Instagram’s algorithm uses three factors to determine how it will rank posts on a user’s feed.
With over 1.2 billion active users on Instagram, there is no doubt that the platform offers businesses several opportunities to reach out to their target audience, promote their products, and drive sales. But the reality is that it will be difficult for your brand to enjoy the benefits of Instagram if your target audience isn’t seeing your posts or interacting with your content. So, it is important that you share content when your audience is most active on the platform.
Why does this matter?
Instagram’s algorithm uses three factors to determine how it will rank posts on a user’s feed. One of these factors is recency. The algorithm prioritizes recent posts and ranks them higher. So if you want the majority of your audience to see your content, you will have to post when they are online or you risk them not seeing your posts.
In this article, we will look at what the best time to post on Instagram is and how you can find it.
Let’s get started.
Several studies have been conducted to determine when brands should be posting on Instagram for maximum engagement. But before we look at these studies, note that the best time to post will be slightly different for every brand. That’s because each brand has a unique audience, located in different time zones and with their own unique behaviors and browsing habits.
The numerous studies published online should serve as a guideline, especially for brands just starting out with Instagram marketing because they might not have enough analytics data to determine when their audience is most active online. After a couple of weeks, you will have enough data to determine what works best for your brand.
So now, let’s look at what the studies say.
Hootsuite analyzed 30,000 Instagram posts from multiple businesses when carrying out their study. They recorded the results in US Pacific Time.
The result of their study found that the best time to post on Instagram is on Wednesday by 11 AM. This is usually the time people at work take their lunch break, so they have time to scroll through their feed while eating.
Here is the peak time to post on other days of the week according to Hootsuite:
Monday - 12:00 PM
Tuesday - 9:00 AM
Wednesday - 11:00 AM
Thursday - 12:00 PM
Friday - 2:00 PM
Saturday - 9:00 AM
Sunday - 7:00 PM
Hootsuite also reported that the worst days to post are on the weekends as they tend to have the least amount of engagement.
What about Reels?
The best time to post to Reels is 9 AM and 12 PM, from Monday to Thursday.
💡 If your brand isn’t sharing a couple of Reel posts every week, you are missing out on opportunities to significantly boost your engagement rate. Reports from BusinessofApps showed that Reels had a 35% more engagement rate when compared to other content types in the third quarter of 2022.
More resources on Instagram Reels:
The result of the study was recorded in Central Time (CST). And according to it, the best times to post are
Monday - 11 AM
Tuesday and Wednesday - 10 AM to 2 PM
Thursday and Friday - 10 AM to noon
They also stated that the best days to post are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Similar to the results from Hootsuite, the worst day to post on Instagram is Sunday.
Sprout Social also took their study further by researching the best time to post on Instagram by Industry.
The best day and time to post is Wednesday at 6 AM. While the worst day to post for Finance is Thursday through Sunday.
The best day and time to post is Tuesday at 10 and 11 AM. The best days to post are Monday through Thursday. While the worst day to post for Media is Saturday.
The best times to post are Wednesday at 8 AM and Friday at 10 AM. The best days to post are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The worst day to post for Tech is Sunday.
The best time to post is Sundays between 3 PM and 4 PM. The best days to post are Sunday, Monday, and Thursday. The worst day to post is on Saturday.
The best time to post is Thursday at 7 AM. The best days to post are Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. The worst day to post is on Monday.
The best times to post are Wednesday from 9 AM to 3 PM and Sunday at 9 AM. The best days to post are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The worst day to post is Saturday.
The best time to post is Wednesday 10 AM to noon. The best days to post are Wednesday and Thursday. The worst days to post are Saturday and Sunday.
The best times to post are Thursday at 11 AM and Friday at 10 AM and 3 PM. The best days to post are Monday, Thursday, and Friday. The worst day to post is Wednesday.
The best time to post is Wednesday at noon. The best days to post are Wednesday and Friday. The worst day to post is on Sunday.
The best time to post is Tuesday at 10 AM. The best days to post are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. The worst day to post is on Sunday.
Several other organizations have run studies to find out the best posts times. And while they don't usually come to the exact same conclusion, there are clear trends we can deduce.
For example, weekends tend to have the lowest engagement rate. The general consensus is that people are spending more time with family while also getting ready for the new week. So, usually, they spend less on social media.
This does not mean that you will completely avoid posting on weekends. The key is to find the peak times your audience uses Instagram on weekends and schedule your posts to go live then. Also, some industries still get reasonable engagement on Sundays. For example, the consumer industry.
The studies also suggest that the best days to post are Tuesday and Wednesday; from early morning to mid-day. Posting before 8 AM gives you a chance to connect with your audience when they first open the app. But if you are targeting professionals or other businesses with Instagram accounts, you will see better results by posting during mid-day when your audience is having their lunch break.
So far, we have seen what the studies say. Next, let’s look at how you can find the best time to post for your brand.
If you have a business Instagram account, you can use the analytics feature to better understand your audience. Instagram Insights will offer you a clear demographic of your followers, including gender, age, and location.
