Google sheet.

Our main findings are: 

  • Both University of Oxford and University of Cambridge have more than four times as many followers on their social media channels as the third most popular university, the Open University.
  • University of Oxford is the most popular university on Facebook and Twitter.
  • University of Cambridge is the most popular on LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • University of Oxford had the most traffic to its website within the last 6 months. 

We have set up a table below that helps you look through all the findings. You can easily scroll through all the picks using the table of contents below:

Most followers on social media combined

Overall, when looking at all social media channels considered for this research purpose (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube), you see that University of Oxford and University of Cambridge are by far the most popular universities in the UK.
In third place, you find Open University while London Business School makes it to spot number four.


Top 10 – Facebook

When looking on Facebook, you quickly see that University of Oxford is by far the most popular university, followed by University of Cambridge and University of London.

You find University of London in third place and London Metropolitan University in fourth.


Top 10 – LinkedIn

On LinkedIn, there is not a huge difference in the number of followers.

You still see, however, that University of Cambridge and University of Oxford are in the top, followed by London School of Economics and University of Manchester.

Top 10 – Instagram 

Looking at Instagram, on the other hand, there is a huge difference from top to button.

The top two, University of Cambridge and University of Oxford, are hard to compete with, as they both have more than 650.000 followers.

London School of Economics is the third most followed university with around 160.000 followers.


Top 10 – Twitter

University of Oxford tops on Twitter, closely followed by University of Cambridge.

London Business School, Open University, and University of Sheffield are in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Top 10 – YouTube

Looking on YouTube, there is a huge difference between the number 1 spot, claimed by University of Cambridge with more than 200000 followers, and number 10, which is University of South Wales with approx. 40000 followers.


Average traffic to website last 6 months

When looking at the average traffic for all universities within the last 6 months, the differences do not seem as clear as in those presented by the data retrieved the social media accounts.

University of Oxford has had the most traffic to its website during the last 6 months, closely followed by University of Cambridge.

University College London makes into the top 3, followed by University of Manchester in spot number four.


Information about the research.

  • All data was collected in the period between 27th and 31st of March 2020. 
  • Traffic to the respective university websites was collected via
  • All social media data was collected from the official social media channels created by the universities themselves. Please note that the numbers change slightly day by day. 
  • On YouTube, the exact number of subscribers is not made public. Thus, we have rounded up the numbers to their nearest thousands.
  • The original data can be seen and downloaded right here.

Behind Focus on Listening.

Focus on Listening is a transcription app for students. The app helps students with becoming more focused and active during class. Focus on Listening was founded in 2019 by Rasmus Sorensen and Sergey Bushnyak. You can read more about the founders here.