If you follow our blog, you’ve probably seen a post or two about the best times to post on Facebook. This is a pretty common question, and it’s one marketers have been trying to answer through multiple algorithm changes and shifting usage of the social media site for years.
A lot of the time, we’ll look at Facebook as the gold standard; if we could just crack this one, it will be like the holy grail for all of our social media marketing.
Unfortunately, while knowing the best times to post on Facebook are important, it doesn’t mean that you’ve magically solved social media marketing if you’ve figured it out.
Instead, you are likely to find that the best times to post on Facebook are not the same as the best times to post on Instagram.
There may be some overlap, but the two platforms are very different and should be approached accordingly.
So what are the best times to post on Instagram?
And does it even matter now that the algorithm shows users content based on perceived interest level instead of time posted? (Spoiler alert: yes).
In this post, we’re going to answer all these questions and show you how to get the most out of these best times as possible.
The Best Times to Post on Instagram
The exact best time for your business will be unique to your individual business, no matter what the data says. You’ll want to test this out for yourself to see when your audience is actually online. If you’re targeting working professionals, for example, they’ll have very different hours than college students who stay up until 3AM.
That being said, there are some general best times to post on Instagram that you can use as guidelines to test out. And when it comes to data, here’s what we found:
- To target international audiences, the best times to post on Instagram fall around 2AM and 5PM EST which is when most people on the app will be online.
- According to this same study, 9AM and 6PM EST were the two worst times to post for engagement.
- To target local audiences, posting either before work (between 7-9AM in your time zone) or after it (starting as early as 5PM) can help you catch users while they’re commuting and getting settled in for the day.
- Another study from CoSchedule says that the best time to post is on Tuesdays at 2PM, disagreeing with the above findings.
It’s pretty easy to see where some of the information starts to get muddled. There’s a lot of conflicting advice, and if you dig deeper into the research, you’ll only find more of that instead of less.
However, there is one thing that most studies agree on: weekdays are often the best days to posts.
According to SimplyMeasured, Monday and Thursdays are the best days to post on Instagram. In addition, Wednesdays are good and Sundays are awful.
While I’ve personally found Friday to be low on engagement, I overall agree with this assessment from my own experience.
Why Does It Matter?
Instagram’s algorithm now shows users posts based on what they determine to be relevant to them, instead of in chronological order. It’s easy to think that because of this, the times that you post on Instagram don’t really matter, right? Wrong.
One of the factors Instagram looks at when evaluating content is how much engagement it’s getting.
Posting at peak times increases the chances that you’ll get a bigger surge of engagement when it first goes up, giving you the momentum you need for it to stay or move towards the top of the feed throughout the day.
I’ve tested this on my own more times than I can count, just to make sure; posts that go up at 2AM get almost no engagement (permanently), even if they’re strong, while those posted at peak times will have the strongest engagement. They’ll continue to get likes and comments over a day or so.
Although we’ve outlined the best general times to post on Instagram, it’s important to tailor your posting times specifically for your followers.
We’ll show you how.
How to Find Your Personal Best Times to Post on Instagram
Really, finding the best days and times to post on Instagram relies on you doing some serious testing. There is one big shortcut that you can and should use to get you started, however.
All businesses should have their Instagram profiles set as a business account. This allows you to access their incredible analytics feature Insights. These Insights give you information on everything from which posts are doing well to some general (anonymous) information about your followers… including what times they’re online.
If you go to the Followers section of Instagram’s Insights and click on “learn more,” you’ll see a full page of information about your followers.
Scroll past gender, age, and top locations and you’ll see a visual graph showing the days and times that your Instagram followers are most active.
This will show you your peak posting times pretty quickly.
I’ve had good luck with posting content right before peak posting times, and then letting that initial surge carry the posts.
Test this strategy and see if it works for you; track engagement from post to post, and pay careful attention as you fine-tune your posting schedule.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Best Times
Want to make sure that you never miss one of these golden windows of opportunity? The solution is to use scheduling software like Hootsuite.
Since life gets busy and you don’t want to wait around on your phone to get your post online at exactly 10:13 in the morning, this can be a huge advantage.
Once you’ve hammered out your ideal Instagram posting times, you can also try running your Instagram Ads only during peak hours if you’re on a limited budget.
Keep in mind that if you’re running these ads during high competition hours, this may actually increase CPC.
Still, it can be worth split testing, especially if your peak posting times don’t typically coincide with others.
Identifying the best times to post on Instagram and using scheduling software to hit every single one can help you see dramatic growth in your Instagram engagement.
While the algorithm has changed the priority of the order that posts are shown in, uploading your post during peak times can help it get the early traction it needs to rank highly within the algorithm, so these best times shouldn’t be ignored.
Don’t forget to use analytics software to determine the post time to post for your audience to get the most out of your Instagram marketing.
What do you think? What are the best times to post on Instagram for your business? Do you schedule posts in advance? How did you find the optimal posting time? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!