The Best Time To Post On Instagram: A Research-Driven Answer

When is the best time to post on Instagram? As it turns out, the answer isn’t simple.

There are many factors to consider. And everyone’s got their theories as to which ones marketers should pay attention to.

So in this post, we’ll try to get as close to a definitive answer as we possibly can. We’ll use all the most recent data available to come up with Instagram posting times that’ll work for your business.

With all of that said, let’s find out how your posts can get the most attention on Instagram.

The best time to post on Instagram

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the best time to post on Instagram is between 2 PM and 3 PM on Thursdays, 11 AM on Wednesdays, and 10 AM on Fridays (US Central Time).

As for the best day to post on Instagram, that would be Thursday. However, you’d want to post more than once per week to get the most engagement rate out of your followers.

However, these recommended hours are just for the US market and very broad in terms of industry type.

The ideal time to post on Instagram changes depending on where you are in the world. When data from 2,958 Indonesian food brands were analyzed, researchers found that the ideal times to post are during breakfast and lunch on weekdays.

When to post according to social media schedulers

Even social media scheduling platforms are split on when’s the right time to post on Instagram.

Sprout Social says that the best time to post is Monday through Friday at 11 AM.

It adds that the best day to post is Tuesdays with Sundays being the worst day since Instagram barely gets activity by the end of the week.

HubSpot, on the other hand, agrees that the best days to post on Instagram across industries are weekdays. However, it says that the right time to post is actually between 1 PM and 5 PM. It goes on even further. Based on its data, B2B organizations have higher click-through rates between 12 PM  and 1 PM, 5 PM and 6 PM, as well as 8 PM and 9 PM.

And according to HubSpot, the best day to post is Friday.

So what about Hootsuite? What’s their take on the best time to post on Instagram?

This scheduling platform says that the best time to post is 11 AM on Wednesdays.

So when is the best time to post on IG?

How do we make sense of this contradicting data? Let’s try to average it out.

What we can say with certainty is that weekends are definitely off the table. Nobody thinks that you should post content on Saturdays and Sundays since Instagram doesn’t have as many users on those days.

Mid-week seems to be the sweet spot for many. You should post content on Instagram on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

As for the time, most of the data we have seems to indicate that 10 AM to 2 PM is a great time to be posting on IG.

And if you absolutely have to, you can post later in the evening as people are winding down from work and getting ready to turn in for the night. Sometime after dinner time would be good.

Create an Instagram schedule based on your own data

The important thing to remember is that all of the data on post times is based on someone else’s audience.

But when you’re just beginning to put together an Instagram post schedule, you need a starting point. So, use the data we’ve discussed above as your starting point.

Then, you’ll need to take a closer look at your followers and industry to see which times will work for your Instagram account.

Only then can you squeeze the most out of every single post you make.

We’ll go into how you can find the right time to post on Instagram in a later section.

Other factors to consider when scheduling an Instagram post

We’ve already seen that the day of the week you post your content can have a significant impact on Instagram engagement. But what other factors should you consider on top of that?

Consider the following scenarios.

When workers go on breaks

It’s probably no surprise that when people go on breaks, that’s when they check their phones. So if you’re unsure when to post your content, try doing so a few minutes before your typical lunch break hours.

But it doesn’t have to be during lunch though. People also check their phones in the morning. If we’re being realistic here, checking social media accounts is the first thing people do after waking up. Some even do it before getting out of bed for breakfast or to shower.

When people commute

Whether it’s to-and-from work or while going on errands, people check Instagram whenever there’s a lull in their commute.

So that would be a great time to schedule your content as well. People can look at your posts as they travel.

When your target audience is overseas

You’d have to adjust your posting schedule if your target Instagram audience is overseas. You’ll have to familiarize yourself with their work hours and habits. Figuring out when they’re most likely to be on their phones is key.

When your audience is most active

You can learn more about your audience’s Instagram habits if you sign up for an Instagram Business account. This will give you access to a feature called Instagram Insights.

Instagram Insights will show you information like when your audience is most active on Instagram. Of course, you don’t want to post content at hours when your followers aren’t on the platform. So take their Instagram habits into consideration when you’re scheduling posts.

Accessing Instagram Insights is fairly easy:

  1. Open Instagram on your phone and go to your profile.
  2. Tap Insights
  3. Review the summary page. Here you’ll see how your account performed in the last few days.

Instagram and Covid-19

When the pandemic hit, there was a change in how people use social media. For instance, since people are mostly working from home, nothing is stopping them from scrolling through Instagram — even during hours that normally wouldn’t see any activity from office workers.

Also, some have understandably refrained from using social media altogether. In a story reported on Vox, one tech executive recalled how hearing happy stories during the pandemic felt inappropriate considering the number of people who died.

The point is that the recommendations set by social media experts might not be as applicable in our current state.

The pandemic, whether we admit it or not, has changed the way we consume content. So your audience’s habits aren’t the same as it was just before Covid-19 hit.

On a more positive note, as of March 2020, Instagram is the second-most used social media platform by adults in the United States. Facebook is on top of the list.

You’ll want to take that into consideration as you develop your Instagram posting schedule.

What else can you do to get better Instagram engagement?

The time you post your Instagram content is important. However, it’s not the only consideration that you should take into account for maximizing engagement on the platform.

Targeting users in the right industry can make a huge difference in your posts’ engagement. Even if you’re able to post during the right hours, if your followers can’t relate to your content then your posts won’t make any impact.

Here now are other factors that you’d want to consider when posting on Instagram.

Create compelling content

For some people, the ideas for Instagram content flow like a river. But for other folks, it can be a struggle. And it’s such a shame too since Instagram engagement only gets better when posts are substantial and valuable.

