Keep reading to explore more about the best time and day to post on Instagram.
Ideas for finding your best time to post on Instagram
Review your top-performing posts
First, think about what kind of performance you’re aiming for: brand awareness or engagement. Your approach to timing your Instagram posts might vary depending on which of those is more essential to you.
In the past, which of your posts have earned high impressions? When did you post them? And are these posts different from the ones getting likes?
Your Instagram analytics is your best source of truth here. In fact, not all analytics tools are born equal. And some social media management tools can help you keep away from heavy data crunching.
Hootsuite’s Best Time to Post on Instagram function, for example, suggests the best time and best day post on Instagram based on historical performance. It analyzes your posts’ performance from the past 30 days, groups them by weekday and hour. Then calculates the average impressions or engagement rate to identify the optimal time slots where your posts had the highest influence.
Check when your viewers are most active online
The following step for finding your best time to publish is looking at your analytics to find out when your followers are scrolling their feed.
As marketers, we have to know our audiences. If you’re paying attention to Gen Z sports fans on Instagram, their social media consumption habits might be wildly different from the tech executives waking up at 4 AM to meditate in their infrared saunas.
Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish function will break down this information automatically into a heatmap (see above). It will also allow you to experiment by predicting time slots where your Instagram followers are online.
It’s going to also suggest time slots that you simply haven’t used in the last 30 days so that you can shake up your posting times and test new tactics.
Think about when your competitors are posting
Depending on your industry, your competitors could also be doing some of the same calculations and experiments you are. Social listening (or even a full social competitive analysis) is useful for keeping an eye on what may be working for audiences in your industry.
Professional Tip: Many brands publish on the hour mark, so think about posting a couple of minutes before or after the :00 to keep away from having to compete for limited shelf space.
Publish in your audience’s time zone
When you have global viewers, or you yourself are based mostly outside of the “usual” time zones (we see you, Mumbai; how you going, Sydney?) your best time to publish may well turn out to be 3 a.m.
Rather than set some actually cruel alarms, may we suggest automating your Instagram posts? The most effective tool that will help you achieve this is to use an Instagram scheduler to ensure your posts are going up at the right time, day in and day out.
Here’s a quick overview of how you can publish using Hootsuite’s Instagram scheduling feature:
Monitor and adjust
Yes, optimizing your Instagram posts for success takes a lot of effort and time. It’s way more than just selecting the right filter. However, crunching the numbers as soon as a quarter to determine the best time to publish is actually one of the best ways to make sure your content is making it to the right eyes. (Easier than leveling up your videography or writing skills, anyway—though we highly recommend both.)
Based on Brayden Cohen, from Hootsuite’s Instagram team: “We take a look at our top-performing posts weekly to see if there are any insights that may help us rework our technique or posting cadence. However we usually only change the times we publish once a quarter, if even.”
Cohen noted that, for example, with the pandemic’s impact on work schedules in 2020, many people are spending less time commuting or enjoying a traditional lunch break. B2B audiences are on their phones more, and that’s appearing in Instagram usage, which is spread out over the day.
The world changes and audience habits change. So, set a reminder in your calendar to check your results again and make adjustments.
Show up consistently over the long term
To reap the full rewards of all this knowledge about your viewers, it’s essential to be systematic about your posting. While you probably won’t see a jaw-dropping bump simply by posting a few hours earlier than usual once in a while, using the data consistently will move the needle over time.
It’s a virtuous circle: your audience will get in the habit of seeing your brand pop up on their feed. They enjoy your content and usually engage with it. Consistently showing up on Instagram breeds credibility, trust, and makes for a meaningful relationship.
At the end of the day, when you have an authentic connection with your audience, the algorithm notices, and so does your bottom line.