Discover the best time to post on Instagram
Regardless of whether you’re new to social media or are an experienced veteran, we can all agree that figuring out the best time to post on Instagram is not an easy task. With the algorithm changing pretty often alongside the platform’s main priorities, many users, marketers and managers alike are struggling to get the engagement rates that they used to. Without utilising a great digital marketing agency, it might feel like an impossible question to answer. But we’re here to tell you that it isn’t as difficult a thing to find out as you might believe.
So, when is the best time to post on Instagram? Unfortunately, there isn’t a single, simple answer to that question – despite what you might have read online. Let’s talk about the current state of posting on Instagram and work our way from there:
Instagram posting statistics
There have been several studies done about the “best time to post on Instagram”, which, funnily enough, end up with different results and answers. Some studies have found that Thursdays are the best days to post on Instagram, while others saw that Wednesdays are actually the best days to post for maximum engagement. Then there are some that discovered that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the days that social media marketers need to target.
Don’t get us started on the fact that there are different optimal times to post depending on whether your content is an image or a Reel. All the data from the results mentioned above puts a focus on Central Time (CET) in America, without taking into account the countless brands and Instagram profiles that are based outside of the US, as well as their audiences.
As you may have already guessed, the actual “best” time to post on the platform varies. Why? To make a long story short, it all depends on your audience and how to best market your brand on Instagram. So, instead of focusing on the average best time to post on Instagram, let’s focus on you.
When is the best time to post on Instagram?
As we mentioned earlier, finding out the best time to post on Instagram for your own profile is relatively easy. But, it does take some effort to nail it on the head for your brand, specifically, in order to get the engagement we all want out of our content. The biggest factors to finding out when the best time to post on Instagram is your specific brand niche and your specific audience – with one factor leading to the other.
Let’s look at each factor individually and in more detail, as well as how they affect the best time to post on Instagram for you:
While you may know what your brand niche is called, you might not be all too familiar with who exactly that niche caters to. In general, we might all have an idea of what our target audience is – age, gender, interests – but that perception changes when it comes to marketing on social media. Brands and companies are able to discover the general likes and dislikes of their target audience, thanks to their target market’s social media habits.
An important aspect of getting good engagement on Instagram isn’t just the best time to post but the post itself, too. While you may be able to quite easily find out what the optimal time to post is, that might not be very helpful if you’re posting things that your audience can’t bring themselves to engage with. So, the “brand niche” factor then becomes two-fold.
But, again, finding out all the information you need to determine when the best time to post content is isn’t a daunting or highly complicated endeavour. And don’t worry, we’ll discuss the “hows” in the next section. Plus, discovering your brand niche and deeply understanding your target audience then leads to the second biggest factor of finding out the best time to post on Instagram:
When is your audience online?
While you may have similar followers to your competitors, your audience is specifically your own. All these details and more can be uncovered if you run a comprehensive audience analysis – which will give you knowledge of your audience like no other. From their preferred type of content to what time of the day they’re actually online and ready to engage, these are all crucial pieces of information that you can discover if you put in the time to run this analysis.
What information could you uncover? For one, you might discover times of the day when a large number of your audience is active, yet your competitors aren’t. This allows you to then take advantage of this information and obtain much more engagement on your Instagram posts than if you posted at any other time of the day. But, again, there are differences between audiences, and you need to put in the leg work to figure out the information for yourself. Let’s get into that right now:
How to find out when to post on Instagram
Now that we understand the factors that inform when the best time to post on Instagram is, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to actually find out when that sweet spot is for you. As we mentioned before, that “perfect time” to put up an Instagram post will differ from account to account, brand to brand, and so putting in the work will help make the most out of your posts.
With that said, there are two ways to easily find out what the best time to post on Instagram is for you and your account. Generally, people tend to use only one of these methods, but being able to utilise both will ensure that you’re getting all the data that you need to make informed decisions regarding your posting schedule.
Pay attention to Instagram Analytics
Possibly the single best source of truth for anything related to data on Instagram is the in-app analytics dashboard. Instagram Analytics is a tool within the mobile app itself that shows you the performance of your posts and data regarding your followers – who they are, where they’re from and so on. As of today, Instagram hasn’t extended this functionality to its browser app, so any social media marketer hoping to utilise it while away from a phone will be thoroughly disappointed.
However, the Insights tab of your Instagram Analytics page will be able to give you a much clearer picture of which posts have been doing well and which haven’t. These tell you two things – what type of content your audience enjoys from you and the best time to post them. Focus on your best-performing posts, and you might find a pattern that will lead to you discovering the best time to post on Instagram for you and your brand.
Using this method does require some number crunching and manual labour on your end. Not only do you have to go through all your published posts, but you have to figure out the exact time they were posted in order to correlate when your optimal posting time is. So, if that’s not something that you’re up for doing, try the second method to find out the best time to post on Instagram:
Some of the best social media management tools on the market, like Buffer, HootSuite and Sprout, offer their paying customers access to their data analytics tools. These, much like Instagram’s in-app analytics dashboard, paint a clear picture of which your best-performing posts are. Those tools then automatically calculate when exactly the best time to post on Instagram is for you.
