Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for bloggers and small business owners as a way to grow their brands. But with the recent algorithm changes that switch up how and when posts are viewed, many brands are wondering when exactly is the best time to post on Instagram?
It used to be that everyone’s news feeds were chronological. But now, posts show up based on multiple factors that Instagram has set. According to Instagram, visible posts are determined based on how likely a viewer would be interested in the content, the date the post was shared, and previous interactions with the account posting. Which means a lot more goes into finding the most optimal posting time than one would think. Increasing the likelihood of getting your photos seen by the most amount of people will trigger Instagram to see that your content is valued, and will ultimately result in your posts been seen more often and by more people.
How to Figure Out The Best Time to Post On Instagram
If you have your Instagram account set to a business account, you already have insights and analytics all at your fingertips. It’s important for any brand, blogger, or business to get comfortable reading through and interpreting the information that these analytics provide. Business analytics provide users with insights into individual posts, stories, and their account as a whole. These tools show users how many interactions their profile has had, any website or email clicks, average reach and impressions, and where their views are coming from (i.e. from followers, hashtags, etc.). Business analytics even show users how many followers they have to the actual number, the top locations for where these followers are located, plus their age range and gender. Instagram analytics will even show you a graph of when your followers are the most active per time and day - so much information right at your fingertips that you can begin to explore.
Check the Research
While these are all essential pieces of info to be aware of, there’s more to it than that. Later analyzed over 12 million IG accounts and concluded that the most general best times for any niche and any type of content, on average, are between 9 and 11 am Eastern, and more specifically, as follows:
- Monday: 6am, 10am, and 10pm EST
- Tuesday: 2am, 4am, and 9am EST
- Wednesday: 7am, 8am and 11pm EST
- Thursday: 9am, 12pm, and 7pm EST
- Friday: 5am, 1pm, and 3pm EST
- Saturday: 11am, 7pm, and 8pm EST
- Sunday: 7am, 8am, and 4pm EST
If you register for a business account with Later, their program will even analyze your Instagram account and give you your profile’s best day and posting times based on your content, niche, and follower behavior and activity.
Taking it a little bit further, Sprouts Social has outlined the exact days and times that you should be posting to the ‘gram based on your niche. They found that overall, the best day to post on Instagram is Wednesdays, usually at 11am, and the day that often sees the least amount of engagement is Sunday, and any night between the hours of 11pm and 3am. If you want to play it safe, posting between Tuesday and Friday, 10am-3pm would be your best bet. Think about your normal behavior each day, and the times you typically reach for your phone and open Instagram. Most people tend to do this first thing in the morning, midday when they hit that lull at work or school, and at night before bed - which totally makes sense if you look at these suggested times. For bloggers and retail brands, below are examples of times recommended to post for the maximum engagement.
Trial And Error
While it’s good to know the data that has been studied regarding Instagram engagement, the overall best method for anyone to try is good old fashioned trial and error. Not every account will have the same followers, meaning your followers might be engaged at totally different times than what this research suggests. The best way you can learn about what works for you is to experiment. We recommend posting at different times on different days, and taking notes. Did your post get a ton of engagement first thing in the morning? Or did it seem to do better later at night? Are more of your followers on the gram mid-day on a Wednesday? Or do they seem to be scrolling their newsfeed on Monday nights? You won’t know this info until you try it out.
Poll Your Audience
Another tactic is you could always ask. Create a story poll and ask your audience when they’re most often on Instagram. This can also give you some insight into who your followers are and what they prefer. This also helps if you’re targeting a certain demographic. Figuring out how your audience thinks and what their typical day is like will help you make better decisions for how to reach them and how to engage with them.
Understand Your Impressions
Spend time studying the impression histories of your most recent posts and see which ones had the most engagements. Then, reference those posts to the days and times you created them to help give you an idea of ideal posting times.
While there are a lot of things that can be learned from studying these analytics, no two audiences will ever 100% be the same. Posting times and high engagement also have a lot to do with your personal account and your niche. Think about it - if you post educational content driven more toward teachers, but post during typical school hours, your key demographic is probably going to miss your post. Understanding the diversity of your audience and knowing when they’re more likely to be on social media is going to be key for you in developing those relationships, increasing your engagement, and growing your account. While digging into your analytics in depth may seem overwhelming, start off slow. Pay attention to your posting times and the amount of engagement those posts receive, and compare your notes. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll start to see a pattern, and once you’ve nailed down your own ideal posting time, your account will start growing in no time.