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Written By Alexander Noah

10 min read

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  • Publish Date : 3/21/2022 2:19:54 PM
  • Last Update : 6/15/2024 7:58:22 PM
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Top Content Types for Generative

Have you ever spent hours and hours creating the best piece of content ever built for the eyes of our human species? A piece of content SO good, that you just KNEW everybody was going to absolutely LOVE it. And because of this, you thought that you’d have an avalanche of engagement and new followers just sliding in…

But when you actually post your content, life slaps you across the face with a big fat L sign. You’re hurt, your soul is ripped into shreds, and your ego is deflated (like Tom Brady’s Super Bowl deflategate). In all seriousness, engagement (or lack of) all comes down to understanding the best times to post on Instagram.

Who’s online when you post your content is so critical because immediate engagement signals to Instagram that, hey… this is content people actually want to see. It’s a big ranking factor when it comes to prioritizing your content in the newsfeed. When you look into this at a deeper level, you start to realize that you need to know the best time to post for your specific Instagram account category, AKA niche.

You want your content to come out at the moment like that when your target audience has its full attention on Instagram, not when people are working, resting, spending time with friends and family, or offline. View this post on Instagram. A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) And while we can all agree that Cristiano can post whenever he damn well pleases and still yield mind-boggling amounts of engagement…

I can promise you that he still sticks to a time he KNOWS he’ll get the most amount of eyeballs on his content. It’s true that your content will be seen eventually (if the algorithm permits). However, knowing the best time to post on Instagram can be extremely beneficial for achieving optimal engagement and ensuring the maximum amount of exposure. 

It also helps you to keep things organized and create a plan that you can actually stick to! At this point, you’re probably like, “damn, when is the best time for ME to post…“ Well, if you search online, you can clearly see that there are about a million and a half different answers. After all, many factors could play into it. To make things easier for you, we’ll discuss a wide range of answers to this question.

This will help you to have a more complete understanding of the best time to post on Instagram and why there are so many different answers in the first place.  Opinions are like a$(ho$)s — everybody has one. We can give you exact details and specific timeframes all day long, but the TLDR version of this is one simple fact:

TEST A RANGE OF DIFFERENT TIMES AND DATES WHILE KEEPING TABS ON YOUR RESULTS

But keep reading to understand: 

  • the best time to post on Instagram based on seven varied sources
  • Breakdowns of best posting times by day, week, industry, time zone, and type of post 
  • Tips and considerations for creating your best posting time 

Let’s get moving! 

Is There a Best Time to Post on Instagram? 

Asking about the best time to post on Instagram is like asking how much you need to put aside for your Instagram marketing budget— there are just too many factors that impact the final answer! 

There are many things that can affect when is the best time to post on Instagram, including: 

  • Day of the week, and in some cases month of the year and current user trends. 
  • Lifestyle and preferences of your followers/target audience. 
  • The type of post (in-feed photo/video, Story, Live, IGTV, Reel).
  • The goal of your post. 
  • The algorithm and its thousands of signals. 

There definitely is the best time to post on Instagram, but that time will vary depending on each account. That said, the data that is available out there can help you to identify a favorable starting point and get you moving in the right direction. 

After doing all of the dirty work online, we’ve identified two primary sources of optimal Instagram posting times: Later and Sprout Social. 

We will dive into their up-to-date findings and discuss further in this post why they also believe that it’s vital to identify your own best time to post on Instagram. 

Image — need to be created 

Ready to get into the details? We’re going to look at the best time to post by day of the week, US region, industry, and even more. Brace yourself, because here it all comes! 

The Best Time to Post on Instagram

This section contains information from various online sources that have investigated the best time to post on Instagram. Many of these sources are third-party services that help with Instagram management and workflow. 

The sources you’ll find included below are Later, SproutSocial, ExpertVoice, and Hootsuite. We’ll also offer some information from Statusbrew, Planoly, and Influencer Marketing Hub. 

Hootsuite is one of the most respected information sources about Instagram, but their data was surprisingly limited or out of date regarding the best time to post on Instagram. The same could be said for Buffer and Coschedule, which was quite surprising. 

1. Later 

Later’s August 2021 report offers some extremely valuable information about the best time to post on Instagram, with a study of some 35 million posts (not including Reels and IGTV, boo). 

Here’s what they found: 

  • Best time of day: 3 am – 6 am
  • Best day: Sunday 
  • Best day and time: Sunday at 6 am
  • Worst day: Wednesday and Thursday 

Wow, so has anyone else sprinted off to set their alarm? These times are so early! How is that possible?

The Best Time to Post on Instagram

Image Source: Later

The whole idea from Later is that businesses need to post when their audience is the most active on Instagram, which is generally between 9am-1pm. The problem with this is that there is so much competition at that time, it’s harder to get noticed. 

By posting earlier, you’re more likely to be seen by your followers when they open the app, leading to more engagement and a favorable performance against the algorithm that will give you a higher ranking. 

It’s a great idea— posting a bit earlier will ensure that you didn’t miss out on anything and that users see your content during one of their first scrolls of the day on IG!

