As a creator building your brand, you want your content seen and interacted with by as many users as possible, so posting time matters. This brings us to one of the most frequently asked questions in social media: "When should I post?"
A quick Google search will show you an absurd amount of varying opinions on this question. Some people claim posting time doesn't matter, and some say only post on the 3rd Sunday of each month (sarcasm, of course, but some sources get VERY specific).
So how does one sort through all the BS and figure out an accurate and effective posting schedule? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, but we will provide you with some valuable information and practical tips for determining the best time for YOU to post.
Why posting time even matters
Can't anyone see your Instagram posts regardless of when they are posted? Yes. But will that always be the case? No.
Most likely, your followers are also following several other content creators. Meaning if you post at 10 am Monday and they aren't even getting on the app until 10 pm, they have had 12 whole hours for their feed to fill up with other creators' content. They genuinely may never see your post unless they go searching for it.
Now with your loyal followers, they may do just that and make it a point to see your latest content, but we don't want to leave that like or comment up to chance.
This is why posting time matters. You want your post to have the best chance of showing up in your follower's newsfeeds. You want them to quickly drop a like or comment without having to put extra effort into it.
What do the experts say?
Sources like Later.com, Hubspot, and Hootsuite have all researched the best times to post, but ironically, all of their findings vary. This doesn't mean that the information is useless, but it does mean you need to take it with a grain of salt and figure out what works best for YOU, which we will get into next.
Starting with Later.com's findings, the best times to post on Instagram are as follows:
- Monday: 5 am
- Tuesday: 6 am
- Wednesday: 6 am
- Thursday: 5 am
- Friday: 6 am
- Saturday: 6 am
- Sunday: 6 am
Later.com analyzed 35 million posts to decide the best posting times. They say the absolute best time to post globally is Sunday at 6 am.
Hubspot pulled data from several different sources and released its own version of the best times to post. They also broke it down a bit further by region but didn't specify the days of the week:
The United States and Canada
- Western Standard Time (WST): 12 am to 6 am
- Central Standard Time (CST): 6 am to 8 am
- Eastern Standard Time (EST): 4 am to 9 am
Outside of the USA and Canada
- South America: 4 am
- UK: 4 am to 6 am
- Europe (Western): 6 pm to 8 pm
- Europe (Eastern): 5 am to 7 am
- Africa: 6 am
- South Asia and the Middle East: 3 am
- East Asia and Southeast Asia: 11 pm to 4 am
- Australasia: 11 pm to 2 am
Last but not least, let's look at the best times to post as outlined by Hootsuite. They looked at times globally as well but laid them out using US Pacific Time:
- Monday 12 pm
- Tuesday 9 am
- Wednesday 11 am
- Thursday 11 am
- Friday 2 pm
- Saturday 9 am
- Sunday 7 pm
They also came up with their winner for the best time universally to post, which is allegedly Wednesdays at 11 am.
What have we learned?
As you can see, some of these findings line up, but many don't. All of these sources claim they were measuring the same thing, the best time to post, yet they don't really agree with the answer. This leaves content creators scratching their heads to figure out when they should post.
Essentially, all of this data CAN be useful if you would like to experiment with what they found timewise. Still, no survey will tell you precisely what time is best for you to post for your unique audience.
Figuring out YOUR optimal posting time
Just like you have to do work to decide what content your audience will respond to, you will have to do some work to figure out when you should be posting on Instagram.
First things first, if you don't have a business profile on IG, switch to it. This enables you to see analytics that are critical to your success.
Assuming you already have this setup, go to the audience section of your Instagram Insights. From here, you can see when your followers are engaging with your content. This is golden information. Take note of high engagement times!
Next, track your latest high-performing posts. Look at your last five posts that received high engagement. What times did you post them? Is there a common time frame? Again, take note of that.
From there, lay out a posting schedule based on your posts that did well. Experiment with posting on that schedule for a week or so. Assess, and tweak as needed. Remember, this is a process; you must give yourself time.
Lastly, think strategically. What's your audience like? If it is primarily east coast college students, their online times will vary between their class schedules. If your followers are moms, they'll probably be scrolling when their kids are at school or asleep.
When you know this information, you can plan your first posting schedule with even more knowledge on your side.
Going along with thinking strategically, pay attention to your competition. Who are some successful creators in your niche? What seems to be their posting schedule? Is there anything they are doing that you are not doing? Can you change that? Don't reinvent the wheel. If it works for them, it is worth seeing if it works for you.
Now, we know we did not give you a simple answer like "post at 11 am 4 days a week," but we want to be honest about the reality of Instagram. The truth is that no one else will be able to figure out your optimal posting times but you.
You are going to need to take the time to put in the work to figure out when your audience is most likely to interact with your content. You will also have to commit to changing this up as your audience ebbs and flows.
We know it can feel overwhelming, but take it one step at a time, and we promise you will figure it out! We’re cheering you on!