As the Instagram platform continues to grow its users, the demand for the attention of your audience will become more and more competitive. This leads many of us to wonder “what is the best time to post on Instagram?”
To find the best time you should post on Instagram, we looked at the studies from 5 different leaders in social media management. We also performed our own test on our growing Instagram account to see if we noticed a change in engagement and impressions.
We found that several of the studies conflicted with each other. For example, Social Sprout concluded that the best time to post for education was Friday at 10 a.m., while Hootsuite found that Thursday at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. were the best times.
Based on the results of all of the expert’s studies, generally speaking, the best time to post on Instagram is between 9 a.m. and 3p.m., with Wednesday and Thursday possibly being the best days to post.
Below is a summary of the results published by these platforms. Later in the article, we will breakdown their results even more to reveal the best times to publish by industry as concluded by a few of these reports.
Changes to Instagram posting during COVID-19?
These results are interesting, but I encourage you to test them on your own Instagram accounts. There are many reasons to do this. First, most of these studies were conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic made its way across the globe. As we know, COVID-19 has changed just about everything. Keep in mind that as work and leisure times are changing, so are many people’s social media habits.
Social Sprout updated their report and found that the best time to post on Instagram during the lockdown had expanded from Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., to Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 2 p.m. Their update shows that during the lockdown, Instagram activity increased and so did engagement over various times.
- HubSpot – between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. – Thursday the best day
- Sprout Social – Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday at 10–11 a.m.
- Later – 9 a.m.-11 a.m. EST
- Hootsuite-Various times depending on sector
- StartUp Mindset’s test for business and tech- 9 a.m.-2 p.m. EST
Best Times to Post on Instagram by Day of the Week
Later.com analyzed 12 million Instagram posts and found that the best time to post on Instagram is between 9 a.m.-11 a.m. EST. To find the best time to post on Instagram in 2020, they analyzed 12 million Instagram posts, posted in multiple time zones around the world from accounts ranging from 100 to 1 million+ followers.
Their research was a little more precise, as they looked at the exact times where posting on Instagram was the most effective.
The Best Time to Post on Instagram by Day:
- Monday: 6 a.m., 10 a.m., and 10 p.m. EST
- Tuesday: 2 a.m., 4 a.m., and 9 a.m. EST
- Wednesday: 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. EST
- Thursday: 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 7 p.m. EST
- Friday: 5 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. EST
- Saturday: 11 a.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m. EST
- Sunday: 7 a.m., 8 a.m., and 4 p.m. EST
Social Sprout conducted their research by analyzing their 24,000+ customer base. Their data originated by looking at customers under various plans, industries, and locations.
Best times: Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday from 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Engagement becomes lower every day before 6 a.m. and after 9 p.m
- Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Monday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Engagement peaks at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.)
- Tuesday: 8 s.m. – 6 p.m., *7 p.m.
- Wednesday: 5 a.m., *11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Thursday: 5 a.m., *11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Friday: *5 a.m., 9 a.m. – 10 a.m., *11 a.m. – 1 p.m., 2 – 4 p.m.
- Saturday: 9 – 11 a.m.
Another social media scheduling platform, Hootsuite, published their own results from their investigation. Using data from Unmetric, a social media benchmarking tool, they categorized their findings based on industries.
Travel & Tourism
Friday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Media & Entertainment
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 to 3 p.m.
Food & Beverage
Fridays at 12 p.m.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 12 p.m.
Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.
Tuesday at 4 p.m. or 10 a.m.
Thursday at 9 p.m. or 4 p.m.
Pharma & Healthcare
Wednesday and Sunday at 9 a.m.
Friday and Thursday at 1, 2, or 3 p.m.
Monday and Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Thursday at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.
Other Important Factors to Consider
When deciding the best time to post, there are some things to consider:
When you begin to schedule posts for Instagram, you want to make sure that you are scheduling those posts to go out when your audience is most active. This means that you need to make sure the time zone you set is the best for your audience, not yours.
How often you should post on social media has been an area of debate for years. With Instagram, the answer most will give is frequently, but not too frequently. What exactly does that mean?
When we researched, it seems as though posting once per day is a good place to start. Instagram posts have a longer shelf life than those on Facebook and Twitter.
Instagram’s algorithm can affect who sees you post
Another factor to consider is that Instagram’s algorithm can dictate who sees your posts. In 2018, Instagram issued a change to its algorithm that prioritizes newer content over older posts. But just being newer doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be the first to be seen.
The algorithm also takes into consideration your engagement when making the decision of where to place your post on the feeds of others. In general, posts with higher engagement (comment, likes, and shares) will be shown to more people. Instagram assumes that since so many people are interacting with the post, it must be quality.
Here are several other factors that can affect your post’s visibility.
- The relationship your followers have with your account-The Gram wants to prioritize posts from family, friends, and accounts that people care about. This means that if a person is interacting with your account frequently, Instagram assumes that person cares about that account and will therefore show more posts from that profile.
- Videos and photos are treated equally-Currently, there is a lot of buzz around the importance of video on social media. There were rumors swirling stating that social media platforms prioritize video more than other types of content. For Instagram, this rumor has been put to bed.
- Business, creator, and personal content are treated equally-One of the concerns that some entrepreneurs who started their Instagram account as a personal profile have been concerned about is the effect switching to a business account may have on their reach. Instagram addressed this and has verified that business, creator, and personal content does not affect ranking.