There is a debate as to whether the data available on Instagram is much more thorough than those available on these social media management tools, but we say that using a combination of the two methods will give you the most accurate data you need to make more informed decisions. But, we should mention that one piece of data that some of these social media management tools offer that Instagram doesn’t is an automated, tailored report of how often you should be posting on Instagram. And that’s quite handy if you’re the type of social media manager who prefers scheduling posts in advance rather than posting on the fly.
How posting time can affect performance on Instagram
It may be tempting to just scrap everything that we’ve mentioned above and just post content on Instagram whenever you feel like it – and that’s absolutely a fair feeling to have. When it comes to data and statistics in social media, all the numbers that you come across can get overwhelming, and we can definitely attest to that. However, a good social media strategy is informed by data and strategic planning, including crunching those numbers to find out when the best time to post on Instagram is, which is key to gaining great metrics.
Especially since the Instagram game is highly dependent on engagement rates and follower numbers, finding the best time to post is crucial to achieving the best possible results. A successful social media strategy in general, regardless of platform, utilises all sorts of social media statistics in order to create the best strategy for each platform. For Instagram, one of those data points is the optimal posting time.
Okay, so how exactly does posting time affect performance on Instagram? Here are four interlinking ways that finding the best time to post on Instagram is important:
1. Ensures your audience is online when you post
There isn’t really any point to posting on Instagram when your core audience wouldn’t be around to see it. You need to make sure that one of the first things your audience sees when they open the Instagram app is your latest post, and posting at the wrong time will make it less likely to happen.
When you’ve discovered the best time to post on Instagram for you and your profile, that ensures that your audience is actually online to see it and, better yet, engage with it. This leads us to the second point:
2. Reach out to larger segments of your audience
When you discover the best time to post on Instagram for you, it also means that a larger population of your target audience is actually online to engage with your content. And, when you reach a larger segment of your audience within the first hour of posting something on Instagram, that can boost its reach by multitudes. As long as your audience is compelled to engage with your post in the first place, again placing importance on not just the time of uploading a post to Instagram but also the content itself.
3. Timeliness and consistency
Let’s be honest, no one is really going to sit around and wait for their favourite Instagram accounts to drop a new post at a specific time. Anyone scrolling along their timelines will take what they get, and maybe, on occasion, they seek out the content of specific profiles. So, why do timeliness and consistency matter and how does it affect performance? Two words: the Algorithm.
Rather than giving your audience a specific time to anticipate your next posts, what you’re doing is actually signalling the Instagram algorithm when to expect something new from you so that it knows to pay attention. Being consistent is highly rewarded by the algorithm, and utilising that best time to post on Instagram can help gain its favour.
4. The initial engagement is key
Whether we realise it or not, the initial engagement a post gets on Instagram (and most social media) will determine its overall performance. The reason why you want to post content when a majority of your audience is online is so that they will help boost those initial engagement numbers. Why does this matter so much? Again we have just two words: the Algorithm.
The initial success of a post will signal to the algorithm that your latest post could be of actual interest to other people – both followers and non-followers alike. Higher engagement rates during the initial hour of posting are crucial to ensuring that your posts get seen by as many people as possible. This then helps with boosting not just engagement in general but also can lead to increased follower numbers.
Frequency of posting on Instagram
When you post too often, the quality of your content starts to suffer. You start to feel the pressure that you need to post every day, that you need to come up with something new to say every day, so you start putting out content that is not as valuable as it could be.
At the same time, because you’re posting every day, some people will get annoyed with your frequent posts and unfollow you. They don’t want to see a post from you every hour of every day. They’ve got other things on their feed they want to see!
And this is the real paradox of social media: The more often you share on social media, the smaller your impact will be. This is why a strong strategy for Instagram is paramount.
Are posting times relevant for Instagram Ads?
Now, if you’re a social media marketer who also utilises Instagram Ads within your brand’s social media strategy, you might be wondering if it really matters what time you launch your next ad campaign. Thankfully, the short answer is no. You may breathe easy knowing that posting times are irrelevant when it comes to non-organic Instagram posts like advertisements.
When you pay for an Instagram Ad, you’re paying for a guaranteed reach value, regardless of the time you’ve posted. When and how your ad pops up on people’s feeds (plus whose feeds they pop up in) is entirely up to the Instagram Algorithm. With that said, engagement with your Instagram Ad will be entirely up to the audience the Ad is shown to. Utilising the best practices for Instagram Ads can help with boosting engagement and getting the results you want from those ads.
We know the last thing you want to be thinking about is when the best time to post on Instagram is. But, if you plan ahead and make sure you’re posting at the right time of day, you’ll gain more followers and more engagement on Instagram. Although you might have come to this article hoping for a simple answer to the question ”when is the best time to post on Instagram”, it can feel unfortunate and disheartening that a simple answer doesn’t exist.
There are many variables that can lead to the success or failure of an Instagram post, making optimal times to post different for every profile. But, we do hope that you’ve learned the importance of discovering the best time to post on Instagram and how you can find out when the best time to post is for you and your own account.