2. SproutSocial 

Sprout Social offers its take on the best time to post on Instagram through a study of more than 20k of its users’ IG accounts. They have a different strategy than later and abide by the notion that you should post exactly during the window of activity from your followers. 

  • Best time of day: 11 am-12 pm
  • Best day: Tuesday
  • Best day and time: Tues 11 am-2 pm 
  • Worst day: Sunday  

One interesting thing we can see from Sprout Social is that as we move through the weekend, engagement is lower in the evening than on weeknights, when it’s some of the strongest between 6 and 9 p.m. 

Also, engagement begins at the earliest on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday! 

3. ExpertVoice 

The information on the best time to post on Instagram from ExpertVoice has a bit of its own flow, but aligns more with Later’s data and strategy than Sprout Social. 

There isn’t a clear source of where ExpertVoice got their information, and the only image with a source is from Latergramme, which turned into Later around 2016. For that reason, we are not sure exactly how up-to-date or accurate this information is. 

  • Best time of day: 9 am-5 pm
  • Best day: Wednesday
  • Best day and time: Weds 5 am, 11 am, 3 pm 
  • Worst day: Monday

As you can see, the best time of day that they have listed is also very general— it would be tough to nail down a true best time to post on Instagram from that information. 

4. Hootsuite 

Although Hootsuite is one of the leaders when it comes to providing the best info on all things Instagram, there wasn’t any accessible recent information rooted in data. There is, however, some general information on the matter.

Hootsuite says that overall, Wednesday is the best time to post on Instagram, at around 11am. They align more closely with Sprout Social’s stance that you should be posting when there are the most users online, and engagement is at its peak. 

In addition, it shows times that are best for their particular Instagram audience: 

  • 8 am – 12 pm 
  • 4 pm – 5 pm 

These are, more or less, the peak times of wakeup and lunch/leaving work for those on the West Coast and East Coast. 

Best Time to Post on Instagram by Industry  

The industry that you find yourself in can also affect your best time to post on Instagram. The user behavior and priorities of each niche can vary, so it’s important to take a look at some data for your own niche. 

Sprout Social has you covered here, with a range of best Insta posting times across 8 different industries. 

The variation in this table suggests that you need to examine the foundations of your business and your audience more closely to truly understand when the best time to post on Instagram is. 

Taking the information in this article and evaluating it in terms of your own account will undoubtedly help you find the best route. 

Best Time to Post on Instagram by Time Zone 

Here we’re going to get into some info provided by Planoly. They compiled data from their app users, including likes, comments, saves, and follows in order to identify the best time to post on Instagram according to time zone. 

The key takeaway here is that depending on the region, you’ll find a different lifestyle and routine. Well, we find this to be pretty logical! Considering where your target audience is located will also have an impact on your strategy for best posting times. 

Best Time to Post on Instagram by Time Zone

Image Source 

The Best Time to Post to IGTV & Live 

Keep in mind that in-feed content isn’t the only kind that users consume, and knowing the best time to post on Instagram for other formats, including IGTV and Live, is vital. We looked into what Statusbrew had to say, and we got some gems. 

Even though their overall data was recycled from Sprout Social, they did include the best times to post to IGTV and Instagram live, which can help you discover more about your overall posting times and potential content strategy. 

Based on their information, the best time to run an Instagram Live is from Monday through Friday, at either 12 pm or between 7 and 9 pm. Having a lot of viewers on Instagram live is of the utmost importance, so be sure to plan as effectively as possible. 

The Best Time to Post on Instagram Reels 

Instagram reels are a relatively new feature, so it might be tough to find information on when to post reels. The good news is that Influencer Marketing Hub offers the best time to post Reels based on over 100,000 global Instagram posts and engagement rates. Thanks, IMH! 

Best Time to Post on Instagram Reels

Image Source 

 

How to Identify the Best Time to Post on Instagram for Your Business 

Now that we have many different ideas about when the best time to post on Instagram is, we should explore our final notion: it’s actually you who need to decide your best time to post on Instagram! 

You don’t (and shouldn’t) do this by just guessing— use the above information and consider the below actions to help analyze your own profile’s performance. That way, you’ll be able to know exactly when your posts perform the best and when you need to post them for the best results in terms of engagement and post success. 

1. Use Instagram Insights 

Instagram insights are one of your best friends when you need to determine the best time to post on Instagram. Perhaps you’d like to target your audience during their lunch break. First step: Where is that lunch break? 

Boston? California? London? You can decide where your audience is coming from by using Instagram Insights to discover: 

  • Top locations 
  • Age range 
  • Most active times 
  • Gender 

You’ll also be able to then pinpoint the time zone of your audience and post based on that (see Planoly’s data on time zone activity). Instagram lets you know when your followers are most active, so you may want to incorporate that in some way as well. 

Instagram Analytics Insights Example

Image Source 

2. Think through Your Personas 

No, not your own personal ones! Buyers and consumers have their own personas, and these fictional characters of sorts represent customers as human beings (which they are). It takes into account lifestyles, occupations, hobbies, families, education levels, interests, and much more. 

