Creating amazing content to share with your Instagram audience is just half the battle.
You have to find the best time to post on Instagram to make sure your Instagram followers actually see the content, and like, comment, share and save it.
Timing is everything on social media.
Keep reading and we’ll walk you through how to reach more people and boost your engagement rates, by figuring out the best day and best time to post on Instagram.
Is There a Best Posting Time for Instagram?
Firstly and most importantly, is there such a thing as the best time or even the best day for Instagram posts?
Are weekends better than weekdays?
Are early mornings better than late nights?
The annoying but honest answer is, it depends. It depends on your brand, your audience, your time zone, and a few other factors.
The general advice is always to post when your target audience is online. Sounds obvious enough but you’d be surprised to find out how many social media managers actually forget to consider this!
Don’t just post when everyone else is. Do what’s right for your brand, for your audience, and even for the type of content, you’re about to share.
Why Choosing the Right Time Matters for Social Media
So… if the “best time” for posting on Instagram accounts is so subjective, then why does timing even matter?
We’re glad you asked.
The mysterious Instagram algorithm takes several factors into consideration when ranking your content in your followers’ feeds. This includes how relevant your content is to them but also how fresh and how recent your content is on the platform.
The timeliness of your content matters. Newer content shows up higher in the Instagram feed compared to older content. So if you post content at a time your audience is more is browsing their Insta, it’s more likely that they will see it.
Plus, they are even more likely to see the freshest content on their feed if it also satisfies a few of Instagram’s other core ranking signals such as relationship (i.e. if a user has previously interacted with your content) and interest (i.e. if a user has indicated an interest in content similar to yours)
Therefore if you post your content when your audience is online and it covers these core signals, then your freshly minted post (or Story or Reel) is more likely to show up to your audience.
This means your reach on Instagram increases, which then leads to higher engagement on your Instagram content… and so the cycle continues.
So to sum it up, if you want to make sure your content is actually seen by the people that matter (i.e. your Instagram followers), then yes your post times actually matter.
How to Find Your Own Best Time for Instagram Posts
You get it now. Posting at optimal times makes sense. Does that mean you should just post at the same time as everyone else? Absolutely not.
To truly get the best reach and invite higher engagement rates on your content, you need to start by analyzing your content, run some experiments, learn from it and… rinse and repeat. Here’s how:
Review your top performers
Start by taking a look at your Instagram insights to analyze your existing content.
A social media management tool like Sked Social can also give you a deep look at your Instagram analytics and data to help you learn more.
First, have an idea of which metrics you’d like to focus on. Do impressions matter to you or perhaps you want to see which content had the highest engagement with your Instagram followers? Or maybe you want to focus on the content that generated the most likes?
With this in mind, look at the post times for this content and make a note of it. You may see a pattern emerge e.g. weekday afternoons are a winner for content on the Instagram feed. Or, that the best day for Instagram Reels is actually Wednesday.
Make note of this information as it may help create a posting schedule that makes the most of these peak times.
Use Sked’s ‘Best Time to Post’ feature
Use Sked Social’s Best Time To Post feature to identify when your Instagram followers are most likely to see and engage with your Instagram profile posts.
Making use of this analytics tool can give you deep insights into your content and your audience. Sked can analyze historical data and use this information to suggest the best-performing times for your particular audience.
These suggestions are completely personalized for your account so you know you’re not just doing what everyone else is. You’re using the data to share content at a time most likely to invite Instagram engagement from your target audience.
Get to know your audience
Understanding your target audience is key to nailing the post times.
Sked’s analytics will help you understand your audience and when they’re most active online. However, you also need to really know your own audience and apply your own insights as well
The very first step is actually getting to know who your main audience is. What do your key demographics look like? For example, if your account is mainly targeted towards Gen Z fashionistas, their content consumption times may be completely different from an account about meditation targeting early morning rising yoga teachers.
You may already have this information available from your social media strategy. If not, it’s time to get to know your audience well.
Consider time zones and days of the week
Managing a global Instagram account? Then you probably have an audience spread out across various time zones that you need to keep in mind.
Instead of posting only while you’re awake, make use of a scheduling tool. Sked allows you to schedule your content in advance—making sure you’re hitting your audience with content, even while you’re asleep.
If your audience is globally distributed and you have to reach a diverse group of people at different times, don’t be afraid to post multiple times a day. Stagger your content so it reaches different people in different time zones.
You can also study your account’s performance to analyze which audience is most valuable as well. By keeping an eye on times and different time zones, you may find that one particular group actually engages with your content more. This could help you create even more valuable content targeted to this particular group.
So whether it’s 3 am or 3 pm, remember you need to keep hitting your audience with all that compelling content when they’re online in their time zone.
In addition to time zones, you should also consider which days of the week give you the most bang for your buck.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, people tend to browse Instagram more during the workweek or a workday afternoon as a break or a distraction from work. Often, a Sunday afternoon can be the worst time to post as people are generally busier with family and friends over the weekends.
There’s plenty of research around this subject so make sure to read up on it and run your experiments to find your best fit. You may find your industry also dictates which time zone and which day of the week is best for scheduling your content.
