The Digital Approach

How are world-class universities resourced and structured to achieve best practice in digital communications?

The Digital Approach: Resources and structures for online communications

Digital communications is essential for all global organizations but critical for those aimed at young people. In addition to our annual research project for W100 members, we are exploring approaches to online communications at top global universities.

How does your university compare with others in your region and globally? The survey explores budgets, teams, in-house capacity, outsourcing, approaches to monitoring and evaluating digital communications, policies and guidelines, internal training and more!


The survey is now open!


Heads of Digital (or equivalent) at universities ranked in the world's top 200 (as defined by the four major world university rankings - THE, QS, ARWU and US News and World Report) will be invited to complete an online survey.

Subscribers will be invited to suggest research objectives and specific questions for the survey. Our initial consultations have revealed the following areas of interest:

  • Budget for digital communications (total, operational and salary), budget for paid social campaigns
  • Team structure and size (centrally and number of other staff working in digital communications)
  • Strategies for co-ordination across a large organisation
  • Levels of integration of digital teams within wider communications teams
  • Seniority of the head of digital communications and reporting structure
  • Salary of heads of digital communications
  • In-house capacity/facilities vs outsourcing
  • Methods for monitoring social media engagement, reach etc.
  • Nominations of universities thought to represent best practice in digital communications
  • Digital communications policies and guidelines – for development and use of social channels
  • Internal training for digital communications


The project report will include detailed and in-depth analysis of the survey data, providing subscribers with currently unavailable insights and intelligence.

There will also be an optional bespoke benchmarking report comparing your university's responses to the wider set, giving subscribers an evidence base for internal resourcing discussions.

Subscription Options

Silver Subscription - full project report
Research Members £1,000 // Discover Members £1,500 // Non-Members £2,000

Gold Subscription - full project report plus bespoke benchmarking report
Research Members £1,500 // Discover Members £2,000 // Non-Members £2,500


Not ready to commit but would like to take part in the survey when it opens? Click here to tell us who at your institution would be best placed to complete the survey and we will email them with the link in early 2017.


October-November 2016: Subscription open

November-December 2016: Survey scoping and drafting

January-February 2017: Fieldwork

March 2017: Analysis and reporting

April 2017: Reports published to subscribers


If you have questions about this research opportunity, please contact W100 Research Manager, Lisa Bould, at