When is the best time to post on Instagram to make sure a post is seen?
And what about the best day of the week to get the most likes? Most of the comments?
Read on to find out when is the best time to post on Instagram that seems to work across the board – and how to find your own unique best times to post your brand. (Because all companies and target groups are unique!)
We’ll show you how the Hootsuite social team found our best time to post on Instagram, then walk you through the process of finding yours.
Bonus: Download a free checklist This shows the exact steps a lifestyle photographer took on Instagram to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers, without a budget and without expensive equipment.
What is a Best Time to Post on Instagram?
Each brand may have a slightly different sweet spot for posting on Instagram – as each brand targets a unique audience with unique social media behaviors. However, there are certain best practices that you can follow that will produce great results across the board.
In general, when your followers are online, posting is key as the Instagram algorithm prioritizes freshness. This means that if everything else is the same, a newer post will appear higher in the newsfeed than an older one.
Honestly, being up to date is one of the quickest and easiest gains when it comes to optimizing a post for success. (If you’re interested, we have tons more tips on how to get free Instagram likes.)
In addition, it is important to know what exactly are your goals for your Instagram marketing strategy. Do you have specific goals to raise awareness, increase engagement, or drive traffic? What does success look like for you and when have your contributions achieved this success in the past? Your achievements to date are an important guide to when you should publish overall.
Overall best time to post on Instagram
According to our observations and experiments, the universally best time to post on Instagram is …
Wednesdays at 11 a.m.
We found that Instagram users were most likely to interact with content at noon and during the week. And that makes sense – it’s a perfect time to take a break from work or school and do a little scrolling. (And like. And comment.)
So if you’re just starting out on Instagram and don’t have a lot of past data or insight to work with, try posting around this time and see how it works for you. As your account grows, you may want to tweak your posting schedule to better match the Instagram activity patterns of your specific audience. Here’s how we find the perfect times for Hootsuite to post on our Instagram account.
Brayden Cohen, Hootsuite’s social marketing and employee advocacy strategist, told us:
“We usually like to post in the early morning and late afternoon. For Instagram, this means we try to post anytime between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. PST or between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. PST on weekdays. “
Cohen revealed that – at least for Hootsuite’s North American B2B audience – our Instagram posts work best when we hit the wake-up or lunch break for our Pacific time zone audience and sit down to work or sign off for hours in the Eastern time zone .
Using the activity heat map provided in Hootsuite Analytics, you can easily see when the Hootsuite Instagram audience is online:
Source: Hootsuite Analytics
Cohen and the social team also use the tools in Hootsuite Impact to review the performance of posts and campaigns. “The data there tells us whether we should continue to focus on the same strategy or move something into the future.”
Overall, Cohen says the decision on when to post to Instagram goes something like this:
“We use past performance as a guiding star and then check when the audience is online as a second opinion. After that, if our content stops working well, we’ll test various times to see if that changes the performance of the post. “
All in all, an Instagram content calendar should be just as data-driven as the rest of the marketing strategy.
And since the bigger picture is important too, here are some key Instagram stats, benchmarks, and demographic data to help you develop your strategy:
Tips on How to Find the Best Time to Post on Instagram
Review your posts with the best performing
First, consider what type of performance you are aiming for: brand awareness or engagement. Your approach to timing your Instagram posts may vary depending on which one is more important to you.
Which of your posts have had high impressions in the past? When did you post it? And are these posts different from the ones that earn likes?
Your Instagram analytics are your best source of truth here. Of course, not all analytics tools are created equal, and some social media management tools can help you avoid the severe data crunch.
For example, Hootsuite’s Best Time to Post feature suggests the best times and days to post to Instagram based on historical performance. It analyzes your contributions over the past 30 days, groups them by day of the week and hour, and then calculates the average Impressions or engagement rate to identify the optimal time windows in which your posts had the greatest impact.
Check out when your audience is most active online
The next step in finding the best time to post is to take a look at your analytics to see when your followers are scrolling their feed.
As marketers, we need to know our audience. If you target Gen Z sports fans on Instagram, their social media consumption habits may be vastly different from those of technology managers who wake up at 4 a.m. to meditate in their infrared saunas.
Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature automatically breaks this information down into a heat map (see above). It will also help you experiment by predicting time windows that your Instagram followers will be online.
It also suggests time slots that you haven’t used in the last 30 days so you can change your booking times and test new tactics.
Think about when your competitors will post
Depending on your industry, your competitors may be performing the same calculations and experiments as you. Social listening (or even a full analysis of social competition) is helpful for keeping track of what might be working for audiences in your industry.
Pro tip: Many brands post on the hour mark. So consider posting a few minutes before or after: 00 to avoid competing for limited shelf space.
Post in your audience’s time zone
If you have a global audience or are outside of the “usual” time zones (see you Mumbai; how are you, Sydney?) Your best time to post might be 3:00 am
Can we suggest automating your Instagram posts instead of setting off some really gruesome alarms? One of the best tools to do this is by using an Instagram scheduler to make sure your posts are published at the right time every day.
Here’s a quick rundown of how to post using Hootsuite’s Instagram scheduling feature:
Monitor and adjust
Yes, optimizing your Instagram posts for success takes a lot of work – it’s a lot more than just choosing the right filter. However, entering the numbers quarterly to pinpoint the right time to post is one of the easiest ways to ensure your content gets the right eyes. (It’s easier than improving your videography or writing skills anyway – although we highly recommend both.)
According to Brayden Cohen of the Hootsuite Instagram team, “We check out our top performing posts each week to see if there are any insights that will help us revise our strategy or post cadence. But we generally only change the times we post once a quarter, if at all. “
Cohen noted that, for example, due to the impact of the pandemic on working hours in 2020, many people spend less time commuting or enjoying a traditional lunch break. The B2B audience is more on their phones, and that shows in the use of Instagram that is spread throughout the day.
The world changes and the audience’s habits change. So set a reminder on your calendar to review your results and make adjustments.
To appear consistently in the long term
To be fully rewarded with all of this knowledge of your audience, it is important to be systematic with your posts. While you probably won’t see a stunning bump if you just post a few hours earlier than usual every now and then, consistent use of the data will move the needle over time.
It’s a virtuous circle: your audience has a habit of seeing your brand on their feed, they enjoy your content, and they engage with it. The consistent appearance on Instagram creates credibility, trust and ensures a meaningful relationship.
At the end of the day, when you have an authentic connection with your audience, the algorithm will notice this and so will your bottom line.
Manage your Instagram presence along with your other social channels and save time with Hootsuite. Schedule and publish posts, engage audiences, and measure performance from a single dashboard. Try it for free today.
Take the guesswork out of when to post on social media Hootsuites best time to post.