Finding out your audience’s location is very important because the majority of the time, your audience will be from different places. And even when your audience is predominantly from one country, they might still be situated in different time zones.
For example, if most of your followers are in California and New York, they will still be in different time zones even though the cities are in the same country. California uses Pacific Time (PT) and New York uses Eastern Standard Time (EST). So when your followers in California are still sleeping by 6 am, your New York followers are already up and about by 9 AM.
This data is very useful in discovering the exact times the majority of your audience is most active so you can share your post when they are online.
You will find your audience location by going to the Followers section of Instagram Insights. Here you can see the top location of your followers by City and Country.
After you have identified where your followers are located, find out when they are most active. In the Followers section of Instagram Insights, scroll down to the Most Active Times tab. It will show you how active your followers are, divided by days and hours.
For a more detailed representation of your audience, it’s best to invest in a social media marketing tool. Instagram Insights is perfect for smaller businesses with fewer followers. But for larger brands with a lot of followers and a lot of data, a tool like Iconosquare will tell you the exact times you should be posting.
Iconosquare will offer you more accurate suggestions based on your previous posting history. You can find the data under “Best time to post - Engagement”.
You can even filter the results by engagement, likes, and comments.
The black circles represent the days and hours you post the most. The big blue circles represent the most optimal times to post while the smaller blue circles represent the least optimal times to post.
The absolute best time for your brand to post is also starred. In the example above, the best time to post will be Wednesday at 5 PM.
Above, we have seen the best time to post on Instagram depending on the industry. But the results are based on averages from a large amount of data. It is best practice to identify your immediate competitors and monitor when they post, plus which of their posts receive the most engagement.
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t have a feature in its business tools for monitoring other accounts. But with Iconosquare you can monitor your competitors. This will help you discover where you stand within your industry.
You can select your competitors and compare your performance to theirs. Monitor their accounts to see when they post, what they post, and how much engagement they get on each post. This will give you an idea of the kind of content your audience wants to see and also when you should be posting.
While timing matters, the content of your Instagram posts has a bigger impact on your engagement levels.
Regularly review your top-performing posts and when you posted them. Are these posts any different from the ones that don’t get any engagement?
A poor post will still perform terribly even if you share it when your audience is most active. So, it’s important that you take your time in creating content that your audience will want to see.
You should also consider the kind of post you are about to share. Some posts will perform better on different days of the week or at specific hours of the day. For example, if you are promoting something that people tend to do or use in the evenings, it may be best to post the content later in the day.
Another example is posts with inspirational content. These kinds of posts will work well on a Monday morning as people are looking for the motivation to face the new week head-on.
Scheduling your posts will save you a lot of time and also ensure that you are sharing content consistently.
Iconosquare’s Instagram Scheduler will help you quickly schedule all your posts. The Scheduler will even indicate the best times for you to post based on your engagement levels with little yellow stars.
Also, the more consistent you are with posting, the easier it will be for you to determine if you have chosen the best time.
Tip: You need to continue to monitor your engagement rate regularly. The reason is that your audience’s behavior can change as a result of different factors throughout the year. For example, your audience may be more active on Instagram in the winter months as they spend more time indoors than when it’s summer.
Continue to experiment and analyze your data so you can make data-driven decisions will help boost your engagement and in the long run, gain new followers.
Figuring out the best time to post will ensure that your posts don’t get lost in the sea of content shared on Instagram daily. And once you do, ensure that you create an effective Instagram content strategy so you can reach your brand’s objectives.
Remember, while it is important to post at the right time, the content you share holds more value and will go a long way in determining your success on the platform. Using a dedicated social media tool will also help you save more time and increase your productivity. Sign up for a 14-day free Iconosqaure trial.
Holidays are the perfect time to post on Instagram as a lot of users spend a lot of time on social media during this period. If your brand’s objective is to get more sales during the holidays, ensure that you promote deals and offers that your audience will be interested in.
It’s best to share your posts on Christmas morning for higher engagement. Most of your audience will be occupied with the x-mas festivities in the evening.
Read more: 10 Useful Instagram Tips (Christmas Edition)
The best time to post your deals and offers is on the morning of Black Friday. However, to ensure that a huge amount of your followers see the Black Friday post, continue to remind your audience about your offers throughout the day via Reels and Stories.
The ideal time to go live on Instagram is Monday to Friday at midday or in the evening from 7 PM to 9 PM. Users are more likely to watch live streams during their lunch breaks or when they are relaxing after work in the evening.
Read more: Step-by-step guide to creating engaging Instagram Live videos your audience will love
It’s best practice to post content regularly on Instagram. When you post regularly, the algorithm will favor your posts so you will see more engagement. Your audience will also begin to look forward to your content.
However, unlike social media platforms like Twitter, it will be overkill to post too many times in a day. You should aim to share at least one post a day. If you want to share a lot more content – maybe you have promotions to run, make use of Stories.
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