This is a great tool to identify the best time to post on Instagram! You can use all of that information to build a profile of your audience and understand them better. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Why do they go on Instagram? 
  • How much time do they spend on Instagram? 
  • What other users do they follow? 
  • How many accounts do they follow? 
  • When are they likely to engage vs. simply scroll? 
  • How many times a day do they check Instagram? 

This will help you with not only the best posting times but also potential content ideas. 

3. Use a Third-Party Tool 

Third-party tools can make your life so much easier when it comes to your Instagram workflow. Social media management platforms are available to offer you not only insights, but also post schedulers, auto-posters, information on user-generated content, hashtags, and, you guessed it— best posting times. 

Hootsuite is one of the tools that can offer that for you, as seen below: 

Third-Party Analytics Tool

Image Source 

Some of the most popular tools include Later, Buffer, Sprout Social, Planoly, Loomly, HubSpot, and Tailwind, among others. 

4. Know the Algorithm 

The Instagram algorithm, love it or hate it, will dictate a lot of what happens to your posts in terms of who sees it and who engages with it. Since Instagram released an explanation of the algorithm in June of 2021, we have a bit more insight. 

Here are the top-ranking signals that the Instagram algorithm uses: 

  • Your post: content, location, likes, interest metrics, video length, etc. 
  • You: what accounts engage with you and how? 
  • Users: preferences and behaviors 
  • Relationship: past interactions from others with your accounts 

If you want to have a strong performance against the Instagram algorithm, it’s essential that you pay attention to these signals and do everything you can to get your followers to engage with you. The more engagement your content gets, the more that the algorithm will prioritize it in your followers’ feeds. 

Engagement and relationships are the most important factors in the Instagram algorithm. This brings us to our fifth and final tip! 

5. Go for Engagement 

It’s clear that knowing the best time to post on Instagram can help you, but how exactly does it help? Well, the main goal is engagement, of course! 

This is because when you post at the optimal time, your content is likely to get more exposure which hopefully leads to engagement. Thus, the time is important, but perhaps even more important is the quality of the content you produce.

You need to create content that draws your audience in and entices them to engage. This is the secret to success on Instagram and will help you to get the most out of the algorithm. 

You can get more engagement on Instagram if you can get your users to: 

  • Spend a few seconds on the post: create an attractive and unique visual image that captures their attention, enhance it with a strong caption, and keep them scrolling with a carousel post. Videos can also keep users on your posts longer. 
  • Like it: Appeal to the user’s emotion, be relatable, and ask them to react with a call to action, such as “double tap if...” 
  • Comment on it: ask questions! This is also a call to action that will motivate your users to follow you. Things like “tag someone who you want to be here with!” or “Which one is better?,” “Here’s mine, what’s yours?,” “fill in the blank,” and “caption this photo” are all great starting points for writing calls to action that generate comments. 
  • Save it: if your post contains information that users want to reference later such as tips, tutorials, and ideas, they’ll be more likely to save it. 
  • Tap your profile picture: if you want users to visit your profile after looking at your post, you can use the “check my link in bio!” or something similar to direct them over to your page. Make sure your profile picture is attractive and interesting— this may also motivate them!  

Using the above tips in conjunction with the best time to post on Instagram will definitely help your content to soar to new heights. All in all, if you’re going to be more concerned about one or the other, you should undoubtedly focus on producing the best content possible. 

After all, posting the wrong content at the right time won’t get you very far. It’s much more desirable to post the right content at the “wrong” time, although there’s not really a wrong time, just a less-optimal one. 

Final Tips

Here are our last tips to make sure you’re nothing but successful: 

  • Don’t ignore Instagram stories! You can make your brand much more relatable and interesting by using the feature; over 500 million Instagram users are active daily on the platform, which is a whopping 50% of the total user base! 
  • Keep an eye on Instagram’s blog and new feature releases to stay on top of new trends and keep your content competitive 
  • If you want even more exposure on Instagram, you can consider working with a third party such as Fameoid or even investing in Instagram ads for more growth! 

When you’ve created content that is relatable, useful, attractive, and engaging for your target audience! Once you have content that aligns with your target audience’s lifestyle, values, pain points, and goals, you’re on the road to success. 

Then, you can create the best time to post on Instagram, keeping in mind the information we’ve included in this post, your own research from Instagram Insights, and your content’s performance. Truly, the key to success is to create content that resonates with your followers and keeps them coming back for more—the Instagram algorithm will reward that, regardless of when you post your content. 

In addition, we think that Later’s strategy of posting a bit earlier than your audience’s most active time is a great way to get ahead! After all, the early bird gets the worm, right? When do you like to post on Instagram? How did you decide? Let us know in the comments! 

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Written By Alexander Noah

Alexander has worked as an Instagram content strategist for popular media houses and now researches and publishes the latest Instagram content with Thunderclap.it. He is keen to analyze the IG algorithm and find what works better for reach and visibility. You will find many of his IG hacks, tricks, and instructions for better reach on Thunderclap.it!