To be frank, generating compelling content should be your top priority. The time at which you post your content only comes later.

The first step to creating a more consistent engagement is to identify your niche and develop subcategories. The best way to explain this concept is through an example.

Let’s say your Instagram account is all about beauty and wellness. Now you have to figure out what type of posts you’re going to publish. Try starting with three subcategories then expand as necessary. You can provide tips on how to maintain an active lifestyle, do short product reviews, and introduce new workout routines to start.

This will make sure that your target audience gets exactly what they want out of your account. And when they get used to your content, they’ll be looking forward to your posts regardless of what time you upload.

Avoid uploading content just for the sake of doing so. And even if there’s a trend and you’d like to join the bandwagon for views, don’t do it if you can’t find a way to incorporate it organically into your IG profile.

Publish consistently

When posting IG content, it’s not enough that you’re consistent with your theme.

It’s just as important to pick a time and stick with it. When you do figure out the most optimal time to publish posts, you’ll need to stay consistent. Always publish around the same time so your Instagram followers know when to check your profile for updates.

Post the right amount of content

While you should be publishing new content consistently, you shouldn’t flood your followers’ feed with too many updates.

According to Inc.com, Instagram users should only post one to two posts a day.

For some, one to two posts may not seem that many. However, a high-quality post will get over much better than multiple posts that don’t really say anything. Choose only your best photos or videos. Save the rest for slower days.

Repurpose old content

Do you have content that did well on other platforms? Then upload them on Instagram. For example, you can take a snippet from a live seminar that you uploaded on YouTube. Or post quotes on Instagram of the most notable phrases from an event that you did.

These not only help you develop more content and beef up your content calendar, but they also help direct traffic toward your other social media platforms and websites.

You can also try resharing previously published content on Instagram especially if they performed well the first time. Just make sure that enough time has passed since the last upload.

Use carousel posts

According to the Search Engine Journal, carousel posts are the most engaging type of content that you could create on Instagram. They’re simply better than single-image posts or videos.

Search Engine Journal - Carousel posts have the most engagement

Carousels have an engagement rate per post of 1.92%. By comparison, single-image posts only get 1.74%. It’s even lower for videos which is at 1.45%. And when all 10 carousel slides are used, the engagement rate goes as high as 2%.

Add a face to your content

If it works for your niche, add a face to your content. Meaning either you or someone else should be in the photos that you post. You can’t just post quotes all of the time.

Having a human face in IG content will get you more likes. Studies have shown that posts with faces increase the chances of getting likes by 38%. It also increases your chances of getting comments by 32%.

Use all of Instagram’s features

Instagram confirmed that using every type of content that the platform has to offer will improve an account’s performance.

In a statement, Instagram Product Marketing Lead Alexander de Leon said “Instagram has found that the most successful creators on the platform are those who use all of the different features available. This includes in-feed posts, Stories, IGTV’s, Lives and in some markets, Reels.”

Simply put: Use all the available features on Instagram to connect with your audience. This will improve your engagement rate.

Research hashtags

The most effective Instagram hashtags aren’t the ones you pick out of nowhere. Rather, they are the ones that come as a result of thorough research.

Hashtags can help get your content in front of the right people which leads to better engagement. However, your hashtags need to be relevant to your posts. Also, you can’t spam your post with too many hashtags.

You can jump into relevant and trending conversations if you do your job right.

Talk with your community

You know the best way to get engagement? Talking with your community.

People often get caught up with posting content that they forget to communicate with their followers. Responding to comments is a great start. Answer your followers’ questions within the first hour of posting your content.

And it also helps if you comment on other influencers’ posts as well. This will expose you to their followers which could lead to more engagement in your posts.

Launch an Instagram contest

If you’re having a really hard time engaging with your followers, then you can try launching an Instagram contest. There are plenty of resources available online that’ll walk you through the process.

But basically, all you need to have is a theme, mechanics, and a prize. According to Tailwind, Instagram accounts that hold contests grow more than 780% faster.

There are several ways to approach these types of contests. You could run a contest where people re-share a specific image and tag you.

Alternatively, you could add a widget on your blog that requires certain actions to be completed on Instagram. You’ll need to use one of these contest tools if you choose the latter. You could even combine both approaches to maximize your reach!

So if you want to grow your Instagram account and have more followers, maybe running a contest could get you where you need to be.

How to find the best times to post on Instagram

Like we mentioned earlier, the best time to post is when your followers are most active on Instagram. Fortunately, Instagram has tools that’ll help you determine when your followers are most active.

However, this method only shows when your followers use Instagram. What if you want to know when users are most likely to view your specific content?

Here’s the good news.

You can use a social media management tool like Agorapulse to determine what times your followers are likely to engage your IG content.

Agorapulse has a heat map that tells you the day and time when your audience is most engaged with your content.

Agorapulse best time to publish on social media

Using Agorapulse’s heat map will remove the guesswork entirely. You’ll know exactly when’s the best time to post on Instagram for your specific account.

If you don’t have enough Instagram history to work with, then you could use Agorapulse to schedule posts at various intervals. Its interface is easy to use and you can also use it to post on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re working with a social media team, you can collaborate with them just as easily. So scheduling shouldn’t be a problem.

Once there’s enough data to go on, Agorapulse will be able to provide the information you’ll need to optimize your content scheduling.

Conclusion

All of the social media statistics we presented are great starting points — but that’s all they are. You can use them as guides when you test out your schedule. If you really want to get maximum engagement, you’ll need to rely on your own data.

So use a tool with Instagram analytics functionality like Agorapulse or Pallyy to see when your followers are engaging your content the most. Then follow that schedule and make sure that you post consistently.

That’s the best way to determine the best time for you to publish on Instagram.


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