Check out the competitors
Now that you’ve taken a look at all your own data, it’s time to do what any good marketer would do—check out the competition.
Your competitors, if they’re good at social media marketing—are probably running similar experiments too. Perhaps you could learn from them.
Review their Instagram accounts, especially the posts that seem to be doing well. Make a note of what time they’re posting this content. This is often a great way to get a bit more of an insight on not only post times but also the types of content that are resonating within your industry.
Experiment with timings
Experimentation is a key element of every social media strategy. While Sked’s Best Time to Post feature can be very helpful as starting point to understand your ideal post times—you also need to do your own research.
Say you have a “best time” bracket of 1 pm-3 pm on Mondays. Experiment with your social media posts at different times within this bracket to find the ideal time that works best for your audience.
Also, experiment with different content at different times to see which type performs best at certain times. For example, you might find that weekday mornings are better for Instagram Stories whereas it makes sense to post content on the Instagram feed in the evenings instead.
You may also like to experiment with not posting at the exact hour mark. Most businesses tend to post exactly at 1 pm or 2 pm for example. You may like to post a few minutes after this hour mark and see if it affects performance. For example, post at 1:02 pm instead of 1 pm.
This can be particularly handy if you notice a competitor is also posting at the same time as you. You can schedule your post so it appears a few minutes later, making sure it’s more recent for your Instagram followers.
These are just a few ideas. Experiment with timings in any way that makes sense for you. Always keep an eye on your metrics to understand which experiments paid off.
Consistency plays a huge role in determining success on Instagram. This means you can’t just post at the ideal time for your audience, once a week, and expect to see results from it.
Instagram doesn’t work that way.
Remember, if you don’t post often enough, your content is less likely to show up in your audience’s Instagram feeds. This sends the algorithm all sorts of wrong signals about their level of interest or engagement with your content.
Instagram thrives on consistency. It not only sends Instagrams the right signals about engagement, and interest, it also helps you build a meaningful relationship with your audience. Ultimately, that is what social media is all about—relationships.
So post consistently, post frequently, and post at the best time repeatedly to truly see the benefits of timing your content right.
Analyze and adjust
Finally, it’s all about constantly learning and optimizing. Analyze your posting schedule on a regular basis. See what’s working (and what’s not) and adjust as needed.
The world changes and your audience’s social media habits are also in constant evolution. Make sure you’re keeping up with changes and optimizing your times (and content!) to reflect these changes.
For example, Oberlo shares that the COVID19 pandemic had a huge impact on social media browsing habits. With more time spent at home, social media usage increased dramatically. This consequently changed the “most active” hours for many people, resulting in brands having to tweak their posting schedules to match.
So you know… keep reviewing, analyzing, and adjusting.
Note that the failure of a post isn’t always just about the timing. If you’re not posting compelling content or it’s just not interesting to your audience, the right post time can only take you so far. Success on Instagram ultimately comes down to creating valuable content so don’t ignore this critical piece of the puzzle.
Is There a Best Time for Instagram Stories?
Is the timing for your posts different from Instagram Stories? Maybe… maybe not!
Truth is, finding the answers to this requires the same level of experimentation and research as your posts.
It’s important to note that Instagram Stories by their very nature of only being available for 24 hours are ephemeral and temporary. This means the content you share on Stories is usually more current or urgent.
This simply means timing your Instagram posting for Stories is crucial. Schedule and post your Stories when your followers are most active and also when your content is most relevant.
Refer to historical data in your Instagram scheduling tool to analyze your Stories’ performance. Note how many taps, swipes right, swipes up, and other important insights you may find as this will indicate the level of engagement you received on a particular Story
It’s Not Just About Timing
As we mentioned earlier, success on Instagram isn’t just about timing. The Instagram algorithm also considers your relationship with your audience, how much they interact with you, how much your content interests them, how frequently you post, and of course the quality of your content as well.
The right post time is hugely important but if you really want to blow up your Instagram reach, you should also consider some of these tips as well:
- Pay attention to the content that works and create more of it.
- Change things up and refresh your content to catch your audience’s waning attention.
- Review your hashtags. A well-thought-out hashtag strategy will help you get the most out of every piece of content you put there.
- Create more shareable and saveable content
- Curate user-generated content to build relationships and invite more engagement from your Instagram followers.
- Experiment with the length of captions.
- Ask your followers for their thoughts, and opinions.
- Run competitions and giveaways on your account.
- Create a variety of content including photos, videos, graphics, Instagram Stories, Reels, Lives, and more.
Here’s How You Can Always Post at the Best Time
Despite all our best intentions, even social media managers have the occasional lapse and fail to post at peak times. Avoid the old-school manual labor style of managing Instagram.
Instead, get yourself a good quality Instagram management and scheduling tool like Sked Social.
Sked allows you to create an automated posting schedule, making sure your posts and Stories on your Instagram business account are automagically posted at the right time, without fail.
To learn more, read: How To Schedule Instagram Posts [and Stories]: The Ultimate Step by Step Guide
Never miss the best time ever again. Just set and forget with Sked.
Want to take advantage of Sked’s scheduling and ‘Best Time to Post’ feature? Try Sked Social free for 7 days and turbocharge your Instagram marketing.